April 21, 2014 - The University Medical Clinic (UMC) has recently become a “Reach Out and Read” affiliate. The program allows UMC physicians to distribute books to pediatric patients during their well child checkups.

The program has been made possible by generous donations from Dr. Jerry D. Westerfield, a radiologist with Russell County Hospital in Kentucky, and Dr. Ava C. Stanczak, associate professor and chair of pediatrics at Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Reading is such an important thing for children, and this program helps make for a pleasant experience at the doctor’s office,” Westerfield said.

"It is gratifying to have a child come in and read the book you gave them at their last office visit," Stanczak said. "I have had that happen more than a few times."

The mission of Reach Out and Read is to “prepare America's youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.” The UMC will incorporate Reach Out and Read's evidence-based, three-part model into regular well-child checkups. Physicians and nurses will speak with parents about the importance of reading aloud at each regular checkup from six months through five years of age. Each child will receive a new book at each well child visit to take home in hopes that parents will become more engaged and read to their children more often. The program kicked off the second week of April.

The UMC currently has two pediatricians on staff, Stanczak and Dr. Jeff Mann, as well as many family physicians who see children on a regular basis. The UMC, operated by LMU-DCOM has two locations in Harrogate and New Tazewell, Tenn. The facility is open to the public and appointments may be made by calling 423-869-7193. Other specialties available at the UMC include family medicine, women’s health and osteopathic manipulative medicine. For more information on the UMC visit Donors interested in providing funds to help purchase books for the program may contact Joey Gilbert, director of development and alumni, at

The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine is located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. LMU-DCOM is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community, and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of osteopathic physicians to provide health care in the often underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. For more information about LMU-DCOM, call 1-800-325-0900, ext. 7108, email, or visit us online at

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Caption: Dr. Ava C. Stanczak (center) and University Medical Clinic staff members show samples of the books that will be given to pediatric patients during well child checkups as part of the UMC's participation in the Reach Out and Read program.

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