Reading books aloud to young children promotes important early brain development. It also lays the foundation for a lifelong love of reading.

Thanks to a newly established $250,000 endowment from Richard Parkoff, families visiting the UVM Children’s Hospital will have the opportunity to spend quality time together reading children’s books while they’re at the hospital.

Reading to Children: The Horbar Family Endowment

Parkoff’s gift established the Horbar Family Endowment, which will include the creation of a mobile library in the neonatal intensive care unit at the medical center, as well as funding for Reach Out and Read – a program focused on encouraging families to read aloud daily to their infants, toddlers and pre- schoolers as a simple and effective way of fostering language-rich family interactions.

Honoring Family

Parkoff made the gift in honor of several family members, including his cousin, the late Stanley Horbar, and Rita Horbar, Stanley’s wife. The gift also honors Stanley and Rita’s sons, both physicians who have made a lasting impact on the profession, and their daughter, Amy.

Jeffrey Horbar, MD, the current Jerold F. Lucey Professor of Neonatology at the Larner College of Medicine and the chief executive and scientific officer for the Vermont Oxford Network, is responsible for developing the Vermont Oxford Network Database, used by over 1,000 NICUs around the world to monitor and improve outcomes for high risk infants and their families. Gary Horbar, MD, an internist in New York City who, along with his wife, has been in practice for nearly 25 years, is known for his focus on preventive medicine and the deep relationships he develops with his patients.

A Head Start For Children

Together, Parkoff’s gift and the Horbar family’s work represent how fostering a healthy start for children takes a team dedicated to everything from top notch medical care to getting a head start with the written word.

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