Message from National Medical Director

By Dr. Perri Klass

July 2024

As we get to the turning of the academic medical year — sending the graduating residents off with congratulations and welcoming the new interns — it’s a nice moment to reflect on our medical imperative, and privilege, of lifelong learning. As we tell the new interns, you’ll always be a teacher and you’ll always be a learner: You’ll go on learning from “the literature,” from your colleagues, from your students, and above all, from your patients.

So September may be back-to-school for the kids we take care of, but July seems like a good moment to celebrate the many ways we go on learning in pediatrics. We were honored to have a small group of Reach Out and Read champion residents with us at the National Leadership Conference in New York City in May, and our cofounder, Dr. Robert Needlman will tell you how cool that was. There are new and exciting studies in the research literature, and our National Board Chair, Dr. Trude Haecker, will talk about that. And we keep going back into those exam rooms, with students and residents, with patients and families — our Georgia Medical Director and National Board Member, Dr. Terri McFadden, has a story for you.

From the beginning, Reach Out and Read has drawn the energy, attention, and commitment of physicians and nurse-practitioners who were already extraordinarily committed and really, really busy. It’s been an honor to work with them and a joy to watch the National Center and the ROR network develop the capacity to support what are now more than 36,000 medical clinicians, pediatricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who now deliver ROR to their families as part of providing pediatric primary care that does all that pediatric primary care can do.

April 2024

2024 marks a milestone for Reach Out and Read; we’re turning 35, and you know how we love milestones (not to mention birthdays!) in the pediatric world. We’re planning festivities at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando in late September, and I hope that some of you will be able to join us. If you’re registering for the conference, be sure to sign up for the dinner that Reach Out and Read and the Council on Early Childhood will host Saturday, Sept. 28. Also plan to come to the plenary on Sunday, Sept. 29 and celebrate! It would be good to be together.

But this newsletter will go to those who go above and beyond that commitment. This is for you, the medical leadership, the people who bring your experience, advocacy, scholarship, and commitment to ROR in so many ways. Maybe you fill a specific role in the organization, as a medical director, a board member or a working group member. Maybe you’re involved in the research network or the policy discussions (and yes, some of you fit all those categories, and you know who you are). Maybe your main role is with a different medical organization — the AAP, for example — and you’ve been able to help build the ROR relationship and alignment. Maybe you come when we ask to convene the medical advisory group. Or maybe you’ve evolved a special relationship that reflects your own history with ROR and your professional interests.

It hasn’t always been easy to define exactly who and what is “the medical leadership,” but the National Center has always understood that there is flexibility, strength, and tremendous power in that elasticity. We all know that our ability to reach families — now millions of them — every day depends on our complicated and dedicated medical network, and that our connection to that network depends on the spectacularly varied and consummately caring medical leadership. Thank you for all that you do for ROR, all that you have done, and thank you in advance for all that you will do in the future. It’s a pleasure and an honor to write this and imagine it being read by people who have done so much for reading, and for children and families.