The American Academy of Pediatrics, District of Columbia Chapter (DC AAP) today announced that the Bainum Family Foundation has awarded DC AAP a multi-year grant to increase awareness and understanding of the impact of poverty and early childhood toxic stresses on long term health outcomes. As a member of the Birth-to-Three Policy Alliance, DC AAP will launch a health provider education series focused on raising awareness and understanding among local child health providers regarding the devastating effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on children within their first five years of life.
“More than half of children in Washington, DC experience an adverse childhood experience, such as the sudden absence of a caregiver or abusive behavior within the household. Infants and toddlers in Wards 7 and 8 are 100 times more likely to face neglect or other maltreatment. These adverse childhood experiences have a toxic effect upon the development and learning of young children in the District, and the damage can persist throughout the child’s life,” said Lanre Omojokun Falusi, MD, FAAP, President of DC AAP. “As our children grow into adults, exposure to this toxic stress is linked to higher rates of addiction, depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and premature mortality.”
In partnership with Children’s National Health System’s Child Health Advocacy Institute (CHAI) and MedStar Georgetown University Medical Center, DC AAP will convene a symposium to educate and inform local child health providers on the research regarding the effects of poverty on child health, including adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress. In addition, DC AAP will conduct collaborative educational sessions for residents and medical students at local hospitals in order to encourage a District-wide conversation about adverse childhood experiences and their impact on the biology of young children.
In subsequent years, with the Bainum Family Foundation’s support, DC AAP will work with Children’s CHAI and MedStar Georgetown to undertake targeted projects in pediatric practices, conduct an awareness campaign to increase policy maker and key stakeholder knowledge of the elements of an effective early learning system for infants and toddlers, provide medical/technical assistance to policy makers on early childhood health issues, and convene joint policy forums with health providers, civic leaders, and policymakers to promote policy and regulatory solutions and build support for expanded public funding for infants and toddlers.
“DC AAP looks forward to working with the Bainum Family Foundation and the Birth-to-Three Policy Alliance partners to educate medical providers and policymakers on the effects of early childhood relationships and environments on the development of young children,” said Dr. Falusi. “Together, we can create best practices and new policies to improve the health outcomes of infants and toddlers in our nation’s capital.”