We Need to Recognize Toxic Stress as a Health Condition with Clinical Implications


Toxic stress is a health condition with clinical implications

There is a common health condition with serious medical consequences that has not been nationally recognized by the medical or public health community—toxic stress response. Toxic stress is the body’s response to prolonged trauma─like abuse or discrimination─with no support. It can harm lifelong mental, physical, and behavioral health, especially for Latinos and others of color. But few, if any, clinical treatment guidelines have strategies for mitigating the toxic stress response. That’s why Dr. Nadine Burke Harris’ Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General’s Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress, and Health wants California and others to recognize and respond to toxic stress as a health condition with clinical implications. “We ...

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Toxic Stress and its Lifelong Health Consequences


Toxic stress is a health crisis

Toxic stress is brought about by repeated stressful and traumatic experiences with no supportive relationships. This is causing huge mental and physical health problems for people across the nation, including Latinos and other people of color. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris even calls toxic stress a public health crisis. This is why she authored the Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General’s Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress, and Health. “We now understand that a key mechanism by which ACEs [adverse childhood experiences, such as divorce, abuse, poverty, etc.] lead to increased health risks is through a health condition called the toxic stress response,” Burke Harris’ roadmap states. Salud America! is exploring this issue as part of its ...

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Study: Latino, Black Physicians Experience Racial Discrimination and Bias from Patients



More than 40% of Latino and Black resident physicians experience racial discrimination and bias from the patients they serve, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open. The experiences range from explicit racial epithets to a patient’s refusal of care. And on top of that, most physicians (84%) do not report the incidents to their leadership. “To address the issue of biased patient behavior, interventions are needed at the institutional and interpersonal levels,” according to researchers Shalila de Bourmont, Arun Burra, Sarah Nouri, et al. Racial discrimination and implicit bias must be addressed. What the JAMA Study Showed about Bias and Discrimination The study conducted by de Bourmont, Burra, Nouri et al. surveyed 232 internal medicine residents from three ...

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11 Crucial Insights from the First Roadmap to Address Toxic Stress


Crucial Insights from the First Roadmap to Address Toxic Stress

Stress can happen for many reasons. Abuse. Discrimination. Poverty. But when the human body’s response to stressful situations is activated too frequently or intensely without supportive relationships, stress becomes more than “just stress.” It becomes “toxic stress.” And toxic stress can harm your brain, body, and behavior, and increase lifelong risk for disease, especially for Latinos and other people of color. Fortunately, we can address and even prevent toxic stress. The new Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General’s Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress, and Health is the nation’s first guide to address toxic stress by cutting a main cause─adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)─in half in a generation. We at Salud ...

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Cheryl Aguilar: Providing Mental Health Support to Families with Immigration Trauma



Immigration is difficult and often traumatic. People who immigrate to the U.S. often face a dangerous journey only to be met with aggression and xenophobia at the border. It can lead to loss of hope, anxiety, depression, and even suicide. Cheryl Aguilar wants to help families experiencing the trauma of immigration and adjusting to new life in the U.S. Aguilar immigrated from Honduras as a teenager, an experience that helped guide her to give back to immigrant communities. Aguilar is a clinical social worker and founding director and therapist at the Hope Center for Wellness. “As a therapist, one of the things that I do is help individuals, families, and communities heal from whatever distress, trauma, or experiences they might have encountered. I believe in holistic healing, ...

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President-Elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet Boasts Diversity, Minority Representation


biden diverse cabinet

When Joe Biden takes the presidential office on Jan. 20, 2021, he’ll bring cabinet members from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life. Biden’s cabinet is the most diverse presidential cabinet in history. There are more people of color and women than any previous cabinet and also has LGBTQ and Native American representation. Why does this matter? Having diverse government leaders can lead to more inclusive and equitable policies. Let’s take a look at who is joining Biden’s diverse cabinet. Who are the Latinos in Biden’s Cabinet? Biden will have several Latinos in cabinet positions, bringing representation to an area in government that has historically been predominately white. Some of the Latino politicians joining Biden’s cabinet are Alejandro ...

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In New Class Oaths, Medical Students Commit to Fight Racial Injustices


University of Houston College of Medicine Class of 2024 student reciting their oath. Source: University of Houston

In medical schools across the country, students in medical, nursing, and physician assistant programs participate in a ritual known as the white coat ceremony. This signifies the beginning of their journeys to achieve the long white lab coat, a well-recognized symbol of respect and professionalism. During the ceremony, students receive a short white lab coat and recite a class oath or pledge, acknowledging their obligation to compassion and scientific excellence as health care providers. Incoming students often write their own class oaths. This year, amid a civil rights movement protesting police brutality and global health pandemic, students at two medical schools stand out for writing class oaths that acknowledge racism’s impact on public health. These new oaths call for ...

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4 Reasons to Think Structuralist, Instead of Individualist, to Improve Health Equity



Every person is a unique individual. But if you look closely, you’ll see each person lives, learns, works, and plays within social and environmental conditions that influence their individual health and wealth. Some people face health barriers because of structural and systemic policies that curb their access to quality housing, transportation, medical care, food, jobs, schools, parks and other social determinants. Individuals have no choice when it comes to these structural health barriers. “Despite the tremendous, lifelong impact of our community conditions on our health, we focus most of our energy and resources on treating the outcomes of these problems but lack the essential urgency for attacking the root causes of poor health,” according to Brian C. Castrucci, Dr. ...

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