Following medical school at the University of Aleppo and a pediatric residency at the Medical Center of Delaware, Lofti Bashir, MD, FAAP was recruited by Vaughn Regional Medical Center in Selma. “After a few days in the nursery at the hospital and visiting the area, I felt that there was a need for a pediatrician to serve the children and families here,” said Dr. Bashir. “I convinced my wife, who grew up in New York, to come with me for one year.”
According to a new analysis by 24/7 WallStreet, Selma landed ninth on the list of poorest towns in America. Median household income in the Dallas County town is $23,383 with a median home value of $90,400, the analysis showed. Only 17 percent of adults there have at least a bachelor's degree, and the city has a poverty rate of 41 percent.
That’s even more reason for Dr. Bashir and his other three medical providers at Selma Pediatrics to participate in Reach Out and Read-Alabama.
For the past ten years, Selma pediatrics has prescribed over 60,00 books to his patients and their families. According to research, one third of young children and half of children living in poverty in the U.S. arrive at kindergarten without the skills that they need for success at school. Students who enter kindergarten with below grade level reading skills have a much higher chance of dropping out of school later in life. By giving young children a foundation for success, the program combats the effects of income inequality.
Dr. Bashir was inspired by the national Reach Out and Read program to author his own book for children. Based on his own pet and children’s love of animals, his book, The Adventures of Petey Pots and Pans, has grown into a series, addressing topics such as bullying and race.
After 30 years of practice, Dr. Bashir and his family have grown to love Selma. “We are three hours from the beach, three hours from the mountains, and only an hour from Montgomery. We both love the history of the area and enjoy living in an area of the country that treats you like family.”