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Interview
Dr. Nadine Burke

Transforming Pediatric Care with Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

Science has now proven that health/behavioral conditions are directly correlated to a wide variety of adverse childhood experiences such as neglect, abuse, drug abuse and mental illness.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is an American pediatrician and the author of The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity. Having founded The Center for Youth Wellness in San Francisco, she is attempting to engage and educate a wider audience. With over 400 speaking engagements this year, and a TED Talk with over 3 million views, she is spreading awareness to change the treatment protocol for children all over the world.

The inspiration for writing your new book…

My new book, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity, was inspired by my experiences with my pediatric patients. I observed that many had been treated by pediatricians who did not have solutions for their various disorders. Often, they had been sent home with medications and supplements that clearly were not producing positive outcomes. I began to dig deeper and look for the root causes of these physical problems. Science has now proven that health and behavioral conditions are directly correlated to a wide variety of adverse childhood experiences such as neglect, abuse, drug abuse and mental illness. “Childhood adversity literally gets under our skin – changing our brains and bodies.”

In light of this, I use a screening tool called the “Adverse Childhood Experiences Test” (for children up to 18 years of age).  It is widely known as the “ACEs Test”.  I wrote my book in order to make everyone aware of the long term negative health impact of adverse childhood experiences.

Let’s talk about your Center for Youth Wellness in San Francisco…..

My Center for Youth Wellness is a pediatric clinic where all dimensions of a patient’s life are considered in order to help them.  This of course, includes being screened with the ACEs Test.

Memorable experience with one of your patients…

One of my patients was a little girl who was not growing.  She had been taking nutritional supplements prescribed by her pediatrician, but there had been no positive effect.  I wondered if stress was the cause of the problem and gave her the ACEs Test.  She scored 7 (out of 10)!  This little girl had been impacted by abuse at home. I did an intervention and fortunately, six months of child-parent psychotherapy led to her growing normally again.  She is just one example of the myriad of patients I see whose poor health can be traced to detrimental long term effects of childhood trauma.

Dr Nadine Burke and Child

Your personal wellness routine…

First of all, I make sure I get a really good night’s sleep. Secondly, I exercise on a daily basis.  I love to walk!  Healthy relationships are also essential to my wellness:  one of the most important health decisions a person makes is the partner they choose.  My relationship with my husband is one of the most nourishing parts of my life!

One of the most important health decisions a person makes is the partner they choose.

How do you manage your time with your incredible schedule?

I look at my schedule at the beginning of each week to set my priorities, both personal and professional.  I organize each day into boxes I can check, such as meditating, playing with my children, going on a date with my husband, exercising, and then of course, working.

Favorite lipstick…

MAC Red

Favorite perfume…

La Labo. I travel with a sample collection of ten of their fragrances and use one that suits my mood that day.

Skincare routine…

I cannot live without my Clarisonic! I love Fresh products and use the Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream. I never travel without the Seaberry Hand Cream. It is perfect for dry hands.

Favorite Hair product…

Kiehl’s Superbly Restorative Argan Dry Oil.

Personal Relaxation Routines…

I meditate twice a day. It helps me with problem solving. This is a vital part of my daily routine.

What is your vision for today’s children?

My vision is that every child lives to their fullest potential with regards to health and wellbeing. To do this, all children must have access to routine screening. My goal is to accomplish this in the USA by 2028, and eventually worldwide.

Katie von Strasser

Katie von Strasser is a former ballerina with a background in fashion and art. She is a devoted advocate for people with disabilities. Katie has a passion for travel and all things beautiful.
She resides in San Francisco with her family. (Photo by Darryl Nitke)

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