Student Taskforce on ACEs and Resilience (STAR)

Formerly known as “ACEs Student Task Force

Research conducted over several decades has found that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) significantly impact a person’s health both in childhood and throughout adulthood. While foundational studies identified specific adverse experiences predictive of poor health outcomes, it is now recognized that a broad set of ACEs – from domestic violence to institutional racism – can contribute to toxic stress and have profound effects on the health of individuals and communities. Interventions aimed at bolstering resilience in those exposed to ACEs can have a protective effect, and help offset the negative consequences associated with early childhood adversity. Despite the measurable impact ACEs have on health, most health professional students have limited training on proper techniques for screening, prevention and resilience-building when addressing childhood adversity and trauma.

Image from the CDC

The H-STAT Student Taskforce on ACEs and Resilience (STAR) aims to unite students from across disciplines and universities in Georgia to increase awareness and provide resources for the next generation to practice trauma-informed care, no matter their professional path. We believe that as students, we can revolutionize the way we confront ACEs as a society so that we can better serve our patients and their communities. Whether you are new to the concept of “ACEs” or you’ve been trauma-informed for a while, we welcome your interest and participation.

STAR has 4 pillars: Education, Advocacy, Service and Research

Education

STAR seeks to promote meaningful educational opportunities for students and faculty to learn about the relationship between ACEs and long-term health outcomes, while sharing practical information about resilience building that can be applied in public health and clinical practice.

We seek to:

  • Integrate trauma-informed education into the formal curricula across higher education programs
  • Create extracurricular lectures and other events dedicated to promoting ACEs science and trauma-informed care
  • Host interdisciplinary discussion groups

Service

We believe that students have potential to contribute to the community through existing programs that promote ACEs awareness and serve communities impacted by ACEs. We aim to connect students to these programs so that they may learn about current efforts lend their own passion and expertise.

Advocacy

We recognize that preventing ACEs and promoting resilience requires changes in our legal and political systems. The ASTF seeks to promote awareness of ACEs and trauma-informed care outside the medical community and to support policy that impacts children and families at risk for ACEs.

We aim to host training workshops for students to learn about ACEs, trauma-informed care and proper methods of communicating these relevant concepts to healthcare workers, policy-makers and other community stakeholders.

Research

Multiple researchers throughout the state are engaging in research that explores the relationship between ACEs, resilience and health outcomes in various settings. We aim to provide a forum for students to identify and collaborate with researchers so that they may contribute to ongoing projects or connect with mentors to assist with project development.

For more information about ACEs and ACEs science, please check out these links

  1.  https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/index.html
  2.  https://www.samhsa.gov/capt/practicing-effective-prevention/prevention-behavioral-health/adverse-childhood-experiences
  3.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95ovIJ3dsNk
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIlh5m6rS2s
  5. https://onlinegrad.baylor.edu/resources/adverse-childhood-experiences-health/