Robert Anda, MD, MS

Dr. Robert (Rob) Anda graduated from Rush Medical College in 1979 and received his board certification in internal medicine in 1982. In 1984 he completed a fellowship in preventive medicine at the University of Wisconsin, received a Masters Degree in epidemiology, and was accepted into the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. He conducted research in disease surveillance, behavioral health, mental health and disease, cardiovascular disease, psychosocial origins of health-risk behaviors, and childhood determinants of health.

In the early 1990’s, Rob began a collaboration with Dr. Vincent Felitti at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego to investigate child abuse as an underlying cause of medical, social, and public health problems. This effort lead to a large-scale study funded by the CDC to track the effects of childhood trauma on health throughout the lifespan. They called it the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study). Rob played a principal role in the design of the study, and serves as its co-principal investigator and co-founder.

Data collected from more than 17,000 patients clearly showed that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), were common; that they had a profound negative effect on health and well-being; and were a prime determinant of the past, current and future health behaviors, social problems, disease incidence, and early death in the study population. These findings have resulted in more than 70 publications in major medical and public health journals. The ideas from this work are now influencing the design of similar research around the world.

Findings from the ACE Study have been presented at Congressional Briefings and numerous conferences around the world.  The ACE Study is being replicated in numerous countries by the World Health Organization (WHO), and is in use to assess the childhood origins of health and social problems in more than 18 U.S. states.

For 10 years Rob was a senior scientific consultant for the CDC in Atlanta, but his time is increasingly devoted to traveling the nation to consult and speak with leaders in public health, medicine, corrections, judicial and social service systems and with local, state, national, and international organizations about the ACE Study. He is showing how its findings are useful to inform programs, policy, and legislation to prevent disease and disability.

Rob is the author of more than 200 publications, including numerous government publications, and book chapters, and has received numerous awards and recognition for scientific achievements. He has appeared in national newspapers and television networks and is frequently invited to speak about the ACE Study and his experiences around the country working on applications of ACE Study concepts.

He and his work are highlighted in the documentary “Resilience” by Jamie Redford that was accepted to the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and is now being shown across the nation.

Rob makes his home in Atlanta, GA.

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