Targeting ACEs in the Pediatric Medical Home

           Targeting ACEs Website Graphic

The Children’s Health Alliance and Foundation (CHA) convened a committee of pediatricians, behavioral health clinicians, and other practice team members to help guide a new initiative focused on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and optimizing resiliency. The committee believes that a strengths-based approach to fostering resiliency at the population level is the best “vaccine” for preventing and mitigating the effects of ACEs.  The saying “resilience trumps ACEs” emphasizes our conviction that all parents and children can benefit from optimizing their resilience to overcome adversity throughout life.

Given that parents and children visit their pediatric primary care provider frequently during early childhood, there is a unique opportunity to infuse resilience-building interventions into every interaction with a family. To that end, CHA is proud to launch an exciting new initiative in 2016 with the following components:     

v  Phase 1: Compassion-Informed Care Training – All providers and staff at CHA practices participate in a practice-wide training to gain awareness of ACEs and their impact, and learn specific strategies to incorporate a compassion-informed approach with patients & families. While the term “trauma-informed care" is more commonly used, we purposefully chose “compassion-informed care” to emphasize strengths and assets, as well as our organizational commitment to truly providing compassion-informed care to all patients and families.

v  Phase 2: Building Resilience Training – Pediatric primary care providers, behavioral health clinicians, and clinic care managers participate in an innovative and unique training to learn specific interventions designed to infuse resilience-building strategies at each well-child visit. Interventions correspond to age-appropriate developmental/psychosocial milestones, and align with developing early social-emotional skills and kindergarten readiness.

v  Patient and Family Information and Resources – Parents receive targeted resilience-building resources and handouts at each well-visit that correspond with the age-appropriate developmental/psychosocial milestones discussed at each office visit. Parents of newborns and young children may also receive or be able to purchase at a reduced cost the book “Zero to Five: 70 Essential Tips for Parents Based on Science (and What I’ve Learned So Far)” by Tracy Cutchlow, which is packed with evidence-based parenting strategies. 

Measuring Our Impact:

CHA is evaluating the initiative to measure the impact on staff, providers, patients, and families. Pre and post-training surveys measure changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. We will also assess changes in providers' behavior from parents' perspective via a survey asking if their provider talked with them about ACEs or resilience, and if they learned any new parenting strategies from their provider or care manager. 

Initiative Milestones: 

June 2015: Targeting ACEs Committee Convened

May 2016: Compassion Informed Care - Train the Practice Champions

June - December 2016: Begin conducting Compassion Informed Care Training across 22 practice sites

February 2017: Building Resilience Training for all CHA/CHF primary care & behavioral health clinicians

May 2017: Building Resilience Training for all CHA/CHF care managers

Questions or Want to Collaborate?

Please contact E. Dawn Creach, MS, Program Manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.