Research Consortium of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, UCSF, and the Center for Youth Wellness to Receive $4.8M Grant from Tara Health Foundation to Address Childhood Adversity

Newswise — SAN FRANCISCO/OAKLAND, CA (November 19, 2015) – The Tara Health Foundation announced today a grant of $4.8 million dollars to fund a research collaboration that will investigate how childhood adversity affects children’s health. The Bay Area Research Consortium on Toxic Stress and Health, composed of the Center for Youth Wellness, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland and UCSF Medical Center, aims to bolster research and scientific tools to comprehensively address the negative health outcomes associated with exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). "Exposure to adversity as a child has a profound impact on a person's health throughout their life,” says Dr. Ruth Shaber, President of the Tara Health Foundation. “We believe that if doctors have the right tools to screen and treat children who are at highest risk, we can prevent chronic diseases in adults.”

Adverse Childhood Experiences are stressful or traumatic events experienced by a child such as physical and emotional abuse or neglect, or mental illness, addiction or incarceration of a parent or close family member. Research has shown that children who go through these kinds of experiences are at risk for developing a stress response that is toxic for their brains and bodies and are more likely to have health and behavioral problems both as children and adults.

“The national conversation on children’s health is shifting towards Adverse Childhood Experiences and its relationship to long-term health outcomes,” says Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, CEO and Founder of the Center for Youth Wellness. “The Tara Health Foundation grant provides a unique opportunity to advance the research so that early detection and interventions become standard clinical practice.”

Research shows just how prevalent Adverse Childhood Experiences are in the population. A 1998 study by Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, led by Dr. Vincent Felitti and Dr. Robert Anda, estimated that two-thirds of adults experienced at least one ACE during childhood. One in eight people experienced four or more ACEs. Since then, numerous epidemiological studies have supported these findings and shown an association between ACEs and common chronic diseases in adults. Additionally, a 2014 report released by Center for Youth Wellness, based on four years of data collected by the California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, shows 61.7% of Californians have experienced at least one ACE and 16.7% have experienced four or more ACEs.

“Adverse childhood experiences increase risk of disease in adulthood. Yet, the biological pathways of traumatic stress are not well understood,” says Dr. Neeta Thakur at UCSF. “UCSF, in partnership with the Center for Youth Wellness and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, hope to unravel the connection between ACEs and health.”

“The ultimate goal of the Bay Area Research Consortium on Toxic Stress and Health, is to pilot and scale innovative approaches to preventing and treating early childhood adversity in order to improve the overall health outcomes for all children,” says Dr. Dayna Long of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. “As a team, we are dedicated to creating evidence based best practices that promote wellness and strengthen resilience.” The Bay Area Research Consortium was convened in 2014 to advance scientific understanding of toxic stress and to identify effective ways to screen, prevent, and treat its consequences. The Consortium, a first of its kind in the nation, brings together nationally known experts in the field including principal investigators Nadine Burke Harris, MD, MPH and Monica Bucci, MD from Center for Youth Wellness; Dayna Long, MD, Laura Frame, PhD, from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland; and Neeta Thakur, MD, MPH and Esteban G. Burchard, MD, MPH from UCSF.

For more information about the grantees go to:

About UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital OaklandUCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland (formerly Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland) is a premier, not-for-profit medical center for children in Northern California, and is the only hospital in the East Bay devoted 100 percent to pediatrics. UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland affiliated with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco on January 1, 2014. UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland has more than 250,000 out-patient visits and 10,000 in-patient admissions each year, and is a national leader in many pediatric specialties including cardiology, hematology/oncology, neonatology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and sports medicine. The hospital is one of only five ACS Pediatric Level I Trauma Centers in the state, and has one of the largest pediatric intensive care units in Northern California. UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland has 190 licensed beds, over 500 physicians in 43 specialties, more than 2,600 employees, and a consolidated annual operating budget of more than $500 million. UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland is also a leading teaching hospital with an outstanding pediatric residency program and a number of unique pediatric subspecialty fellowship programs.

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland’s research arm, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), is internationally known for its basic and clinical research. CHORI is at the forefront of translating research into interventions for treating and preventing human diseases. CHORI has 250 members of its investigative staff, a budget of about $50 million, and is ranked among the nation’s top ten research centers for National Institutes of Health funding to children’s hospitals. For more information, go to and