A pioneering physician reveals how childhood stress can lead to lifelong health problems, and shows us what we can do to break the cycle.
Two-thirds of us have experienced at least one adverse childhood experience, or ACE, such as abuse, neglect, parental substance dependence, or mental illness. Even though these events may have occured long ago, they have the power to haunt us long into adulthood, and now we have found that they may even contribute to lifelong illness.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, the founder/CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness and recipient of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award, expands on similar topics as in her popular TED talk as she demystifies the connection between adversity and ill health. After surveying more than 17,000 adult patients, she found that the higher a person’s ACE score, the worse their health. This led Burke Harris to an astonishing breakthrough—childhood stress changes our neural systems and its impact lasts a lifetime.
Through vivid storytelling that combines both scientific insight with deeply moving stories about her patients and their families, Burke Harris illuminates her journey of discovery from the academy to her own pediatric practice in San Francisco’s poverty-ridden Bayview Hunters Point. She re-roots the story of childhood trauma and its aftermath in science to help listeners see themselves and others more clearly.
For anyone who has faced a difficult childhood, or who cares about the millions of children who do, the innovative and acclaimed health interventions outlined in the The Deepest Well represents vitally important hope for change.