Developing a Community-Wide Initiative to Address Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress: A Case Study of The Philadelphia ACE Task Force

Acad Pediatr. 2017 Sep-Oct;17(7S):S130-S135. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2017.04.012.


The Philadelphia ACE Task Force is a community based collaborative of health care providers, researchers, community-based organizations, funders, and public sector representatives. The mission of the task force is to provide a venue to address childhood adversity and its consequences in the Philadelphia metropolitan region. In this article we describe the origins and metamorphosis of the Philadelphia ACE Task Force, which initially was narrowly focused on screening for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in health care settings but expanded its focus to better represent a true community-based approach to sharing experiences with addressing childhood adversity in multiple sectors of the city and region. The task force has been successful in developing a research agenda and conducting research on ACEs in the urban context, and has identified foci of local activity in the areas of professional training and workforce development, community education, and local practical interventions around adversity, trauma, and resiliency. In this article we also address the lessons learned over the first 5 years of the task force's existence and offers recommendations for future efforts to build a local community-based ACEs collaborative.

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees*
  • Child
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Philadelphia
  • Research
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Stress, Psychological*