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Keynote Speaker

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, MD, MPH, FAAP

Founder of Center for Youth Wellness & Former Surgeon General of California 

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris roundDr. Nadine Burke Harris is an award-winning physician, researcher, and public health leader who has spent her career on the front lines of some of our world’s most pressing public health challenges. As California’s first-ever Surgeon General, she helped guide the state’s COVID response, co-chairing the committee to recommend vaccine allocation and helping California achieve the lowest cumulative mortality of any large state. Amid the throes of the COVID pandemic, Dr. Burke Harris successfully launched a first-in-the-nation statewide effort to train over 20,000 primary care providers on how to screen for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and respond with trauma-informed care. 

Dr. Burke Harris’ career has been dedicated to serving vulnerable communities and combating the root causes of health disparities. After completing her MPH at Harvard and residency at Stanford, she founded a clinic in one of San Francisco’s most underserved communities, Bayview Hunters Point. It was there that Burke Harris identified Adverse Childhood Experiences as a major risk factor affecting the health of her patients and applied research from the CDC and Kaiser Permanente to develop a novel clinical screening protocol. 

In 2011, she founded the Center for Youth Wellness to advance pediatric medicine, raise public awareness, and transform the way society responds to children exposed to ACEs and toxic stress. In this role, she founded the Bay Area Research Consortium on Toxic Stress and Health and led the first-ever randomized-controlled trial to validate ACE screening and assess treatment of toxic stress. 

Dr. Burke Harris served as a committee member and co-author for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for the consensus report Vibrant and Health Kids: Aligning Science, Practice and Policy to Advance Health Equity, published in 2019; and as a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ National Advisory Board for Screening. 

Her work has been profiled in best-selling books including How Children Succeed by Paul Tough and Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance as well as in Jamie Redford’s feature film, Resilience. She has also been featured on NPR, CNN, and Fox News as well as in USA Today and the New York Times. Dr. Burke Harris’ TED Talk, “How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across the Lifetime” has been viewed more than 10 million times. Her book The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity was called “indispensable” by The New York Times

Dr. Burke Harris is the recipient of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award presented by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Heinz Award for the Human Condition. She was named one of 2018’s Most Influential Women in Business by the San Francisco Business Times and as one of Capitol Weekly’s Top 100 most influential people in 2020. 


Dr. Nadine Burke Harris will present her Keynote Address at the Lunch General Session on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, 12:30pm-1:30pm in the Palm Springs Convention Center. 

Do you have a relevant and thoughtful question for Dr. Nadine Burke Harris? Help guide and shape the community conversation. Submit your question here

Meet the Authors

The Deepest Well Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

Dr. Burke Harris will also be participating in our Meet the Authors event on Wednesday, May 1st at the BOOST Collaborative booth in the Exhibit Hall. You can pre-purchase her book in your online account. Her books will NOT be available for sale during the conference. Please make sure to pre-order your book in your online account before April 1st. 

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris was already known as a crusading physician delivering targeted care to vulnerable children. But it was Diego—a boy who had stopped growing after a sexual assault—who galvanized her journey to uncover the connections between toxic stress and lifelong illnesses.

The stunning news of Burke Harris’s research is just how deeply our bodies can be imprinted by ACEs—adverse childhood experiences like abuse, neglect, parental addiction, mental illness, and divorce. Childhood adversity changes our biological systems and lasts a lifetime. For anyone who has faced a difficult childhood, or who cares about the millions of children who do, the fascinating scientific insight and innovative, acclaimed health interventions in The Deepest Well represent vitally important hope for preventing lifelong illness for those we love and for generations to come​.


BOOST is proud to bring prominent experts, researchers, and leaders to our General Sessions. We have created a useful guide to support your learning prior to attending the BOOST Conference. Download our guide on How to Educate Your Team on Dr. Nadine Burke Harris and share these with your team so you know what to expect from our 2024 BOOST Conference Keynote Speaker.

Click the image to download.

How to educate your team on Dr. Nadine Burke Harris 2024


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