Branding the California Surgeon General’s Initiative to Support Screening for ACEs

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In 2020, led by California’s first Surgeon General, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, legislation was passed to support screening by Medi-Cal providers for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), categories that are “strongly associated with some of the most common and serious health conditions facing society today.” Dr. Burke-Harris’s team needed a website to support the new initiative: one that was flexible and scalable enough to grow and change with the project’s evolving needs.

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“Every child deserves a happy childhood. The ACEs Aware initiative is a first-in-the nation effort to screen patients for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to help improve and save lives.”

—Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, Surgeon General of California

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The Need to Educate Providers

The communications team supporting the initiative needed to educate providers new to ACEs testing, drive them to the ACEs training web software, and keep them updated with evolving news and professional development. The audience for the site was large and diverse. Time with the key stakeholder, the Surgeon General, was extremely limited, so the team needed to show extra foresight in its strategy and development processes.


Establishing the Brand

Project6 coined the initiative name ACEs Aware and designed a logo and brand palette that addressed the primary audiences of medical providers and clinicians as well as a secondary audience of parents, caregivers, and community leaders. We crafted website architecture that supported three areas of the initiative while still driving the user to the training link. The WordPress site was optimized for mobile, built to an AA accessibility level, and designed for ease of maintenance by the ACEs team.


A Successful Campaign

The responsive, accessible ACEs Aware website conveys a confident, serious, yet positive tone, in line with the initiative’s goals and messaging. Since its launch, the site has evolved to include new features, including monthly events, archived video, a blog, and resource listings, to support the growth of the initiative, which has been featured in the New York Times. The ACEs Aware site continues to attract a steady stream of providers who have registered for training or signed up to be notified of webinars and articles—the first steps toward cultivating a practice intended ultimately to improve the health and well-being of millions.