Frederick County Pediatrics Initiatives
FCP & Dr. James Lee want to recognize and promote national and local initiatives that encourage healthy child development – both physically and psychologically.
1) Importance of early childhood reading & literacy
Possibly one of the most important developmental areas that parents can directly impact on is stimulating language and speech development through reading to your child. We now know that even in pre-verbal infants and toddlers, exposure to language plays a key role in learning, speech development and an overall higher IQ. Reading to your child is the gift that keeps on giving – in so many ways!
Central to this mission is our participation in ROR (Reach out and Read) – a nationally recognized organization that promotes early childhood literacy by sponsoring free books for all our patients between six months and five years at their well visits. We have expanded upon this to develop a “reading garden” in our waiting room that includes a lender library for our patients (and their siblings/friends) and posting activities and programs sponsored by Frederick County Public Libraries.
2) Nature Awareness and Increased Outdoor Play Activities
Another key initiative for our practice is promoting nature awareness and outdoor play. Our changing lifestyles have unfortunately made outdoor play and nature activities less common and less a priority in our society. The impact of this is profound and affects us physically/emotionally and undermines our role as protectors and stewards of our planet.
Docs in the Park (DITP) is a small way to get some of that back. DITP is a developing national initiative that encourages doctors and their practices to promote and participate in outdoor activities and nature programs with their patients. DITP in our community has worked closely with our local Parks & Rec. Dept. to develop programs and events that meet the DITP mission of nature awareness, increased outdoor play and exercise plus an emphasis on good nutrition/eating habits and quality family time.
We have posted DITP materials throughout the office and it’s our hope to see you out there! Additionally, FCP is an ongoing sponsor for the nationally recognized Girls on the Run (GOTR) program and also supports annual 5K spring runs at our local elementary schools.
3) School Health
Dr. Lee has been an active member of the FCPS School Health Council for several years. The importance of health and promotion of wellness in our schools is integral to our children’s academic success. Healthy kids learn and thrive better in school and “healthy schools” that teach and promote health and wellness succeed better – both for their students and for our community in general.
But the challenge of developing healthy schools is not easy. It takes commitment, resources, education and team work to develop the strategies that are necessary to keep our schools top notch and high performing. Ultimately a healthy school environment is a better educated, progressive, safer and more impactful system that prepares our children for the challenges that lie ahead.
As a pediatric practice, we take this responsibility seriously. It is our mission to educate and promote, starting in infancy and extending throughout childhood, those activities that foster healthy, thriving, well educated and caring children. That should be the legacy for all of us dedicated to the well being of children – and our society!
4) Early Intervention – Understanding Root Causes
New to our initiatives is Dr Lee’s and Amy T’s involvement with our local IECC – a community based council committed to understanding the multiple and complex medical and social factors that make up early childhood growth and development. The IECC serves as both a networking platform for Frederick’s various early childhood agencies to interact and work more cohesively as well as using its members to enhance community outreach that helps to understand the myriad of factors that impact on small children. Of particular concern is awareness and advocacy in our community for understanding some of the root causes of such things such as poverty that contributes to family dysfunction and sub optimal childhood outcomes. Reaching out and helping those that need us most requires sensitivity, understanding, team work and commitment. We are both daunted and inspired by this. In many ways, this initiative may be our most challenging but also our most important mission. Pediatrics is ultimately helping those who cannot help themselves. We say that humbly but with determination.