Category: Social and Community Context

27 - Early Childhood Trauma: Considerations for Healthy Aging

The United States is witnessing a rapid growth among adults ages 65 and older. The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double to over 98 million by 2060, with the group’s total population rising to nearly 24% from 15% in 2014. This exponential growth will pose challenges for health care professionals who treat older Americans.

One important consideration for healthy aging is the effects of trauma across the lifespan. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) include physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; physical and emotional neglect; and household dysfunction (mother treated violently, household substance abuse, household mental illness, parental separation or divorce, and incarcerated household member). ACEs can affect an individual’s physical, social, emotional and spiritual state of well-being and resiliency throughout their life. Research has shown two-thirds of people have experienced at least one ACE, and ACEs have a graded dose-response relationship negative health outcomes; the more ACEs a person has experienced, the higher their risk is for chronic diseases, mental health disorders, and substance use disorders. By considering ACEs as an underlying determinant of health, health care professionals can be better equipped to promote resiliency and healthy aging while addressing chronic health conditions.

Although early childhood trauma is common, there are gaps in knowledge and understanding among health care providers and patients. The Early Childhood Trauma Collaborative Improvement Network (CoIN), created in July of 2015 as a subset of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau-sponsored Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network, has been working to change that. The CoIN is composed of over 50 individuals from 15 states, D.C. and 31 academic and local organizations to create infrastructure, systems, and supports to increase awareness and build resilience against early childhood trauma and toxic stress. The CoIN identified the need for publicly available, easy-to-find information to assist individuals, parents, community member, policy experts and other understand what early childhood trauma is, the impact early childhood has across society, and how to promote resiliency and healing. This presentation will highlight the CoIN’s work and share a no-cost model for turning innovative ideas into creative public health solutions to engage community partners to promote healthy aging and resiliency


Patricia Burbano

Management Analyst
Health Resources and Services Administration
Rockville, Maryland

Patricia Burbano is a Management Analyst, in the Office of Women's Health, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Burbano contributes to OWH’s policy portfolio through the coordination and integration of women’s health priorities across federal and non-federal partners. Highlights of her Federal career include serving on the HRSA U.S. – Mexico Border, Adolescent Health Workgroup, and co-leading the Early Childhood Trauma Collaborative Innovation Network (CoIN). Patricia’s research areas of interest include mental health, adolescent health, and early childhood trauma prevention. Patricia holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health from the University of Maryland.

Bethany Applebaum

Public Health Anaylst
Health Resources and Services Administration
Rockville, Maryland

Bethany Applebaum is a Public Health Analyst in the Office of Women’s Health within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She leads OWH’s policy portfolio, working to integrate women’s health priorities across HHS with federal and non-federal partners. She has served a leading role on cross-cutting, multidisciplinary projects and initiatives related to OWH, HRSA, and HHS Secretarial priorities including early childhood trauma, trauma-informed approaches, health workforce, rural health, LGBT health, mobile health, and prevention.