Past President of the American Academy of Pediatrics (2018) Colleen Kraft is best known for her advocacy for humane treatment of migrant children at the border. Her work to explain to the public the harms to young children caused by the “zero tolerance” policy, which included separation of children from parents, helped to mobilize advocates across the political spectrum to end this policy.
Kraft will discuss the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the fight for the rights and health of children throughout the world. Since a landmark 1998 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, research has confirmed the relationship between adversity in childhood and higher levels of morbidity and mortality in adulthood, and uncovered the connections between the two at molecular, behavioral, and societal levels. The devastating effects of emotional trauma and toxic stress in children are nowhere more evident than in the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.