Press Release New California Investments for Adverse Childhood Experiences and Toxic Stress Research

Published: 7/9/2021

Contact: Luis Jimenez, 916-695-0049,

Sacramento, CA – New state budget investments signed by Governor Newsom on June 28, 2021, expand the state’s funding for preventing and treating Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) by $12.4 million to drive innovative, community-driven research.

This additional funding will support seven collaborative demonstration projects total across the state for three years, building on the first round of awards announced by the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine (CIAPM) in March 2021.

This critical investment is part of Governor Gavin Newsom's broad-based California Comeback Plan to transform California’s behavioral health system for children and youth into an innovative, prevention-focused system with early, targeted screenings and intervention. It is also a key priority of California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, who aims to cut ACEs and toxic stress in half within a generation. Advancing the science of ACEs is a core element of the state’s sweeping approach to explicitly address childhood trauma and toxic stress through complementary investments that extend resources and support evidence-based practices at the doctor’s office, schools, and social services across California’s communities. All seven ACEs demonstration projects begin this summer as part of CIAPM, in partnership with the Office of the California Surgeon General.

“If we’re going to reduce the burden of ACEs and toxic stress in a generation, we need research to inject fresh, ambitious ideas into the health care pipeline so our clinicians, social workers, and other frontline providers have a modern set of options to prevent, diagnose, measure, and treat the health impacts of ACEs and toxic stress,” said California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, MD, MPH. “Precision medicine is how we get there: moving from a one-size-fits-all system to an individualized approach that harnesses technology and data to address the root causes of health and social conditions, not just symptoms. In California, not only are we investing in cutting-edge research, we’re also making sure that diverse communities play a role in accelerating the research agenda in a manner and direction that serves all Californians.”

Housed within the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, CIAPM supports collaborative research and fosters partnerships between the state, researchers, patients, communities, and industry about matters of health equity. At present, an overwhelming number of Californians grapple with health and social outcomes stemming from toxic stress caused by ACEs. In 2020, the first-ever California Surgeon General’s Report highlighted the unique role of CIAPM in driving progress in ACEs research. Improved strategies are especially needed as the state emerges from the collective trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic. ACEs and toxic stress pose the sort of cross-cutting challenges that impact nearly all health departments and communities, as they are linked to nine out of 10 leading causes of death and estimated to cost over $112 billion annually in California.

Research teams are co-led by academic research institutions and one or more community- or county-based organizations that serve individuals with ACEs.

  • Scalable Measurement and Clinical Deployment of Mitochondrial Biomarkers of Toxic Stress – Children's Hospital Los Angeles; USC; AltaMed Health Services; Fiesta Educativa, Inc.; Para Los Niños; St Anne's; Karsh Family Social Service Center
  • A Multi-Component Intervention to Strengthen Families and Build Youth Resilience – Loma Linda Univ.; UCLA; Social Action Community Health System; Help Me Grow - Inland Empire; El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center; Walden Family Services; First 5 San Bernardino; Inland Empire Health Plan; San Bernardino Co. Children's Network; San Bernardino Co. Preschool Services; San Bernardino Co. Unified School District; Inland Empire Community Collaborative
  • Systems-based, Multidisciplinary Assessment of Adversity and Toxic Stress for Individualized Care (The SYSTEMAATIC Project) – Stanford Univ.; Center for Youth Wellness; UCSF; San Mateo County Health; Central Valley Community Foundation
  • Using Precision Medicine to Tackle Impacts of Adverse and Unpredictable Experiences on Children's Neurodevelopment – UC Irvine; Children's Hospital Orange County; Children's Hospital Orange County Primary Care Network; Syntropy Technologies, LLC; Illumina, Inc.; The Simms/Mann Family Foundation
  • Identifying Social, Molecular, & Immunological Processes for Mitigating Toxic Stress & Enhancing Personalized Resilience – UCLA; Stanford Univ.; UC Berkeley; UCSF; Burnham Benefits; University of Palo Alto; UC Health; Los Angeles County Department of Health Services
  • San Diego County, UC San Diego, & Community Partners Better Address ACEs with Precision Medicine & Organizational Change – UC San Diego; San Diego Co. Behavioral Health Services; Family Health Centers of San Diego; San Diego Co. Childhood Obesity Initiative; San Diego Promotores Coalition; Streetwyze; Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center, Kitchenistas; American Academy of Pediatrics, CA Chapter 3; Univ. of San Diego; San Diego State Univ.; YMCA of San Diego County
  • The Collaborative Approach to Examining Adversity and Building Resilience (CARE) Program – UCSF; Futures Without Violence; LifeLong Medical William Jenkins Health Center; Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland; UC Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics

About the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine

Housed within the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, CIAPM supports collaborative research and fosters partnerships between the state, researchers, patients, communities, and industry about matters of health equity. CIAPM has awarded over $40 million for demonstration projects throughout California, advancing the science of cancer, brain injuries, heart health, depression, genetic conditions, infectious diseases, and other conditions. Last year, a former CIAPM researcher used the techniques developed under state funding through 2018 to rapidly sequence and track the COVID-19 virus, providing crucial insights early in the pandemic. CIAPM also facilitates the California Precision Medicine Advisory Council, which designs and implements projects to better integrate social determinants of health data into electronic health records and improve representation in biomedical and clinical research.

About the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

As the State of California’s comprehensive planning agency, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research studies future research and planning needs, fosters goal-driven collaboration, and delivers guidance to state partners and local communities, with a focus on land use and community development, climate risk and resilience, and high road economic development.