Health disparities in the U.S. are growing and are deeply rooted in social determinants of health.

Starting in early childhood, conditions of everyday life – quality of housing and nutrition, family stability, education, exposure to crime, transportation options, the physical environment, etc. – have significant and lasting effects on health.

Scholarship on social determinants of health increasingly focuses on the long-term effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). ACEs are traumatic life events that can produce toxic stress in children’s lives and interfere with healthy brain and physiological development.

Beginning in utero, ACEs are powerful determinants of lifelong individual health, particularly among marginalized populations. ACEs disproportionately affect low-income populations, which contribute to lifelong and inter-generational health disparities.

Yet, ACE data is underutilized or not utilized at all in clinical practice as a tool for early interventions.

Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation