I was first exposed to Reach Out and Read as a pediatric resident at the Westside Pediatric clinic in the mid-90s. As I was in training, I assumed that all pediatric care involved early language and literacy promotion by health care providers! I didn’t realize that Westside was the first clinic in Colorado and one of the first in the country to harness the power of well child visits in young children to promote reading and parent-child bonding. Over the years I came to appreciate the interaction with parents and children around books not just as language promotion, but as a great form of developmental screening. I could learn a lot from how a parent interacted with the child and the book (could the parent read?), how the child interacted with the parent and the book, and how they interacted together.
When I was asked to join the Board of Reach Out and Read Colorado over 5 years ago, it was such an honor to help grow the organization that supports this amazing program. And our growth over the past 5 years really has been something to be a part of.
It is an even greater honor to be considered for the Board Chair position. Since joining the Reach Out and Read Colorado Board, I have taken on significant leadership responsibilities at Denver Health, where I still work all these years later. I am now CEO of Denver Community Health Services and the Chief Ambulatory Officer at Denver Health and Hospitals, as well as a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado. I now deal with budgets, strategic planning, and real estate, things they did not teach me in medical school! But I think these skills along with my pediatric background will help me lead the Reach Out and Read Colorado Board.
I have greatly enjoyed working with all of you on the Reach Out and Read Colorado Board and learned much from our group. I look forward to all the important work we have to do together in upcoming years.
Learn more about Simon HERE and meet Reach Out and Read Colorado’s Board Officers.