Aetna Hosts Summit To Address The Effects Of Child Abuse


Aetna Hosts Summit To Address The Effects Of Child Abuse

HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- According to the US Department of Justice, more than 700,000 children are victims of child abuse and neglect each year in the United States. As the issue of child maltreatment continues to grow, Aetna (NYSE: AET) hosted a thought leadership summit to address the long and short-term effects of child abuse. Also included, were discussions around the significant impact child abuse can have on mental and physical health. The summit involved leaders from Aetna; the Commissioner of Philadelphia Department of Human Services; and the Director of Lawyers for Children America.

"Research shows when traumatic events take place during one's childhood, he or she is more likely to experience health complications during adulthood," said Mark Friedlander, M.D., M.B.A., chief medical officer of Aetna Behavioral Health and child and adolescent psychiatrist. "Such complications include coronary artery disease; chronic pulmonary disease; cancer; alcoholism; depression; drug abuse and teen pregnancies. These individuals are also at a higher risk for other health concerns such as obesity; physical inactivity; and smoking."

According to the National Child Abuse Coalition, child abuse and child neglect result in about $103 billion in annual health costs. The goal of the summit was to address such costs and the correlated issues that result from child maltreatment. Summit leaders also explored the roles, responsibilities and capabilities of health care organizations related to helping individuals and employers understand the overall impact of child abuse and neglect.

The health and well-being of an adult can be altered when traumatic experiences take place during early childhood development. Some examples of trauma include emotional or physical abuse/neglect; sexual abuse; drug addiction; alcoholism; mentally ill or incarcerated family member; loss of parent due to death, divorce or abandonment; or witnessing domestic violence.

"Untreated child abuse has been associated with a variety of psychiatric and medical issues that can persist over many years," said Roomana Sheikh, M.D., Aetna medical director and child and adolescent psychiatrist. "In fact, research shows adults with a history of hostile childhood experiences have an overall lower health status; poorer educational and occupational outcomes; and difficulties in interpersonal relationships, especially intimate relationships."

Aetna continues to educate health care professionals of both the physical and emotional consequences that result from child abuse and maltreatment. Aetna is currently working to improve the effects by:

  • Promoting treatment approaches that focus on well-being; resiliency; social confidence; self-management skills; and building healthy relationships.

  • Working with community leaders on various pilot programs.

  • Collaborating internally within Aetna to handle sensitive or complex member situations.

  • Teaming up with organizations such as the Department of Human Services; Child Protective Services; and other local and state agencies.

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.7 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services and health information technology services. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see

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