200 Colorado health care professionals gather for Reach Out and Read Colorado Statewide Conference

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Reach Out and Read Colorado, one of Colorado’s leading early literacy organizations, kicked off its biannual Statewide Conference, a celebratory gathering of more than 200 advocates and health care professionals from throughout Colorado.

The Conference showcases speakers armed with data and dedicated to improving access to books for Colorado families while empowering ALL parents and caregivers to read aloud with children starting from birth.

Reach Out and Read Colorado, one of Colorado’s leading early literacy organizations, kicked off its biannual Statewide Conference today in Aurora, presented by Children’s Hospital Colorado. The conference is a celebratory gathering of more than 200 advocates and health care professionals from throughout Colorado. At the event, community partners and health care providers will join forces to initiate a powerful and necessary statewide dialogue on poverty, literacy, toxic stress, and current Colorado policy as it relates to education and health.

This year’s Conference includes a notable lineup of speakers, including:

  • Sarah Enos Watamura, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Child Health & Development Laboratory, University of Denver
  • Mariana Glusman, MD, Associate Professor, Northwestern University, and Primary Care Physician, Lurie Children's Uptown Clinic
  • Simon Hambidge, MD, Ph.D., Chair, Board of Directors, Reach Out and Read Colorado
  • Ellen Stern, Senior Policy Coordinator, Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • Rachel Stein, Ph.D., Harris Fellow in Infant Mental Health, University of Colorado Denver
  • Crosby Troha, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist and Senior Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine
  • Steve Vogler, MD, MSPH, Co-Founder & Medical Director, Reach Out and Read Colorado

The Conference showcases speakers armed with data and dedicated to improving access to books for Colorado families while empowering ALL parents and caregivers to read aloud with children starting from birth.

The benefits of reading aloud to children are undeniable. A majority of brain development occurs before age five and research shows that reading aloud to children starting from infancy directly correlates with increased language skills, larger vocabularies and stronger parent-child bonds. A child’s earliest years are uniquely important, however, many Colorado families are currently missing out on this opportunity to build better brains and brighter futures for their children due to access, education and/or socioeconomic status.

Other conference highlights include:

  • 20 Year Clinics - Sam Sandos Westside Family Health Center and Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics both in Denver County are celebrating 20 years of Reach Out and Read in Colorado.
  • 2017 Winner, Magdalena Aguayo Literacy Champion Award - The Magdalena Aguayo Literacy Champion Award is being presented to Dr. Kent Gaylord and the mountain community of Telluride in San Miguel County. Dr. Gaylord is a Colorado native and has been practicing family medicine in Telluride for 21 years.
  • Toxic Stress and Its Legacy: A Public Health Problem – a review of the lifelong consequences of early life stress and the case for considering it as a public health problem.

For a complete look at the 2017 Reach Out and Read Colorado Statewide Conference, please visit http://www.reachoutandreadco.org/event/2017-conference.

“Reach Out and Read Colorado’s Statewide Conference celebrates the power of reading aloud and the vibrant and diverse community we are proud to be part of,” said Meredith Hintze, Reach Out and Read Colorado’s Executive Director. “Our work is becoming a standard part of pediatric care, not by coincidence, but because of an active and empowering community.”

Reach Out and Read Colorado would like to extend thanks to our 2017 sponsors: Children’s Hospital Colorado, All About Books, Scholastic and SpringHill Suites Denver at Anschutz Medical Campus. As a thank you for the dedication and hard work of our health care provider network and community partners, the conference is complimentary to attendees. To apply for media credentials, please contact Maureen Pacheco, maureen@reachoutandreadco.org.

About Reach Out and Read Colorado
Reach Out and Read Colorado is an evidence-based nonprofit that partners with health care providers to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. By providing age-appropriate books to children at well-child visits from 6 months to 5 years of age, Reach Out and Read Colorado prepares children for school and encourages a lifelong love of reading. Children served by Reach Out and Read Colorado enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies, stronger language skills, and a three- to six-month developmental edge. To learn more, visit http://www.reachoutandreadco.org or connect with Reach Out and Read Colorado on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ReachOutandReadColorado.

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Maureen Pacheco
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