Vol. 8, Issue 1
February 2018
In This Issue
From the Executive Director

Hot off the presses! We have exciting news to share this month -- the RORRI Practice Advisory Council, led by Jessica Pepitone MD, held its inaugural meeting on January 22. It was a packed house. Ideas were flowing, and the enthusiasm for the program was undeniable. We are grateful to have a group of committed, tireless providers in this state who are invested in all aspects of care for their pediatric patients. We can't wait until our next meeting in the spring.

Pediatrician Russell Stokes MD of  We Luv Kids in Westerly
In other good news, we welcome  two new
sites to our ever-growing ne twork:  We Luv Kids  in Westerly  and   Stuart Demirs  MD in
Charlestown bringing our total n umber of health care locations practicing Reach Out and Read in RI to 71. Do you know of other practices that serve young children who would benefit from early literacy intervention? Please email your suggestions to !

Finally, we are saying "see you later" (because we can't bear to say goodbye!) to  longtime board member and friend of the organization  Sarah Zacks.  Sarah and her husband Richard have moved to Long Island where she continues to be active in the community, walk on the beach and knit to her heart's content! Sarah, former owner of Books on the Square, is one of the earliest members of the RORRI board. We will miss her bright smile, warm presence, impressive knowledge of children's literature, undiscriminating love for all children (including my own, who attended her story hours every week in their preschool years) and the click-click of her knitting needles at the board room table. Best of luck, Sarah!

Happy Reading,

RORRI Practice Advisory Council

This year, under the leadership of  Dr. Jessica Pepitone (RORRI Medical Director) and  Lila Neel (Program Manager), RORRI created the first-ever Practice Advisory Council (PAC). We invited providers who are especially committed to RORRI in their own practices, to advise us about all aspects of the program as we grow as an organization. We had an overwhelming response, and now have a group of twenty (!) energetic providers bringing years of experience to this work. They represent many different types of practices, as well as a variety of towns/cities across our state.  

Our hope is that the PAC has engaged medical providers with RORRI in a new and exciting way. The PAC will help to generate organizational priorities, and will work on implementing these priorities within working groups. The work this year will include expansion, physician engagement, program quality, raising our statewide profile, and data gathering. As the year progresses, you will hear more about the PAC and its work!

Twenty providers attended the RORRI Practice Advisory Council at its inaugural meeting on January 22: Bill Hollinshead MD, Pam High MD, Celeste Corcoran MD, Nick Grumbach MD (back), Sarah Fessler MD, Susanna Beckwith, Cameron Lang MD (back), Melissa Curran NP, Beth Lange MD, Bonnie Hirsh MD, Marta Sowa MD, Jessica Pepitone MD, Karim Khanbhai MD (back), Dinusha Dietrich MD, Jeanne Ziter MD, Natalie Golova MD, Karen Ng MD, Maureen Crotty MD, and Diane DerMarderosian MD (missing Beth Toolan MD, Christina Mitchell MD and Karin Rondeau NP).
Pediatrician Danielle Curitore MD of Northern RI Pediatrics with Jayce Baker and his mom Samantha.
A Book At Birth
"Thank you for the opportunity to introduce parents to the joy of reading with their kids, no matter how young. What a great way to introduce RORRI's program.  I plan to give the book to both my English and non-English speaking patients, as the latter may have older siblings who are school-age or the parents may try their hand at learning the language with this very sweet book." 
                       -- Karen Ng MD, PCHC Olneyville

RORRI recently launched the  Book At Birth  initiative, providing all RORRI practices with free copies of the board book Guess How Much I Love You to send home with  newborns at their initial visit. The book is co-branded with the RORRI logo, and includes a bookmark introducing the Reach Out and Read program and offering age-appropriate   reading tips. The bookmark relays the importance of reading aloud from birth, and encourages caregivers to make time to talk, read and sing to their babies! We are excited to provide these special books as a token of our appreciation to our dedicated providers -- who work hard to promote early literacy to benefit their youngest patients and families.
Spreading Our Message in Cambodia
RORRI Medical Director  Dr. Jessica Pepitone  volunteering at  Angkor Hospital for Children,  which provides free pediatric care to children affected by both poverty and disease in  Siem Reap Province and northern Cambodia .   As she works and teaches there, she is also spreading our powerful message -- when families read aloud to their young children, they give them a better start to life.  You will hear more about Jessica's adventures when she returns to RI!