The Limits of ACEs, with Dr. Ernestine Briggs-King and Dr. Jonathan Purtle

Season 4Episode 10June 10, 2022

Decades after the original Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study, does this tool tell the complete story?

The 1998 CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study helped build public understanding of the consequences of untreated childhood trauma. All these years later, does this tool tell the complete story? In this panel discussion recorded at National Children’s Alliance’s 2022 Leadership Conference, we explore what ACEs can—and can’t—accomplish in terms of influencing public support for policies that benefit kids. How can ACE screenings be used (and misused)? And what’s next for public health messaging that matters? Join Dr. Ernestine Briggs-King and Dr. Jonathan Purtle for a panel discussion moderated by NCA CEO Teresa Huizar in our first live-to-tape episode of One in Ten. 

Topics in this episode: 

  • Origin stories (2:07)
  • What’s good and bad about ACEs (5:39)
  • Public policy messaging (14:15)
  • ACEs and racism (22:42)
  • Protective factors and resilience (24:58)
  • The six messages (29:08)
  • What we’re curious about (36:48)
  • Audience questions (39:54)


Ernestine Briggs-King, Ph.D., is a clinical/community psychologist; the director of research at the Center for Child and Family Health; director of the Data and Evaluation Program at the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress; and an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine 

Jonathan Purtle, Ph.D., is associate professor of public health policy and management and director of policy research at NYU’s Global Center for Implementation Science 

CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (1998), Vincent J. Felitti, MD, FACP; et al 

 Previous episodes on related topics: 

Reframing Childhood Adversity,” with Julie Sweetland from FrameWorks Institute (April 14, 2022), a discussion of the study “Reframing Childhood Adversity: Promoting Upstream Approaches,” FrameWorks Institute (February 16, 2021)

Greater Than the Sum—Multiple Adversities in Children’s Lives,” with Dr. Sherry Hamby (August 6, 2020; originally broadcast February 14, 2020, as “Mending the Tears of Violence) 

The ACEs Message and Its Unintended Consequences,” with Dr. Jonathan Purtle (May 20, 2021) 

The Hidden Cost of Resilience,” with Dr. Ernestine Briggs-King (July 17, 2020; originally broadcast January 10, 2020) 

Bonus Content: Universal Screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences,” with Dr. David Finkelhor (May 21, 2020) 

Beyond ACEs,” with Dr. Lisa Amaya-Jackson (December 4, 2019) 

The Science of Storytelling,” with Nat Kendall-Taylor from FrameWorks Institute (June 28, 2019) 

Transcript to come.