Iowans Thrive Blog
Featuring stories, research, and news on Iowa's movement to respond to ACEs
The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study was groundbreaking in that it showed a link between childhood trauma and adult health outcomes. The more types of childhood trauma adults reported experiencing, the greater their likelihood of having a wide range of health and mental health challenges, including anxiety, heart disease, substance use disorder, and diabetes. Iowa’s study, for example, shows that individuals with four or more ACEs are 5.3 times more likely to have COPD and 7.7 times more likely to have depression than those reporting zero ACEs.
The ACE Study has spurred a movement focused on trauma-informed care, which considers what has happened to someone who may be experiencing challenges, rather than what is wrong with them. It also has led to using the ACE Study survey to measure individuals’ level of ACEs to better understand how past experiences may be influencing their current well-being.
Knowing the connection between ACEs and adult outcomes is critical in working with individuals to heal from trauma and to prevent and mitigate ACEs in the future. Already, the ACE Study has inspired important policy and practice changes. But as we’ve learned more about the ACEs research, we also recognize that the ACEs survey should only be used within certain carefully established settings.
Here are three reasons why sharing the survey with individuals may be problematic:
This fall, we are launching an 18-month effort to expand engagement and collaboration with groups working to respond to ACEs in local communities across Iowa. The focus of this project will be to build collective advocacy efforts to improve supports for children and families, especially in underserved and marginalized communities.
This work is made possible by a $50,000 Community Change Grant from Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation, which focuses on innovative projects that address key health issues by engaging systems change at the community level. Our work also continues to be generously supported by Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, which recently awarded Iowa ACEs 360 a three-year operating grant to focus on systems-change work that improves health outcomes for children and families.
Nine2Thrive™ was created to help pregnant moms experiencing significant stress access the support they need for a healthy and successful pregnancy. Having support and resources—including safe and affordable housing, healthy food, and mental health care—improve not only the well-being of parents, but also their child. Reducing parent stress creates a buffering protection that allows babies to have a strong foundation for lifelong healthy development as they begin to grow in the womb.
A recent evaluation of the Nine2Thrive™ model in its second year found the following results and lessons learned that can inform similar efforts to prevent ACEs.
We are thrilled to have been selected as a finalist for the CareSource Foundation Grant Challenge, with the possibility of winning up to $50,000 to support our mission. From October 18-29, 2021, Iowans can vote once a day for the organization that is inspiring innovation on reducing health disparities and moving the needle on health equity.
We are proud to be recognized for this challenge grant among many organizations who are leading incredible work to improve Iowans' health and well-being. This grant would further our efforts to empower communities, organizations, and individuals to take informed actions that promote healing from ACEs and the healthy development of kids from the start.
Following Dr. Shawn Ginwright’s presentation on healing-centered engagement in May, Iowa ACEs 360 hosted a panel of Iowa leaders who shared what stood out to them about Dr. Ginwright’s principles and how those principles can be applied to work with youth.
Healing-centered engagement is a term Dr. Ginwright coined to describe an asset-based culturally rooted approach to collective healing and well-being for young people and their adult allies. These concepts are shaping the way we think about the work of responding to ACEs and promote well-being.
The panel was moderated by Kayla Powell, NYTD and Youth Development Coordinator with the Iowa Dept. of Human Rights and featured the following individuals:
Here are some of their comments made during the presentation: