Childhood trauma spurs toxic stress responses that cause both immediate and long-term physical and emotional harms and can potentially be fatal.

An analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that at least five of the top 10 leading causes of death are associated with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) such as experiencing abuse, witnessing violence or substance abuse in the home and having a parent in jail. Preventing ACEs can reduce heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, diabetes and suicide.

Franciscan Health has partnered with an online community platform, ACEs Connection, to generate awareness, engagement, and discussion regarding childhood adversity. This partnership is a component of Franciscan Health’s awareness initiative to provide community members with free resources to build a self-healing, trauma-informed community. Franciscan Health hopes to educate community members to: “Get Data. Get Trained. Get Involved.”

“Building healthy communities isn’t an activity that happens just during the work day. We wanted to provide a way for residents, professionals, and experts to connect 24 hours a day. This allows more people to join us in our efforts to improve the lives of children and families,” said Kate Hill-Johnson, administrative director of Community Health Improvement for Franciscan Health.

“We now know that adverse childhood experiences have a significant impact on an individual’s future health,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “Preventing traumatic experiences in childhood and initiating key interventions when they do occur will lessen long-term health consequences and benefit the physical and emotional well-being of individuals into adulthood.”

The ACEs Connection platform provides information related to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as abuse or neglect. Resources also address indicators of toxic stress, links between adversity and negative health outcomes later in life, and strategies to build resilience and promote healing in youth, families, and communities. Additionally, the platform engages community members in conversation and shares local events.

On the ACEs Connection platform, Franciscan Health is leading community-specific pages for South Suburban Chicago, Lake County, LaPorte County, Jasper-Newton counties, Tippecanoe County, Montgomery County, South Marion County, Johnson County and Morgan County. These pages allow people to connect with others in their community to share ideas, build partnerships and provide information on local efforts. All can be found by searching.

The platform and resources are free with a username and password. To explore, learn more, or connect with others through the Franciscan Health-led ACEs Connection pages, visit:

For more on the CDC analysis, visit