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Moving the Needle on Health Screenings

The Challenge

Since the health impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) were identified in the mid 1990’s, children’s health care providers have been screening children to ensure that they are getting the best care to meet their needs. In 2020, San Mateo County had the lowest rate of ACEs screenings of any county in California. First 5 San Mateo County and the Health Plan of San Mateo received an ACEs Aware grant to support ACEs outreach, and partnered with VIVA to develop messaging and communications to reach healthcare providers and families with the importance of ACEs screenings. ACEs screenings are an important part of providing children with informed healthcare, but lack of awareness and difficulty establishing systems for screening within busy practices posed barriers. 

How can we mobilize busy health care professionals to add the step of screening for ACEs to their routine care process? 


The Approach

We went straight to the source: providers who are doing the screening, to develop an informational video using a human-centered storytelling approach. We connected with providers on Zoom, using informal, personable calls to create a sense of familiarity and conversation, as they discussed the positive impact ACEs screenings have had in their practices. The result was a heartfelt video that highlights the benefits of ACEs screenings through both data and lived experiences. The video was distributed through a network of newsletters, including the Stanford University provider newsletter, with a great response. 



The initial video garnered such a good reaction that we decided to pursue ACEs screenings from both sides of the issue. We created shorter videos for a parent audience in four languages encouraging parents to ask for ACEs screenings as well. These videos were distributed on social media to reach parents and families throughout the county. 




ACEs screenings, which were among the lowest in the state (<1,000), increased by more than 4,000 screenings during the course of the campaign.