In 2008, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) convened the Commission to Build a Healthier America to find better ways to improve the health of our nation.
In their search for solutions, the Commissioners found that where we live, learn, work, and play profoundly influences our health.
The new recommendations, released January 13, are aimed at improving health now and for generations to come, and specifically highlight the need to:
- Prioritize investments in America's youngest children.
- Encourage leaders in different sectors to work together to create communities where healthy decisions are possible, with a particular emphasis on community development.
- Challenge health professionals and health care institutions to expand their focus from treating illness to helping people live healthy lives.
Reclaiming Futures supports RWJF's effort and continues to unite juvenile courts, probation, mental health treatment, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and the community to reclaim youth.
We'd love to hear from you. How can the Commission's recommendations change the way communities invest in young people? Please share your suggestions in the comments section below.
Martha Davis, executive director of the Institute for Safe for Safe Families, and Kristin Schubert, team director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, write about the history and prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Neuroscientists have found that traumatic childhood events like abuse and neglect can create dangerous levels of stress and derail healthy brain development, putting young brains in permanent "fight or flight" mode. What scientists often refer to as "toxic stress" has damaging long-term effects on learning, behavior, and health. Very young children are especially vulnerable.
Last year, the Institute for Safe Families, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and others, formed the Philadelphia Adverse Childhood Experiences Task Force to help local doctors and nurses, mental health counselors, and advocates recognize the symptoms of toxic stress and develop ways to protect children from its damaging effects. As a first step, the Task Force conducted a citywide survey of more than 1,700 residents to understand the prevalence of the problem.
The results are tragic.
Learn about the findings and the applications for social workers, police departments, educators, doctors, and nurses in the full article, Early Trauma, Lasting Damage, on philly.com
Do you know someone 40 years old (or younger) who is working to improve health and health care for the future? Please nominate that person for a Young Leader Award: Recognizing Leadership for a Healthier America
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is celebrating their 40th year by recognizing young people who are leading the way to improved health and health care for all Americans. Third party-only nominations are being accepted until July 16, 2012. Each winner will receive an individual award of $40,000.
Please read more about the characteristics for nominees at RWJF.org: