ACEs Aware

Above:  Dr. Silvia Diego talks with a patient about the importance of ACEs screening.


Dr. Nadine Burke Harris,

California Surgeon General

What are ACEs?

The term Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) comes from the landmark 1998 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente. ACEs describe 10 categories of adversities in three domains experienced by age 18 years: abuse, neglect, and/or household dysfunction. (1)

A child or adolescent who experiences ACEs without the buffering protections of trusted, nurturing caregivers and safe, stable environments can develop a toxic stress response, which can impact brain development, hormone and immune systems, and genetic regulatory systems.

ACEs are strongly associated, in a dose-response fashion, with some of the most common and serious health conditions facing our society today, including at least 9 of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States. (2) (3) Identifying a history of trauma in children and adults and responding with trauma-informed care, can improve the health and well-being of individuals and families and lower long-term health costs.

About ACEs Aware

ACEs Aware is an initiative led by the Office of the California Surgeon General and the Department of Health Care Services to give Medi-Cal providers training, clinical protocols, and payment for screening children and adults for ACEs.  Detecting ACEs early and connecting patients to interventions, resources, and other support can improve the health and well-being of individuals and families.

Learn more about how to become certified and begin ACEs screening, click here for the ACEs Aware Provider Toolkit.

LPOC is a 2020 ACEs Aware Grantee.