Financing Mechanisms for Reducing Adversity and Enhancing Resilience Through Implementation of Primary Prevention

Sarah M. Steverman, David L. Shern

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


The experience of adversity and toxic stress in childhood is associated with the development of chronic health and behavioral health problems. These problems contribute substantially to health care expenditures and the overall burden of disease. Although a strong scientific literature documents the effectiveness of primary prevention in reducing childhood adversity, promoting well-being and lessening the incidence of negative outcomes, funding for these interventions is highly fragmented across multiple government agencies as well as private and philanthropic sectors. It is becoming increasingly clear that improving population health will require a concentrated public health effort to improve access to and the accountability of these interventions as well as the development of novel financing schemes. In this perspective we review existing financing mechanisms for funding interventions known to reduce adverse childhood experiences and discuss innovative financing approaches that use insurance as well as pay-for-success funding mechanisms. The latter require that cost savings associated with primary prevention be quantified and that these savings be used to offset program costs, sometimes with a return on investment for private investors. We provide a series of recommendations regarding better coordination and strategic oversight of existing resources as well as the need to further develop and validate methodologies for estimating the societal costs and benefits associated with the varying social policies that are designed to ameliorate the effects of adversity and to build resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S144-S149
JournalAcademic pediatrics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • adverse childhood experiences
  • adversity
  • financing
  • prevention
  • societal costs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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