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The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Lifetime Health

“The Deepest Well”, a new book by Nadine Burke Harris, M.D., brings new insight to the life-long effects that exposure to adverse childhood experiences can have, while highlighting the growing role of medical science in the understanding and treatment provided by New Directions.

“We are at a very exciting place in time where advances in scientific research are giving us greater understanding of what drives behavior,” says Joseph Gallagher, chief administrative officer. “And this knowledge is helping us create new strategies for helping to prevent and heal the effects of trauma.”

New Directions’ success in integrating Trauma Informed Care into all aspects of agency operations involves training staff in a variety of models, over an extended period of time. The training we provide is tailored to the different roles staff may have in a child’s treatment and care, and allows clinicians to choose from a variety of models the one best suited for them and the youth that they are working with. The agency has also made significant investments in consultations and trainings with nationally known trauma experts, and has formed on-going collaborations with local universities developing trauma informed treatment practices.

“Through our on-going relationship with the University of Buffalo’s School of Social Work’s Institute on Trauma and Trauma informed Care, we have engaged a highly-trained clinical consultant to provide guidance on the development of our trauma related practices and to supervise clinicians in the utilization of trauma informed treatment strategies. These clinicians then work with our front line treatment teams to incorporate these practices in their work as well.” says Lynn Siradas, director of foster care and adoption services, and a driving force in the agency’s trauma treatment efforts.

In addition, New Directions has been involved with the UB institute on a collaborative comprised of seven university/agency teams across the country to explore how trauma informed practices are implemented within organizations. Based on annual surveys conducted by the Institute, New Directions is showing significant increases in the number of staff knowledgeable of trauma informed care.

“Clearly, a light is being shone on the path we need to take,” says Gallagher. “and fortunately, we are well prepared to make the journey.”

For more information on the effect of adverse childhood experiences, here are two great resources:

“The Deepest Well”, by Nadine Burke Harris, M.D

Dr. Burke Harris’ Ted Talk (Highly recommended!):

The Ted Radio Hour: How genes and experience collaborate — and compete — to make us who we are.


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