By Laura Kurtzman, December 14, 2020, UCSF Patient Care.
As California’s new program to screen Medi-Cal patients for adverse childhood experiences (which are termed “ACEs”) gets underway, experts at UC San Francisco are trying to ensure that the adults and children who report trauma get the help they need.
Experts now believe it’s most effective to treat the whole family when traumas occur. But any successful program would need to overcome fragmented payment systems, which usually dictate separate and poorly coordinated care for children and adults. So, with funding from Genentech, the UCSF researchers plan to develop a “Whole Family Wellness” intervention that integrates resources from Medi-Cal clinics with outside agencies and test it over a three-year period.
“The findings will provide critical guidance to statewide and national efforts to address toxic stress and achieve health equity for children and families,” said California Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris, MD, a pediatrician who has focused much of her work on ACEs and toxic stress. “The disproportionate effect of the pandemic on communities of color makes this the perfect time to develop innovative policies that will truly improve the lives of the most vulnerable Californians.”