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Kentucky ranks above the national average for children who experience multiple adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), drug overdose, and suicide.  

This month, the CDC and American Public Health Association’s partnership—Communicating for Connection: Strengthening Messaging To Prevent ACEs, Overdose, and Suicide—will be presented during the Kentucky Safety & Prevention Alignment Network’s (KSPAN’s) quarterly meeting on May 26.

“This is a good time for me to say tune in for the presentation by the CDC and APHA and Kentucky-specific presentations at the KSPAN meeting,” said Ashley Bush, DrPH, principal investigator of Kentucky Violence and Injury Prevention Program. “Basically, adversity during childhood — abuse, neglect, and household challenges — increases one’s risk for early substance use initiation, and suicide and overdose in adulthood. Not to mention that growing up in a household with substance use and losing a parent/caregiver to suicide or overdose are ACEs. Unfortunately, ACEs are common and as the number of ACEs increase so does one’s risk for poor physical, mental, and social health outcomes later in life. Kentucky ranks number one for child maltreatment, and above the national average for overdose and suicide, showing the need for resilience building blocks at the individual and community levels starting with Kentucky children.”

Commander Shannon (Kinzie) Lee, MPH, and Mighty Fine will share reflections on the multi-year partnership between the CDC and APHA, created to strategically connect messages that strengthen injury and violence prevention. Lee serves in the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Office of Policy and Partnerships as the center’s lead for strategic partnerships, while Fine is director of the Center for Public Health Practice and Professional Development at the APHA.

Bush said the meeting will feature information, education, best practices, and more regarding injury and violence prevention.

In addition to the CDC and APHA presentation, the quarterly meeting will feature five presentations—Data Story: Lessons Learned from the Opioid Epidemic; CONNECT: Families Building Resilience; the Drug Overdose Prevention Tackle Box, A Guide for Communities; the Status of Adverse Childhood Experiences in Kentucky, Findings from Kentucky Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance; and a FindHelpNow discussion and demonstration.

The general meeting will run virtually from 11:30 a.m. until 4:20 p.m. with a break for lunch. In addition, KSPAN is hosting a pre-meeting training session at 10 a.m. on Question, Persuade, & Refer Training.

To register for the quarterly meeting and/or the QPR training session, visit

For more mental health resources, visit the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Provider Directory at and the Behavioral Health Crisis Prevention and Intervention Resources for Individuals in Kentucky at

If you are in distress and need help or know someone who does, contact the national suicide prevention line at 1-800-273-8255 or 1-888-628-9454 (for Spanish speakers).

KSPAN is the state injury community implementation group of public and private organizations and individuals dedicated to promoting safety and preventing injuries and violence throughout the Commonwealth. KSPAN is free to join; visit to learn more.

KSPAN is part of the Kentucky Violence and Injury Prevention Program, which is based at the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC). KIPRC is a unique partnership between the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) and the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health. KIPRC serves both as an academic injury prevention research center and as a bona fide agent of DPH for statewide injury prevention and control.