How toxic stress impacts children: New CME module

The AOA and Erikson Institute collaborate on a third educational module focused on early childhood development.


Toxic stress impacts child development. Having the resources to address it can assist primary care physicians in helping young patients achieve important health care milestones.

Recognizing this, the AOA has partnered with the Erikson Institute to produce continuing medical education modules focused on early childhood development. It recently released a module focused on risk factors and protective resources related to toxic stress in children. This is the third module in a three-part series from the project “All It Takes is H.E.A.R.T.: An Early Childhood Development Initiative.”

The module, available at AOA Online Learning, has been approved for 2 AOA Category 1-B CME credits and provides information that will help clinicians understand the impact of toxic stress on children.

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Physicians, residents, and medical students are eligible for a professional development certificate from the Erikson Institute if they complete all three modules in the series.

Understanding toxic stress

Module 3 of All It Takes is H.E.A.R.T. raises awareness of common sources of toxic stress, their biological impact, and why some families have limited access to education resources. Optimal early development is greatly impacted by adult caregivers, child temperament, and other protective resources that can buffer against risk factors to toxic stress.

This module also educates physicians on the risk factors facing special-needs children and their families, including the impact special-needs children have on their siblings’ development. Clinicians can learn how physicians can enhance protective factors in the lives of special-needs children.

This project promo video shares the basic message of the All It Takes Is H.E.A.R.T. Initiative: that active interaction between children and their parents is critically important to healthy brain development. It's also a resource physicians can share with patients.

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