How Childhood Trauma Effects Health Across a Lifetime

Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on. Explains Burke Harris in her now viral TedTalk video, "How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime," which has reached over 1.6 million views.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is revolutionizing pediatric medicine in the middle of San Francisco’s Bayview. 

James Redford’s New Doc “RESILIENCE: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope” To Premiere At The Sundance Film Festival

Makers: Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

Nadine Burke Harris on helping to reduce the detrimental effects on children in abusive situations.

KQED Newsroom

Regular exposure to stress can have a lasting impact on the health of children. From what she sees at her clinic in Bayview-Hunter's Point, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris has come to believe that childhood stress can lead to physical changes and illness in adulthood. In fact, stress can take years off an individual's life. KQED's Scott Shafer talks with Dr. Burke Harris, CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness, to discuss her ground-breaking work counteracting the effects of what she calls "toxic stress."

Gathering of New Leaders

Nadine Burke Harris (Founder & CEO, Center for Youth Wellness) on redefining pediatric medicine and transforming the outcomes of adverse childhood experiences at the 11th annual Gathering of New Leaders 2015.

Building Resilience

Traumatic childhood events like abuse and neglect can create dangerous levels of stress and derail healthy brain development, resulting in long-term effects on learning, behavior and health. A growing network of leaders in research, policy and practice are leading the way in preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and mitigating their impact by building resilience.

In this video, Nadine Burke Harris, CEO and Founder for the Center for Youth Wellness in San Francisco, says that ACEs and toxic stress is the next massive public threat.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris Sits Down With Willie Geist At Google's ZeitgeistMinds

Google gives $3 million to Nadine Burke Harris’ Bayview clinic

October 1, 2015

Google’s philanthropic arm will give $3 million to pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris’ Bayview clinic, which has earned international acclaim for its work linking the physical ailments of low-income children to their traumatic experiences.

The three-year grant is a boon for Burke Harris’ Center for Youth Wellness, which has a $5 million annual budget. The facility focuses on what is known as adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress — issues like neglect, abuse, exposure to violence and household dysfunction that can damage a child’s developing brain and body. Burke Harris said that 1 in 10 of the children she sees has experienced not just one of those traumas, but four or more. Read Full Article

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris gets to the heart of children’s stress

October 1, 2015

As Dr. Nadine Burke Harris treated child after child, something told her she wasn’t getting the full picture.

Most of her young patients at the Bayview Child Health Center were from the surrounding, predominantly African American neighborhood in southeastern San Francisco. Their home lives were largely plagued by poverty, domestic abuse and chaos, and later in life, many of them developed chronic illnesses. But were the two related?

About seven years ago, Burke Harris read a study that finally connected the dots. Childhood exposure to trauma was strongly and scientifically linked to all kinds of ailments and risky behaviors: heart disease, hepatitis, autoimmune disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression and suicide. Read Full Article