A doctor listening to a baby's heartbeat

On May 28, 2019, First 5 San Diego in partnership with the San Diego Foundation had the honor of hosting California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris on her statewide listening tour. Dr. Harris is a nationally recognized pediatrician, the founder and CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point and newly appointed California’s first Surgeon General. Dr. Harris was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsome in his efforts to appoint nationally recognized experts in child development to be key leaders in his administration to help the youngest Californians.

Dr. Harris is a leader in child development and through her experience working in a low-income community of San Francisco, she discovered that high levels of toxic stress affect health across a lifetime. ACEs or Adverse Childhood Experiences is a term used to describe all types of abuse, neglect, and other traumatic experiences that occur under the age of 18. ACE’s have been linked to risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, shorter life expectancy, etc.

During her visit to San Diego she shared with us that her goal is to reduce ACEs by 50% in one generation. Through our programs at First 5 San Diego we are working on this goal as well. The overarching goal of First 5 San Diego is to strengthen the relationships essential for the healthy development of young children. These relationships are embedded in health, learning, family, and community settings or environments.