At Summit Primary Care, Children’s Wellness Visits Include Checkups—On Reading!

Children who visit doctors at Summit Primary Care might find their way to one of the book nooks at four locations in the health system.

Filled with books for children of all ages, the nook is a place for children to read during their visit. What’s more, they can get a brand-new book to take home with them!

Summit Primary Care uses the patient-centered-care model, and Dr. Stephen Flack, director of primary care at Summit Health, believes encouraging children to read plays a significant part in their wellness development.

Dr. Flack grew up in the Chambersburg area served by Summit Health and is doing what he can to give back. He is passionate about improving the overall health and well-being of the community by improving patient care.

After looking at data on the high school graduation and dropout rates, Dr. Flack was determined to address the literacy and education problems impacting the community—starting with children. Because he frequently does wellness checkups with children, he created a place where he can talk about the importance of reading with parents and their children.

“A lot of the adult literacy issues we encounter among patients feeds back to literacy in childhood,” Dr. Flack said. “This struck home for me because reading books with my parents was a big part of my childhood, and not many people have access to books like I did.”

Dr. Flack says reading aloud to children creates better relationships and increases bonding, in addition to improving language skills and overall educational attainment later in life.

Summit Health staff members recently gave out more than 40 books at the YMCA. Additionally, Summit Health works with local libraries and businesses to help with funding to buy the books found in the book nook.

Through these partnerships, Dr. Flack and his colleagues have brought the community together to combat poor literacy and create better futures for the people living there.

“I am really pleased and thankful to be back in the community where I grew up,” Dr. Flack said. “People are always saying they want to give back to the community that raised them, and being able to do so has been a huge blessing.”