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Dr. Yang Heads ‘Reach Out and Read’

Posted: January 31, 2019

NorthBay Healthcare Pediatrician Judy Yang, D.O., knows that when a doctor speaks, parents listen.

That’s why she’s committed to using her powers of persuasion to get parents — and eventually their children — reading. And as Solano County’s first-ever medical director for the local Reach Out and Read (ROAR) program, she has the platform to do just that.

“Evidence shows that parents take the message of reading regularly with their children more seriously if their child’s physician gives them that message,” she said.

Dr. Yang was first trained in 2003 to be a ROAR provider while doing her pediatric residency at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. When she joined NorthBay Healthcare in 2008, she became a ROAR physician trainer, teaching all NorthBay pediatricians, as well as colleagues at David Grant Medical Center and Northbay Pediatrics.

The Solano County program actually began in 1999 with two clinics. Now 13 medical offices participate, including all of NorthBay Healthcare’s Center for Primary Care facilities.

“The rates at which we give out books at NorthBay is consistently high,” said Dr. Yang. “The feedback from parents and pediatric patients is always positive. We hear things like, ‘She LOVES the book you gave her last time, it’s her favorite!’”

More than 270,000 books have been given out by the Solano program since it started in 1999, according to Cherelyn Ellington-Hunt, Literacy Program Manager for Solano County Library. NorthBay, she notes, has contributed $7,500 a year to purchase books for the three NorthBay primary care offices.

“Parents want the best for their children,” said Cherelyn. “When a parent gets information from a doctor who is a trusted resource and authority on how to keep their child healthy and happy in a way they can see and understand ... they are more likely to follow through. That’s  why having the book come from a doctor is so important.”

Teresa Lavell, literacy program assistant, agrees.

“The true power of this program is the medical provider taking time to empower parents to be their child’s first teacher,” she said.

She believes that Dr. Yang’s involvement as the program’s first medical director will be significant.

“There can be a real disconnect between library staff and the medical community,” said Teresa. “Dr. Yang will provide a needed bridge between us that will give us insight we need to support our Reach Out and Read doctors and nurses better, so they can in turn advocate for literacy in the best way possible.”