CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – It might not be the flu or strep throat, but it’s an issue a local primary care doctor is working to help his young patients combat. It might not be what you think; he’s taking on poor literacy rates in the Franklin County community.
Dr. Stephen Flack has been caring for children for the past 16 years. This isn’t just helping them when they are ill, but guiding them and their families towards healthy habits at regular wellness visits, and a huge part of a child’s wellness and development he says is encouraging them to read.
“I feel that the care that we provide to our children is some of the most important care that we can ever provide,” he explained. “I have been able to make life-long connections with my patients over the past sixteen years and always encourage ‘doing your best’ and the importance of education.”
He says it’s an issue he can’t afford not to take a stance on.
“I can certainly testify to the fact that we need to find new ways to stimulate childhood and adult literacy through my work with the various and varied patient populations for which I provide care. The percent of our county population living under 100 percent Federal Poverty Line is 18.17 percent (2014 Healthy Franklin County). Our population also has a 14.7 percent rate of individuals age 25 and older without a high school diploma.”
Recently, his office, Summit Primary Care Suite 203, has opened a new chapter in the fight against poor literacy rates by creating a “Book Nook”. There, all pediatric patients can select an age-appropriate book to take home with them following each wellness visit. Additionally, Dr. Flack’s office has been approved by the National Reach Out and Read Program as an approved site. This means providers at the office are following and implementing laid-out standards to help promote early literacy and school readiness.
The project also has gained the support of community members. Recently, the Rotary Club of Chambersburg donated $500 to help support the program.
“It’s an amazing feeling to know the community stands behind this effort,” Dr. Flack said. “We know our children are our future, so we must make sure we are incorporating care for not just their physical health, but setting them up with the skills they need to succeed in their education and future careers.”
Flack said there are plans in place to extend the literacy program to the other nine Summit Primary Care offices, with Shippensburg Primary Care set to incorporate the program this summer.
For more information about Summit Primary Care, please click here.
Summit Health is a non-profit network of hospitals and physician practices dedicated to building a healthier community.
As Franklin County's leading healthcare provider, Summit Health offers family care, specialists, lab and imaging services, a fitness center, urgent care centers, and two award-winning hospitals.