Clinician’s Corner 2017: The ACEs Issue
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Welcome to our first issue of Clinician’s Corner. Our team has unique experience as practitioners and researchers. We have worked in schools, foster care agencies, maternity homes, domestic violence shelters and private practice. While we love our role as researchers, we perceive a disconnect between research and practice. We want to know what practitioners think and we want practitioners to know what we are working on. We understand that many practitioners (despite sometimes vocal admonishments) do not have the time to sort through the many relevant journal articles and translate that information into their practice.
Clinician’s Corner is our means to bring researchers and practitioners together to have a unique dialogue about current issues that will culminate in an annual digest co-created by social work researchers and practitioners. Our goal is to provide short-form reviews of research and implications for practice. We also want to provide a free and engaging professional development opportunity where practitioners co-create the final product through a series of Facebook Live sessions where attendees can earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
We chose to focus on Adverse Child Experiences (ACEs) in this first issue to address how information about ACEs can be incorporated into practice. We recognize that practitioners have long understood that trauma impacts a person’s life trajectories, including health. However, we want to bring together discussions about neurobiology, ACEs, and trauma-informed care because ultimately these conversations are sending the same message to practitioners about the need to address trauma and toxic stress.
The following issue will provide an overview of ACEs, explore ACEs in our healthcare system and how social workers can begin to collaborate with physicians’ to promote the use of a universal ACEs screening in doctor’s offices. We will discuss how to implement an ACEs screening in practice and some of the things we should consider when using this tool. We also explore how organizations can become more ACEs and trauma-informed to prevent services and systems that may traumatize the people they aim to help. Finally, we discuss how to consider ACEs when working with special populations such as youth in foster care.
These articles are by no means a comprehensive investigation into all the ways social workers can use ACEs in their practice, but they serve as a start to the conversation. We want you to read these articles and bring your knowledge, experiences from your practice, and questions to the table. While every one of our authors are experts in their field, we believe you, the practitioners’ out in the field have invaluable expertise and wisdom as well. We enthusiastically invite you to join us for our Facebook Live sessions as we discuss and expand upon articles in future issues and come together to build a bridge between social work research and practice.
Monica Faulkner, Ph.D., LMSW
Director, Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing.