Note: PACEs Connection is in dire financial straits. We are asking for support, from you, our 57,586 members, to help cover the loss of foundation funding that was promised and did not come through. Pay and hours have been cut for our staff—most of us will be laid off for the month of December. Another grant will pick up in January, but we will still be underfunded. Since sounding the alarm this summer, we’ve raised about $26,000. Thankfully, about 25% of new donors are making monthly donations. To get a sense of who your fellow members are, who is donating and why, please enjoy and share this third post in a series of donor profiles, and be like Jeoff Gordon: Please make a generous donation to PACEs Connection!
Dr. Jeoffry Gordon learned about the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study when he attended a talk in 2003 by the study’s co-principle investigator, Dr. Vincent Felliti.
“But I had no understanding of the terrible consequences of child abuse trauma until 15 years later when I started seeing patients in a clinic for the homeless, where it was a common condition,” says Gordon, a retired family physician and PACEs Connection supporter and activist.
Gordon, who practiced family medicine for 40 years in San Diego, California, attended some of the most elite schools in the nation: Harvard College, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Harvard Medical Service at Boston City Hospital for his medical internship, and Tulane University for a master’s of public health.
"...a tragic, soul-searing experience..."
“I was always up to date in cardiology, endocrinology, neurology, etc.,” he says, “but never heard the phrase ‘trauma-informed care’ until the last year I saw patients, in 2019. It was then I started connecting the effects of child abuse, neglect and trauma. I saw what can be a tragic, soul-searing experience, affecting physical health, mental health, and social capacity.”
Does he wish he’d known about the connection to childhood adversity and health outcomes earlier? Does he wish there had been the information and a resource such as PACEs Connection when he was practicing family medicine?
“Absolutely,” he says. “Although I certainly ‘knew’ about child abuse and ACEs, my lack of clinical appreciation and insight must have frequently led to inadequate evaluation and treatment of many patients with both psychological and physical illnesses. I learned this several years after I retired when a former patient contacted me for records to support his disability application. I had administered an ACEs questionnaire to him and he had a high score, but I had treated him like any other patient with anxiety and depression with ineffective meds and never applied PACES science.”
The relationship between inequity, racism, and trauma.
Active in social justice issues for decades, Gordon has a keen sense of the relationship between inequity, racism, and trauma. “I got involved in child abuse mitigation and prevention because I felt in this space I could relieve some of the worst and most anguishing pain in our society,” he says.
Gordon would know. He has been an outspoken member of the California Citizens Review Panel on Critical Incidents (child abuse homicides) for three years, posting multiple times on PACEs Connection in support of this work and legislation to support it.
"I think it is an obligation, and more than a privilege, to support PACEs Connection during this period of financial stress."
“PACEs Connection has made an amazing national contribution to dealing with ACEs,” he explains, “connecting survivors to survivors, connecting therapists to therapists, connecting survivors to therapists, promoting medical and counseling education, catalyzing many community-based intervention programs, and sponsoring many educational sessions. I think it is an obligation, and more than a privilege, to support PACEs Connection during this period of financial stress.”
Gordon considers himself to be an unaffiliated, freelance community advocate and activist trying to remediate years of disregard and public avoidance of the tragedies of child abuse and neglect.
Expanding the appreciation of the epidemic of child abuse; recommending that friends become involved in PACEs Connection.
“I am working to expand the appreciation of the epidemic of child abuse and child abuse trauma especially within the medical professions, especially psychiatry,” he points out, “and promoting the application of PACEs knowledge throughout all medical specialties. I also work on expanding resources devoted to this problem at all levels of government. I am especially concerned and active trying to repair the inattention and chaos in California around the tragic issue of child homicides due to abuse or neglect.”
When it comes to recommending that friends and colleagues become involved in PACEs Connection, Gordon says: “I think every researcher and professional providing therapy to people who have experienced maltreatment, people who are traumatized, does not do an adequate job if they are not also working to bring attention, in the public square, to the ongoing tragedies generated by childhood trauma."
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