ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES AND SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH: WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?

Over the last 20 years research has uncovered the links between our life experiences and their impact on health. The circumstances we grew up under can have a big effects on our health. You may have heard the acronyms ACEs and SDH.  ACEs, or adverse childhood experiences, describe stressful events that can have long term consequences. These stressful events include:  child abuse or neglect, a household member with alcohol or drug abuse, family members with mental illness, witnessing or experiencing domestic violence, divorce, or death of a loved one. They can even be more subtle things like excessively harsh discipline or food insecurity.  The more ACEs you have, the more likely you are to have heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.  The cumulative effect of stress on the brain and body can even shorten lifespan. The stress hormones that our bodies release during these sustained periods of adversity actually change our genes and can make us more susceptible to all sorts of diseases from obesity and heart disease to asthma and cancer. There is a great short video on this topic by pediatrician, Nadine Burke Harris.  You can watch this terrific 16 minute video here.
 The social determinants of health, or SDH for short, describe the societal factors that impact or lives:  housing, nutrition, employment, education, etc.  On an individual level we all face stress and adversity in our lives and how we react and overcome these varies greatly.  Having a supportive family or boss or work environment can help.  On a larger scale we can make a difference by helping provide opportunities to children – this means investing in early childhood education, early diagnosis and treatment of mental health and substance abuse disorders, protecting our environment, fighting the spread of infectious diseases by immunization and early detection and treatment.
What does this mean to our patients and families at PANK?  You may have noticed over the last three years we have asked you to fill out surveys that have relatively private and personal information.  We do this because it can have a direct impact on your child’s health.  And now we are better equipped than ever to help you. We have resources in the community to help our families who are facing hardships. 
  Pediatric Associates has worked long and hard to bring psychological services within our medical home.  We have worked with Emmaly Meier for the past year and are pleased to announce that Abby Schaber will soon be seeing patients in our office, by having counseling services in our office, we reduce barriers to care and improve communication about your child’s care.  We will help schedule, bill and coordinate care for Abby’s services.
As always, we are honored and humbled to be trusted in helping you care for your children!
 
Posted: 10/17/2019 6:05:10 AM | with 0 comments