Governor Gavin Newsom recently appointed Nadine Burke Harris as the state’s first surgeon general. Dr. Burke Harris was sworn in on February 11. She is a physician and a “pioneering leader in the field of toxic stress and health,” according to The California Health Report. She is the founder of San Francisco’s Center for Youth Wellness, which is working with pediatric clinics through the U.S. to develop best practices for screening and treating children who are at risk for toxic stress. She is a national leader in pediatric health and trauma.
As the new surgeon general, Dr. Burke Harris will focus on combating the root cause of health conditions caused by early childhood trauma, while urging policymakers and leaders to consider the risks of toxic stress. Research has shown that abuse, exposure to violence, and other traumas can severely damage children’s growing brains, affecting their hormones and immune systems. This puts these children at risk for further health complications and heightens their risk for chronic illness in adulthood.
The appointment of Dr. Burke Harris signals Governor Newsom’s plan to fight poverty and its implications for our children by taking serious measures to combat the dangers of childhood trauma at its core.
If you are curious to learn more about the work of Nadine Burke Harris, you can view her TedTalk below.