Social Work Hosts Colloquium on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)


On April 7, 2016, the Department of Social Work at CSUSM hosted a colloquium on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) with nationally renowned speaker Carol Redding M.A.

Adverse Childhood Experiences, commonly known as ACEs may be the most import social science discovery in the past several decades. ACEs are adverse/traumatic childhood experiences that harm the development of individuals and may have long lasting influences on health and well-being. The original study by Kaiser Permanente in San Diego with over 17,000 participants investigated 10 main ACEs which occurred prior to age 18 and the impact of these on health and well-being. (see

Ms. Redding stated: “The higher the ACE Score, the greater the behavior (smoking, alcoholism, drug use), the condition (e.g. depression, obesity, STDs), or risk. An ACE Score of 4+ is the “tipping point” where behaviors, conditions, and risk increase dramatically.”

Ms. Redding reported that ACEs were surprisingly common, even among the participants in the original ACE study who were primarily white and middle class.

Resiliency was a main theme in Ms. Redding’s presentation; “ACEs create risk, but resilience mitigates risk. A trauma-informed approach to services fosters individual, organizational, and cultural resilience.” She stated the key to a resiliency informed approach with health providers is instead of asking individuals; “What’s wrong with you?”, ask “What happened to you? How has this affected you in your life?”

It has been stated regarding ACEs: “History may well show that the discovery of the impact of ACEs on noninfectious causes of death was as powerful and revolutionary an insight as Louis Pasteur’s once controversial theory that germs cause infectious disease. His ideas were slow to be adopted but are now universally accepted. Similarly, ACEs parallel what Pasteur offered—an underlying syndrome implicated in noninfectious causes of death. This is truly a remarkable discovery that is likely to change the way in which the field of medicine [social work, and many other fields are] …viewed and practiced (Larkin & Records, 2007, p.1).”

Ms. Redding was an ACE
Fellow with
the Centers for
Disease Control
and Prevention from 2003‐2006 and created a
highly successful marketing campaign for The ACE Study and is currently a doctoral candidate at Northcentral University. She is the CEO of Health Presentations, a non-profit organization, and continues her work of sharing ACE Study findings.

To learn more about the Social Work program in the College of Education, Health & Human Services at the California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), please contact our Student Services at 760.750.4277 or


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