As a mother and a pediatrician, I am deeply passionate about children’s education and health. By health, I mean much more than simply physical health. Health includes mental wellbeing, social wellbeing, and overall happiness for your child. Reach Out and Read Georgia give books that cater to children’s ethnicity and language in addition to English, and it is our mission to make reading and learning part of daily routines. By advocating about books to a young family, we are encouraging well child checkups, family structure and routine, introduction to unfamiliar words, colors, and much more. As someone who was involved with Reach Out and Read Georgia as a resident, and now in the role of Medical Engagement Director, I cannot stress enough the importance of training the next generation of pediatricians.
We are grateful to the James M. Cox Family Foundation for their multi year investment launching our Prescription for Success Initiative which focuses on training residents. We have created and delivered trainings connecting with every residency program in Georgia. We are grateful for the support of the James M. Cox Family Foundation in helping us prepare the next generation of pediatricians with the skills they need to increase their level of understanding about the science of early brain development, and why starting early leads to improved outcomes.
As we all navigated a new normal, due to the pandemic, one silver lining has been the opportunity to virtually connect with our partners, pediatricians, home visitors, volunteers, and engage with our colleagues across the country. These virtual sessions give us the opportunity to and come together to imagine ways we can best support our families, discuss programmatic touch points as well as provide technical support.
To quote Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” If we train our young residents and physicians the importance of simply prescribing books with each visit and offering advice and guidance to parents, reading becomes a lifelong passion and routines become habit all of which will benefit young children and their families.