The JPB Research Network on Toxic Stress has just released its seminal article on using biological measures of adversity as a guide for pediatric practice. The JPB Research Network on Toxic Stress is a project from the Center on the Developing Child, based at Harvard University, whose central mission is to develop measures for a "new era in early childhood policy and practice". Dr. Patricia Silveira was invited to join the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child in 2019, and shares her thoughts on the exciting new publication.
The paper, published as a Special Article in the journal Pediatrics, is entitled, "Translating the Biology of Adversity and Resilience Into New Measures for Pediatric Practice," and was published in June 2022. This article presents a foundational framework for incorporating biological measures of stress activation into primary care for young children and a call to action for the entire pediatric community (including clinicians, researchers, and medical educators) to focus on the critical need for enhanced measurement capacity to address adversity and resilience in young children.
"I am part of the JPB Research Network on Toxic Stress, a project from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, and the work from my lab is quite central to the initiative." — Dr. Silveira
In this article, the authors identify biological measures of stress response that can be used to inform pediatric practice and discuss the limitations and benefits of adopting such practices. In particular if used correctly, in the context of a trusted relationship between caregivers and clinicians, the battery of measures described has the real potential to transform the role and scope of pediatric practice.
Particular highlights in the article are:
- Increased attention must be paid to the potential of validated markers of stress activation and resilience
- Widespread education and proactive discussions are needed around the opportunities and challenges of using biological markers of stress
- Community-based programs must be aligned within an integrated system of services for children and families
- Resilience and treatment effects must be adequately documented
- Behavioral indicators of stress and resilience must be combined with contextual information about family and community
- Child health care should be considered as an integral part of a larger, multi-sector early childhood ecosystem
"I am very proud to be part of this group of authors composed by giants in the field of child development (Jack Shonkoff, Tom Boyce, Megan Gunnar, Takao Hensch, Pat Levitt, Michael Meaney, Charles Nelson, Nicole Bush, Natalie Slopen, David Williams). " — Dr. Silveira
Congratulations to Dr. Silveira and her colleagues!