Join the #ChildrenCanThrive Campaign so all children grow up happy and healthy.

The #ChildrenCanThrive  campaign seeks to transform our response to the public health crisis of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their long term effects.

Join the #ChildrenCanThrive Campaign so all children grow up happy and healthy.


At the Center for Youth Wellness, we conduct and disseminate promising and evidence-based research and knowledge about ACEs and their consequences. Today’s research increasingly focuses on biological links between ACEs and chronic disease. Researchers are answering such questions as:
  • Why do people exposed to ACEs age faster?
  • Why do they develop heart disease more frequently and at a younger age?
  • Why is obesity linked to ACEs and how can addressing ACEs help people lose weight?
Recent data shows that inflammation is one of the main mediators of toxic stress that can cause chronic diseases. Inflammation is mediated by small proteins produced by our bodies in response to harmful stimuli. These small proteins can be tracked in our bodies as indicators of a biological process; researchers and physicians call them biomarkers. None of these biomarkers has yet been validated for routine use in the clinic in the context of ACEs. Discovering and validating biomarkers through research will allow translation into clinical practice, enabling physicians to use them to identify children most at risk for developing chronic diseases. The validated biomarkers will also help us identify which clinical interventions are necessary and/or sufficient to treat toxic stress.

Our research program is organized as a community-engaged and community-based participatory research (CBPR) program. CBPR is an applied collaborative approach that allows members of the community to actively participate in the full spectrum of the research program. This includes participation in finalizing the research agenda for CYW and helping set priorities, participation in the study design, recruitment and retention of research participants, instrument design, data collection and analysis, and dissemination of the results. We also address topics of importance to the community, such as prevalence of ACEs among teenagers in San Francisco, California.

If you are part of the Bayview community and would like more information about the program or how to participate, please contact us.

Check out our calendar for upcoming community-based research events.

Recent Findings

The latest research article published by Dr. Brandon Scott, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, Carl Weems, Julia Hellman and Dr. Victor Carrion, in August 2013 in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma shows that certain types of ACEs co-occur more often than other types. Specifically, this study shows that, while experiencing one form of abuse might not imply the risk of experiencing other types of abuse, physical abuse is an indicator of both sexual and emotional abuse. ACEs that fall into the household dysfunction category are strongly associated with one another. Finally, emotional and physical neglect are strongly interrelated with specific types of abuses (i.e., sexual abuse), household dysfunction (i.e., household drug user), and low social support in the home (i.e., one or no parent). These findings suggest the necessity to monitor for signs of other types of abuse during the initial ACE screening.

This research was based on the analysis of a retrospective chart review of a subset of children followed at the Bayview Child Health Center (BCHC) previously reported by Burke et al. in 2011.