The Pandemic of the Centuries: ACEs, Trauma and Prevention
By Fabricia Prado, LCSW
Pandemic. You must be tired of that word. You may even experience feelings of anger or despair by the mere presence of this word before your eyes. Nonetheless, I dared to start with a potential trigger word to captivate your full attention in order to unpack one of the most important factors related to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how it relates to the moment we are collectively going through
I will assume that you are already familiar with the 1995 study on the role of adverse childhood experiences and focus on prevention as a protective factor. We now know that ACEs are a pandemic in their own right. Understanding the relevance of the ACEs pandemic in the field of human existence could potentially increase awareness in the work of prevention, while crafting hope and change by implementing actions to mitigate ACEs and reinforce community resilience.
Fundamentally, the ability to engage effectively in preventive action cannot proceed without the ability to pay attention with purpose. You may be surprised to take this perspective, but you may be already doing a lot of prevention work to mitigate ACEs and to build resilience in yourself, your home, your community, and your state. What does this mean?
In other words, it means you evaluate and adjust, all while training your own brain and body to notice what unfolds inside you and in your surroundings moment by moment.Ways you are possibly already contributing to the prevention of ACEs:
- Being an adult in your family and community who can be a safe, stable person and model emotional regulation to children.
- Helping an immigrant who doesn’t understand how their health insurance works and is fearful to go to a hospital and later receive an unaffordable bill.
- Using your time to refer people to available services they may not be aware of.
Ways that you may want to explore the path to ACEs prevention:
- Include ACEs education and updates in your meeting agendas for coalition meetings, board meetings and staff/leadership meetings.
- Create resilience-based initiatives, consulting, creating safe environments, reviewing your standard of operating procedures, your intake paperwork, and protocols.
- Promote cultural competency and linguistically appropriate services by implementing gender sensitive language as well as embracing body and gender diversity, denouncing racism, supporting black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), and being aware of the complexities of racial trauma to avoid re-traumatization.
By validating the good you are already doing, you are more likely to feel motivated to be and to do even more. Just like the coronavirus pandemic, the ACEs pandemic will require our continued dedication and attentiveness for it to reach its end.
ACE Interface is a company that provides education, analysis, process design, facilitation, and products designed to help you engage and motivate everyone to prevent ACEs and improve well being.
Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: A Technical Package for Policy, Norm, and Programmatic Activities
Adverse Childhood Experiences: Preventing Early Trauma to Improve Adult Health
Violence Prevention: Risk and Protective Factors
SAMHSA’s Treatment Improvement Protocol 57-Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral
About the Author
Fabricia Prado is a trilingual (Portuguese/Spanish/English) licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the state of Georgia. Fabricia has obtained certification as an ACE Interface Master Trainer through the National Hispanic and Latino PTTC and is working to increase community awareness of the prevalence of ACEs and its public health impact utilizing evidence-based approaches for building resiliency in the Hispanic and Latino organizations and communities.
She obtained her master's degree in social work from Kennesaw State University in 2012 and finished bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from Pontifical Catholic University of Goiás, PUC-GO, Brazil in 2007. Fabricia is a Certified Child and Adolescent Trauma Professional (CATP) and has received intensive training in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, Eye Movement Desentization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, and other trauma sensitive approaches