Marianne “Marny” Dunlap, M.D., a pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital, was recently named the 2019 Gretchen Hunsberger Medical Champion for her efforts in fighting illiteracy.
Dunlap has established herself as a champion for early literacy, which led to the founding of the Reach Out and Read program at The Children’s Hospital. For two generations, the program has promoted the benefits of early reading, not only in enhanced learning and academic performance, but the parent-child bonds that are built through reading together. Reach Out and Read partners with healthcare providers to offer free books to patients at their well-child visits with pediatricians. More than 85,000 books are distributed each year.
“Studies have discovered direct links between the parents who read aloud to their children and how those children achieve greater educational success,” said Dunlap. “With the powerful influences in today’s culture – social media and other screen-time activities – parents are challenged to carve out meaningful time with their kids. As healthcare providers, we care not only about physical health but also about the overall well-being of the child. As we interact with parents, we’re coaching and advocating, too.”
To bolster the Reach Out and Read program, The Children’s Hospital providers and staff host an annual Green Eggs and Ham breakfast fundraiser. Funds are used to replenish the supply of books given away on a daily basis.
Dunlap received this latest award at the recent Reach Out and Read National Leadership Conference in Boston.