SUNY Poly Awarded $20,000 to Combat Adverse Childhood

SUNY Poly Awarded $20,000 to Combat Adverse Childhood

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - 12:33
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Faculty, Students to create PSAs, website with NYS Department of Health Funding

UTICA, NY – SUNY Polytechnic Institute today announced it has been awarded $20,000 by the New York State Department of Health (DoH) for an innovative community outreach project to raise awareness and combat the longstanding effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). ACEs were the subject of an intense study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are considered events or experiences such as physical or emotional abuse, divorce or depression. The study found that ACEs can have a dramatic impact on the future health and well-being of children. SUNY Poly’s outreach project, funded through the DoH Population Health Improvement Program, was developed by Psychology Professor Dr. Joanne Joseph and will create public service announcements (PSAs) and a website to promote awareness about ACEs and prevention through positive parenting.

“Dr. Joseph and the ACEs project are a wonderful example of SUNY Poly’s commitment to bettering its communities through education. The award from DoH enables us to provide important information far beyond our campus that can have a positive effect on children and families,” said Dr. Robert Geer, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for SUNY Poly. “We congratulate Dr. Joseph on this award and applaud her continued dedication to our institution, our students and our entire community.”

“This project is a great example of what makes the people of SUNY Poly so special – application of their expertise to solving community problems,” said Dr. William Durgin, SUNY Poly Provost. “This award will help Dr. Joseph and her students at SUNY Poly continue to lead the way when it comes to putting their talents, skills, and expertise to use in a hands-on way that will make a difference in the lives of many. She inspires by doing and this award is certainly a testament to how much she is doing.”

Studies continue to demonstrate the connection between ACEs and risks for various physical complications in adulthood. As such, state and federal agencies are working to address ACEs, which are estimated to account for 30% of healthcare costs.

The key “experiences” that have been identified include physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, an incarcerated parent, death or divorce of a parent, sexual abuse, mental health issues for a parent, physical health issues for a parent, substance abuse, and domestic abuse. If a child, especially during their formative years, is subjected to three or more of these ACEs, studies show an increased risk of physical as well as mental complications in adulthood.

“These adverse childhood experiences have the potential for dis-regulating the stress hormones and when those are dis-regulated, it affects the immune system, the metabolic system, and it affects the cardiac system,” explained Dr. Joseph, who has also served as both chair and co-chair for the Oneida County STOP-ACES Committee over the past decade. “As a result, people who have been exposed to these ACEs at high doses are at much greater risks for diabetes, cardiac difficulties, and various forms of cancer, as well as increasing risk for depression, addiction, suicide, and a host of mental health issues. Therefore the primary focus of this project will be prevention, because once the damage is done you cannot always reverse the effects.”

SUNY Poly will lead the project and create the content of the PSAs and website, with students playing an active role through service-based learning projects. Utica-based business ProMedia will partner with SUNY Poly on technical production elements.

“This proposal was selected based upon its relevance to the triple aim of the Population Health Improvement Program, which is to improve overall population health by improving healthcare to lower overall healthcare costs,” said Jane Vail, Vice President of Central New York Health Home Network, which distributed the award funding. “It is our hope that the project will help prevent the development of chronic medical and mental health conditions correlated with ACEs and mitigate the negative impacts as a result of ACE overall.”


SUNY Polytechnic Institute. SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem, formed from the merger of the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and SUNY Institute of Technology. SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering, as well as cutting-edge nanobioscience and nanoeconomics programs at its Albany location and undergraduate and graduate degrees in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies; professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing; and arts and sciences, including natural sciences, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences at its Utica/Rome location. Thriving athletic, recreational, and cultural programs, events, and activities complement the campus experience. As the world’s most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY Poly boasts more than $43 billion in high-tech investments and over 300 corporate partners. For information visit and

Media Contact: Jerry Gretzinger, Vice President of Strategic Communications and Public Relations (518) 956-7359 |