For the past year, the Department of Family and Community Medicine has implemented a version of a program called Reach Out and Read with great success. In the program, medical providers hand out free books at well-child appointments, which opens the door to discuss the importance of literacy with moms and dads. Reading to a child aids in brain development, social interactions and emotional health, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
It started with two clinics and has since expanded to six because of high interest, says Corinne Gibilterra, program coordinator.
“Reach Out and Read programming in central Pennsylvania has raised the care that children in our area receive and sets us apart from other healthcare providers,” she says. Dr. Julie Radico, psychologist and assistant professor, and Gibilterra are continuing to work to expand the program to all family medicine clinics, an effort that is dependent on the fundraising to provide the books required.
In addition to the effort established by the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Penn State Children’s Hospital has also launched a Reach Out and Read initiative, which has been supported by partners like the Burgess McCormac Foundation, the Franklin H. and Ruth L. Wells Foundation and the Penn State Bookstore. Ongoing support is vital to sustain and expand participation in the program moving forward. If you are interested in supporting Reach Out and Read, visit engage.pennstatehealth.org and select “Give Today,” noting Reach Out and Read in the Comments box.
Clinics currently participating in Reach Out and Read are:
- Penn State Medical Group Fishburn Road
- Penn State Medical Group Nyes Road – Family Medicine I
- Penn State Medical Group Nyes Road – Family Medicine II
- Penn State Medical Group Mount Joy
- Penn State Medical Group Camp Hill – Family Medicine
- Penn State Medical Group Middletown
- Penn State Medical Group Elizabethtown
- Penn State Medical Group Harrisburg
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