BHeC backs study of childhood experiences
The Bermuda Health Council is announcing a 2019 research collaboration with The Family Centre, a Bermuda charity.
To enhance the delivery of health services and better understand social determinants of health here in Bermuda, the Health Council will be providing the Family Centre with analytics and data reporting support for an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study. This technical support comes on the heels of the Health Council completing analytics for charities focused on specific diseases, like asthma, and survey development for the Bermuda charity, SCARS. Evidence-based policies are important in Bermuda, and the Health Council seeks to support projects that increase the richness of the data sets available on the island.
The ACE study, which will be conducted for the first time in Bermuda, is a validated research tool that has been a standard used globally. The experiences measured in the survey may include the absence of a parent, neglect, various types of abuse, use of narcotics, or witnessing domestic violence. Dr. Stephanie Guthman, Director of Specialised Training & Assessment from the Family Centre introduced the ACE conference in Bermuda for the first-time last year and is pleased the Bermuda Health Council will collaborate on the ACE study. “The aim of the study is to collect local information about adverse childhood experiences and different mental or physical health outcomes”, said Dr. Guthman. In other jurisdictions, an increase in adverse childhood experiences has been shown to be associated with an increased risk for developing chronic mental and physical conditions, later in life. That risk is much higher when multiple types of adverse childhood experiences were reported. As the growth of chronic conditions put a strain on health system resources and impact the local economy, reducing risks to these conditions through prevention is a priority.
Upon the publication of survey results, the Health Council will use the information gained to
coordinate with other system stakeholders like psychologists, physicians, and social workers to promote change in Bermuda. These collaborations should yield key recommendations for our communities to combat the growing links between childhood experience and adult risk. The investment in this kind of research is essential for making more effective policy decisions in support of a more cost-effective and affordable health system.
A spokesperson from the Health Council stated: “Sharing our resources in support of research is one of the ways the Health Council works to enhance the health system in Bermuda. By developing a more comprehensive evidence-base, our communities can provide better tools for challenging social and health issues. We are happy to provide this technical support to the Family Centre for this exciting research as they continue to offer early intervention services for children who are experiencing emotional challenges, thereby creating a positive ripple effect for the future.”
To take the survey, please visit the Family Centre's website at www.tfc.bm.
• Press release from the Bermuda Health Council