A recent All Things Considered story touched on an innovative, potentially transformative project by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Roy Wade Jr., MD, PhD, MPH. Since last year, Dr. Wade has been working to add children’s voices and language feedback to tools used to assess and respond to childhood adversity.
Dr. Wade’s work builds on the CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study, conducted from 1995 to 1997. Designed to assess associations between adverse childhood experiences and health later in life, the study’s findings “suggest that certain experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death as well as poor quality of life in the United States,” according to the CDC site.
Dr. Wade’s research — funded in part by a grant from the Stoneleigh Foundation — seeks to add to the original ACEs by adding youth voices to build a concise, effective, youth-informed measure of childhood adversity.
“If you only have five minutes with a kid, what would be the five most relevant questions that you would need to ask in order to assess that kid’s adversity? You don’t have time to ask twenty questions or ten questions,” said Dr. Wade in the NPR piece. Arming clinicians with an assessment of a child’s ACEs, Dr. Wade, says, could help physicians “address an array of different problems in a family.”
As the NPR story reiterates, “research has shown that the stress of a tough childhood can raise your risk for later disease, mental illness, and addiction.”