Published: January 2018
A pioneering physician reveals how childhood stress leads to lifelong health problems and what we can do to break the cycle.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris was already known as an innovative, crusading physician delivering targeted care to vulnerable children. But it was her patient Diego - a boy who had stopped growing four years earlier after a sexual trauma - who galvanized her to dig deeper into the connections between toxic stress and the lifelong illnesses she was tracking among so many of her patients and their families. A survey of more than 17,000 adult patients' Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, like divorce, substance abuse, or neglect, had proved that the higher a person's ACE score the worse their health - and now led Burke Harris to an astonishing breakthrough. Childhood stress changes our neural systems and lasts a lifetime.
Through storytelling that delivers both scientific insight and moving stories of personal impact, Burke Harris illuminates her journey of discovery, from innovative research labs nationwide to her own pediatric practice in San Francisco's poverty-ridden Bayview, Hunters Point.
For anyone who has faced a difficult childhood, or who cares about the millions of children who do, the innovative and acclaimed health interventions outlined in The Deepest Well will represent vitally important hope for change.
PRAISE FOR THE DEEPEST WELL
"This ultra-smart and compassionate book delivers revelations about what is really going on-in our bodies, in our families, in our communities-as a result of childhood toxic stress, as well as targeted solutions for individual healing." Ashley Judd
In this powerful debut, the author describes the medical research and recalls her own frontline experiences as a pioneer in the treatment of toxic stress as CEO of San Francisco's Center for Youth Wellness, which offers multidisciplinary care for children suffering from trauma... In a winning conversational style... This important and compassionate book further sounds the alarm over childhood trauma-and what can be done to remedy its effects." Kirkus Reviews
"The Deepest Well is a rousing wake-up call, challenging us to reimagine pressing questions of racial and social justice as matters of public health. The research and stories shared in this highly engaging, provocative book prove beyond a reasonable doubt that millions of lives depend on us finally coming to terms with the long-term consequences of childhood adversity and toxic stress." Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow