Message from National Medical Director

By Dr. Perri Klass

I have a not-particularly-clever joke that I sometimes use as a laugh line when I’m doing a Reach Out and Read training or presentation — I say that out of all the thousands of ROR clinical sites, not one has ever applied saying, “we’ve got empty airspace to fill in our visits” or, even, “we have so much extra shelf space in the clinic.” It’s not witty, but it lets me acknowledge that this program appeals to settings that are already pushing their limits, trying to support the families they serve in as many ways as humanly possible.

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.

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.