The Adler School Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice (IPSSJ) recently worked with a coalition of agencies successfully advocating that the Illinois Department of Public Health add important questions to an annual survey of Illinois residents’ health–providing information that can link health challenges at the population level with adverse childhood experiences (ACES).
The United Way of Metropolitan Chicago’s October Public Policy and Advocacy Newsletter reports:
“Advocates won an important victory in October when the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) approved adding questions about childhood trauma to the state’s annual Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).
“The BRFSS is the world’s largest, ongoing telephone health survey system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the survey in 1984 and currently all 50 states participate. Data collected monthly focuses on health risk behaviors, preventive health practices, and health care access primarily related to chronic disease and injury. The survey allows states to add questions addressing health issues of local concern.”
IPSSJ Executive Director Elena Quintana, Ph.D., explains:
It allows us to get geo-specific data about trauma experienced by Illinois residents. This data can predict many health-related problems including increased risk of intravenous drug use, teen pregnancy, cardiovascular disease, domestic violence, and substance abuse.
Moving forward, Illiniois’ data can be compared to that among 19 states, and also be applied to help implement interventions to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences. For communities that demonstrate very high occurrences of Adverse Childhood Experiences, the data can allow for interventions specifically beneficial to those communities.
Coalition members on the initiative include the Adler School IPSSJ, United Way, Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Civitas ChildLaw Center, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Illinois Project LAUNCH, University of
Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health, and Wisdom Exchange.