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J Okla State Med Assoc. 2018 Oct;111(8):796-800.

Implementation of Reach Out and Read by Health Departments Increases Rural Access.

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University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Department of Pediatrics, Section of General and Community Pediatrics; 1200 Children's Avenue, Ste 12400, Oklahoma City, OK 73104.



Reach Out and Read is an evidence based early literacy program used in primary care practices. In 2014, the program expanded to County Health Departments in Oklahoma.


To evaluate how implementation of the program in Health Departments affects access for at risk children.


Oklahoma program sites were classified as either Health Department or practice, geocoded, and mapped to census tract, census block group, and county subdivision maps. Sites were classified as rural or urban, and census data was used to classify sites as high or low poverty prevalence and education level. Sites were compared to determine their accessibility to at risk children as defined by living in rural areas, high poverty, and low educational level.


There were 18 Health Department and 67 practice sites. Health Department sites were more likely to be in rural areas: 13 of 18 sites versus 16 of 67 practices (p<0.001). They were less likely to be in areas of high poverty: 10 of 18 versus 61 of 67 practices (p<0.001), and they were not more likely to be in areas of lower education, with 8 of 18 sites in low education areas versus 34 of 67 practices (p=0.8342).


Implementation of Reach Out and Read in Health Departments in Oklahoma increased the number of rural program sites. Health Department locations were less likely to be in areas of poverty and lower education. Use of the program in Health Departments is an effective way to expand the program to serve rural children.


Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest and Financial Disclosures: None of the authors have any relevant conflicts of interest or financial disclosures.

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