No. 30: Capitol Weekly’s Top 100

Illustration by Chris Shary for Capitol Weekly.

30. Nadine Burke Harris
Named California’s first-ever Surgeon General in 2019, Nadine Burke Harris has blazed her own path, creating a portfolio for the office that differs widely from the familiar national model. Harris helped pioneer the use of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) screening in her career prior to joining Newsom’s cabinet, and has made the treatment of childhood trauma the focus of her position – and she hit the ground running: In her first year as Surgeon General she led an effort to make ACEs screening universal throughout California, and is credited with getting nearly $100 million set aside in last year’s state budget to cover ACEs screening and to train health care providers to administer those screenings. Harris has said that “social determinants of health are to the 21st century what infectious diseases were to the 20th century,” and believes that universal screening could help cut childhood trauma by 50% in just one generation. If she is correct, that budget investment will be a relative bargain, as the effects of ACEs are estimated to cost Californians over $10 billion per year in health care costs.

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