Reach Out and Read Medical Leadership

The Reach Out and Read Medical Leadership network unites clinicians across the country who are deeply involved with Reach Out and Read, going beyond implementation of the model. This group of medical leaders can explore timely news, training, resources and research, plus opportunities — based on individual interest and expertise — to engage with the National office to support and guide Reach Out and Read.

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Interested in engaging with clinicians across the Reach Out and Read network? Learn what’s happening in their exam rooms, read thoughts on research and news, share your own exam room experiences, and so much more in the the quarterly Medical Leadership Newsletter. Click here to join the list!

Plus: Find additional engagement opportunities, like training and research, below.

Latest News

Keep up to date on new research and news!

Our team — in collaboration with Medical Leadership — will add news to this section biweekly. Find new articles here, share them with colleagues and peers, and even contribute your own thoughts.

You can submit your reflection or commentary on one of these articles here. Each quarter, we’ll use one in our Medical Leadership Newsletter.

Positive Childhood Experiences and Adult Mental and Relational Health in a Statewide Sample

A new critical study on positive childhood experiences (PCEs) was published this month in JAMA Pediatrics. Author Christina Bethell, who showed in 2019 that PCEs mitigated the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences, demonstrated that adults who self-report more PCEs have a lower likelihood of clinical depression or poor adult mental health and a higher probability of healthy adulthood interpersonal relationships.

A good review, and a link to the paper is here.

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Mothers speak less to infants during detected real-world phone use

This study examined the impact of maternal phone use on speech to infants by analyzing 16,673 minutes of real-world data from 16 mother-infant pairs. Findings showed that maternal phone use was associated with a 16% decrease in speech to infants, with even shorter phone use intervals leading to a 26% decrease, emphasizing the importance of minimizing phone distractions to support infant language development.

Read the complete research here.

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Prevalence of Positive Childhood Experiences Among Adults – Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Four States, 2015-2021

MMWR Prevalence of Positive Childhood Experiences Among Adults – Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Four States, 2015-2021. Sege R, Swedo EA, Burstein D, Aslam MV, Jones J, Bethell C, Niolon PH.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2024 May 2;73(17):399-404. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7317a3

It has been four years since Christina Bethell, PhD, published her groundbreaking paper in JAMA Pediatrics examining the effects of positive childhood experiences (PCE) in >6000 adults. Among the questions analyzed were: Before the age of 18, I was …

— Able to talk with my family about my feelings?
— Felt that my family stood by me during difficult times?
— Enjoyed participating in community traditions?
— Felt a sense of belonging in high school?
— Felt supported by friends?
— Had at least two non-parent adults who took a genuine interest in me?
— Felt safe and protected by an adult in my home?

The risk of depression/mental health issues dropped by 72% among adults who reported six or seven PCEs and by 50% for those reporting three to five. Adversity alone does not equal poor outcomes. Children’s experience of safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments promotes healthy child development and later adult mental and relational health, buffering the effects of ACEs. Reach Out and Read is an integral component of that buffering effect.

Dr. Bethell and collaborators have continued their work and just published in MMWR, the largest population-based assessment of PCEs among U.S. adults, aggregating data from 24,893 respondents in four states (KS, MT, SC, WI). This study analyzed BRFSS (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System) data that included the same PCE questions listed above. Approximately 53% of adults reported six to seven PCEs; 12.2% reported two or fewer. Fewer African American (49.2%), Alaska Native or American Indian (37.7%), and Latino (38.9%) respondents reported six to seven PCEs than White respondents (55.2%). Gay or lesbian (38%) and bisexual (27%) respondents were less likely to report six to seven PCEs than straight adults (54.7%). A PCE score of six to seven was more frequent among persons with higher income and higher education, showing a dose-response relationship between how many positive experiences adults reported and their mental and relational health as well as their economic and educational outcomes.

Reach Out and Read can play a significant role in bridging — and hopefully reducing health inequities — by impacting the number of PCEs through fostering a closer relationship between parents and children. We need to advocate for those policies that support all families as Reach Out and Read is an integral part of the solution.

Read the complete study here.

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Positive Childhood Experiences and Adult Mental and Relational Health in a Statewide Sample
Mothers speak less to infants during detected real-world phone use
Prevalence of Positive Childhood Experiences Among Adults – Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Four States, 2015-2021
Training Opportunities
Interested in expanding your Reach Out and Read practice beyond Core Training? Learn more at the link below.
Research
Reach Out and Read conducts research that shines a light on the positive outcomes of delivery of our model and reveals new areas where we can benefit young children, their families, and our network.
News Archive
Want to review a previously shared article? Did you miss our biweekly update? Find all of our previous articles archived here.
Reach Out and Read Podcast
Among all the great podcast episodes, you’ll find bimonthly Science Sessions that highlight additional research.
Clinician Spotlight
Get to know our Medical Leadership community! We’ll highlight work, recognize partnership, and share their passion for Reach Out and Read.
From My Exam
Room To Yours
Our model keeps us united! Hear directly from clinicians, reflecting on their Reach Out and Read practice.