Course Summary

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are specific types of childhood trauma and include psychological, physical, or sexual abuse, witnessing violence against the mother, living with household members who have a substance use disorder, are mentally ill or suicidal, or are imprisoned. Recognizing a need for intervention to disrupt adverse childhood experiences to illness trajectory, The American Academy of Pediatrics has called upon medical clinicians to address ACEs through screening and community-building. Since there is currently no guideline for how to address ACEs, it’s important to use available literature to guide professional practice when considering how and when to screen for and address ACEs. At this time, evidence suggests ACE screening should occur routinely in the primary care setting. Previously held beliefs about the amount of clinician training required to have ACE conversations were prohibitive to the practice of screening and following up on the questionnaire. The evidence also indicates these misconceptions are contrary to patient preference: patients want to be asked about ACEs.

Course Format


Course Syllabus

  • Introduction
  • The Adverse Childhood Experience Study
  • Public Health Approach
  • Neurophysiology of ACEs
  • Mitigating the Physiologic Effects of ACEs
    • Clinician and Patient Concerns
  • Clinician Training
  • Screening
  • United States Healthcare System and ACE
  • Summary


Sarah Schulze, MSN, APRN, CPNP

Sarah Schulze is a board certified pediatric nurse practitioner and professional medical content writer. She earned her BSN from Indiana State University and her MSN from University of Illinois at Chicago. In clinical practice as an RN and NP, she has experience in a variety of settings; including critical care, PACU, pediatrics, mental health, and lactation support. She currently owns and operates a private practice providing outpatient mental health services to children and adolescents. As a writer, she has developed content for many CEU courses, medical apps, health education curricula, NCLEX study materials, health blogs, and more.

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