Healthfirst and Reach Out and Read of Greater New York Read to Brooklyn Pediatric Patients at SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Jun 17, 2014



Ron Najman

Laura Vialva
212-801-1451 (office)
718-764-3517 (cell)

Guest Reader, City Council Member Mathieu Eugene, Reads Children’s Stories to Patients

BROOKLYN, NY – Healthfirst and Reach Out and Read of Greater New York will sponsor a special reading event for pediatric patients on Thursday, June 19 from 10:00 am-11:30 am at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 470 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203. Waiting room patients will have children’s stories read to them from books provided by the Reach Out and Read of Greater New York literacy program. Brooklyn City Council Member Mathieu Eugene is the event’s special guest reader.

The Reach Out and Read of Greater New York program trains doctors and nurses to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud and provides free books to children at pediatric check-ups from 6 months to five years of age.

Healthfirst’s support of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York enables the distribution of thousands of books to New York City’s communities via select physician’s offices, medical centers, and hospitals throughout the metropolitan area.

"Healthfirst is dedicated to helping New York’s children and families gain access to resources that provide kids with an early start for developmental learning, improved health and well-being by promoting family literacy,” said Susan Beane, MD, Healthfirst vice president and medical director. “We are proud to support Reach Out and Read of Greater New York and increase the literacy levels of our children – tomorrow’s future leaders – in partnership with SUNY Downstate Medical Center.”

“Children have a better chance at succeeding in school when they have books at home and a family that makes reading a part of their daily routine,” said Traci Lester, executive director of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York.  “We are thrilled to partner with Healthfirst and SUNY Downstate Medical Center to give thousands of Brooklyn families the books and guidance they need to start their kids down the path to academic success.”

Stanley Fisher, MD, chair of pediatrics at SUNY Downstate, said, "The Children's Hospital at SUNY Downstate is committed to providing children the care they need to lead healthy lives and to develop their talents and skills to the maximum capacity. We do this through a variety of programs including our Child Life Program, our Infant and Child Learning Center, and our partnership with Reach Out and Read of Greater New York. We are delighted to have our City Council Member, Mathieu Eugene, serve as our Reach Out and Read guest reader."

To learn more about the Reach Out and Read of Greater New York program, please visit  For more information on Healthfirst, please visit  To learn more about SUNY Downstate Medical Center, please visit

About Reach Out and Read of Greater New York

Reach Out and Read of Greater New York partners with pediatricians to prepare children in New York’s neediest communities for school.  We provide free books and help parents make reading part of their family’s daily routine in 200 hospitals and health centers throughout New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley. For more information, visit our website,

About Healthfirst

Healthfirst is a not-for-profit managed care organization with more than one million members of the diverse communities of downstate New York. We are ranked the #1 Quality Medicaid Plan in NYS. We treat our Medicaid, Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, Medicare Advantage, and Managed Long Term Care members with the same care and attention we would want for our own families. We are also a proud participant in NY State of Health: The Official Health Plan Marketplace. For more information, visit the company's websites at and


About SUNY Downstate Medical Center

SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively.

SUNY Downstate ranks twelfth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.