Understanding Lifelong Health

By MJ Smith, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque

I wanted to share a new resource we are using here in NE Iowa – which has been particularly compelling as we talk about equity and serving vulnerable children and families – extending and ensuring every opportunity for all to succeed.


Click here to read the new report, “Adverse Childhood Experiences in Iowa: A New Way of Understanding Lifelong Health.”


For several decades, teachers and people who serve children have told us about the changes they are seeing in kids, particularly regarding readiness/ability to learn. The ACE (adverse childhood experience) report now quantifies how child abuse, violence, mental illness and other adverse experiences interferes with normal brain development and also fosters negative adult health impacts.


In fact, the study shows the number of ACES a child has directly correlates with adult cancer, diabetes heart attack, stroke, and early death.


As community foundation leaders, we are challenged to read the report, digest it, and use it to filter our decision-making around funding childhood programs – particularly those aimed at preventing child abuse and providing support for vulnerable families.


As community leaders with a focus on equity, this resource will be a new addition to our plan of work.  I think you will find its message discernible and actionable.



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