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Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress are a root cause of some of the most harmful, persistent and expensive societal and health challenges facing the world today.

With 62% of California adults having experienced at least one ACE and 16% having experienced four or more, California is taking aggressive steps to address ACEs and toxic stress through ACEs Aware, the first-in-the-nation initiative to establish routine screening in primary care and develop a network of care.

ACEs Aware recently announced that, to date, more than 20,500 California clinicians have been trained and screened over 500,000 children and adults across the state.

“ACEs Aware continues to serve as an integral part of California’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and social and political stressors,” said California Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris, M.D. “ACEs Aware is giving providers the tools and resources they need to help Medi-Cal beneficiaries identify and address stress-related physical and mental health concerns that can occur due to prolonged activation of the biological stress response.”

Governor Gavin Newsom also recently signed into law Senate Bill 428, the ACEs Equity Act, which will significantly expand coverage for ACE screenings by requiring all health insurance plan contracts that provide coverage for pediatric services and preventive care to include coverage for ACE screenings. This includes Knox-Keene-licensed managed care plan contracts and health insurance policies issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2022.

Building upon these successes, ACEs Aware is moving into a new organizational home within the University of California. The newly created UCLA/UCSF ACEs Aware Family Resilience Network (UCAAN) will leverage the substantial interdisciplinary resources of two public health science campuses – the University of California, Los Angeles and University of California, San Francisco – to develop, promote, and sustain evidence-based methods to screen patients for ACEs and advance evidence-based treatments for toxic stress.

Receive ACEs Aware Training Today (Free!)

The California Medical Association (CMA) is a proud ACEs Aware grantee and encourages all physicians, particularly Medi-Cal providers, to receive the free, two-hour training to learn how screening, risk assessment and evidence-based care can effectively intervene on toxic stress. 

By screening for ACEs, providers can better determine the likelihood a patient is at increased health risk due to a toxic stress response, a critical step in responding with trauma-informed care that connects patients with a supportive network of care to mitigate the impact of ACEs.

Physicians may receive 2.0 Continuing Medical Education (CME) and 2.0 Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credits upon completion - and can receive reimbursement for providing ACEs screening to Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

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