Dr. Marsha Raulerson celebrates 20 years of sharing stories with Reach Out and Read

Dr. Marsha Raulerson celebrates 20 years of sharing stories with Reach Out and Read

Dr. Raulerson began her program in December of 1996 as the third pediatric practice in the nation to implement the nationwide program. During the last 20 years, Dr. Raulerson has prescribed over 50,000 brand new books to the children in her practice. She is now distributing books to the third generation of children that relies on her practice for medical care and literacy advice.
 

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American Academy of Pediatrics releases new policy statement to help end childhood poverty

When Marsha D. Raulerson, M.D., FAAP, asked a patient his three greatest wishes, his first was to be in the NBA. His second and third were to help his family and for things to get better.

“Most 16-year-old boys don’t say that,” said Dr. Raulerson, who practices in Brewton. She often uses the wish question to root out problems faced by her patients, many living in or near poverty. She may find out a family has housing insecurity or not enough to eat. In the case of the teen, Dr. Raulerson learned the boy was acting out at school because of stress at home. She referred him to a counselor and, as she does with every patient at every visit, she gave him a book.

“That’s my biggest poverty prevention program,” she said.

Listed under the What Works to Ameliorate the Effects of Childhood Poverty in the report:

“Early literacy promotion in the medical home with programs such as Reach Out and Read advances reading readiness by approximately six months when compared with controls.”

According to Voices for Alabama’s Children Kids Count Data Book 2015, nearly 27 percent of children in Alabama live in poverty with half living in extreme poverty.

Learn more here with an interview with American Academy of Pediatrics past president, Renee Jenkins, on PBS Newshour discussing the new policy statement and technical report.

AAP's new policy statement emphasizes the importance of our program to families in poverty

In the April issue of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement, Poverty and Child Health in the United States by the Council on Community Pediatrics, emphasizing the significance of our program to families in poverty.

According to Voices for Alabama’s Children Kid’s Count Data 2015, families in Alabama continue to struggle to make ends meet.  Since 2000, the poverty rate has grown from 16.1 percent to 18.6 percent.  But for children the story is even more grim ~ the poverty rate for children rose to nearly 27 percent with half living in extreme poverty.  

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Western Health Center celebrates 10 years as a program site

Western Health Center celebrates 10 years as a program site

The Jefferson County Department of Health Western Health Center, one of four outpatient health centers in Jefferson County, has been prescribing books to underinsured and uninsured children and their families through their Reach Out and Read program for the last 10 years.

Maria Meyers, MD, serves as the medical director and quickly points out in her video that the success of the program lies in being able to provide books to the parents and help them make the connection to reading daily and brain development. During the past ten years, almost 25,000 books have been provided to children from six months through five years of age at well child visits at this clinic.

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