Funded Projects

Grant Status: Completed

Training Category: Healthy Tomorrows

Grant Title: ReadNPlay for a Bright Future Program

Web Site: East Tennessee State University Project Exit Disclaimer

Project Director(s):

Karen Schetzina, MD, MD, MPH, CLC, FA
East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, TN
Phone: (423) 439-6228


We will work with the participating pediatric practices to provide training in our clinical counseling and ReadNPlay tools, how to integrate these tools into well child visits during infancy and early childhood to improve access and quality of the medical home.

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: Elevate the importance of optimal child development, healthy active living, and healthy home environments in the eyes of parents and caregivers. Objective 1: Implement a family longitudinal case management and follow up program with at least 300 high risk families referred to the ReadNPlay Program from participating practices. Goal 2: Enhance the capacity of pediatricians, childcare providers, and other community organizations in providing and promoting opportunities for improving child development, healthy behaviors, parenting ski Objective 1: Disseminate ReadNPlay to 6 new practices and 1200-1500 newborns & families using a Practice Coach (and the leadership team) and a QI methodology to improve healthy eating, reading, active living, and safety knowledge, self-efficacy, and behaviors. Objective 2: 5. Continue to build partnerships of this project, with an active Project Advisory Board, as evidenced by holding 2 meetings annually with an attendance rate of 80% of Board members, and seek funding support for sustainability by developing two new funding sources during the project period. Goal 3: Increase parent self-efficacy and skills in supporting optimal child development, as well as healthy behaviors and home environments for themselves and their growing families. Objective 1: Expand Family Support Groups using a novel collaboration and approach by pediatric providers, early childhood educators, and lactation specialists and achieve attendance at 2 or more sessions by 100 families. Objective 2: With our community partners and use of social marketing expand participation in community events that provide families opportunities for healthy eating, joint activity and promote reading, with attendance by 80% of families in the case management program in at least 2 event(s).


The ReadNPlay My Baby Book and Healthy Active Living Tips booklet are used for education, goal-setting, and monitoring of healthy behaviors. Families bring their books to infant/toddler well child visits to discuss with their provider. My Baby Book contains age-appropriate guidance from Bright Futures and areas for parents to record their child's growth, milestones, eating habits, favorite books, and activities. Themed posters and collectible growth stickers for documenting baby's growth in the book have been developed and are handed out to families to reinforce mutually developed goals. A Project Coach will connect high-risk families to monthly ReadNPlay family support groups and community events for reinforcement. Future support groups will offer lactation assistance, early literacy skill development, and parenting discussions around Play themes. A ReadNPlay children's book series has been developed to further reinforce healthy behaviors using characters from My Baby Book, with a reading guide and tips for parents. Community events to date have included Teas for Expectant and Nursing mothers, Daddy Day Camp, a Kids Run and Walk 'n' Roll, and a Prince and Princess Celebration. These groups and events provide fun, interactive opportunities to learn, be active, and experience peer support for healthy behaviors. We propose to expand the ReadNPlay project and improve the health and development of infants, young children and their families in the region.


Tennessee's Title V representative will serve on the Project Advisory Board. TNAAP will facilitate linkages to expertise and resources for the project. BABE Breastfeeding Coalition, Niswonger Children's Hospital, Appalachian Association for the Education of Young Children (AAEYC), local public libraries, health departments, and farmers markets. Appalachian Sustainable Development, ETSU College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Services & Clinical Nutrition to assist with activities.


We will track: numbers of ReadNPlay materials used, referrals, contacts, and completed referrals to the project coach, number of families participating in 2 or more support groups, number and percentage participating in events, and participation and outcome of board meetings. We will use surveys to measure provider training outcomes, provider engagement, and parent/caregiver knowledge, behaviors, and engagement.

Experience to Date:

ReadNPlay supports families to Play More: Shut Off the Screens, Play Together: Be Active as a Family, Play Safely, and Fuel to Play: Eat Healthy. Counseling and novel tools, including the ReadNPlay My Baby Book, were developed, are available in English and Spanish, and were successfully used at the ETSU Pediatrics and Medical Care clinics during infant-toddler well child visits to improve communication with parents/caregiver about health. Through partnerships with community organizations in the region, monthly ReadNPlay family support groups and community events have been conducted. A ReadNPlay children's book series is being distributed in clinics as part of Reach Out and Read and used during support groups and community events. During the reporting period work has been done to create book 2 in Spanish, book 3 in English, and our Baby Book app. Community events to date have included a Tea for Expectant and Nursing Mothers, Daddy Day Camp, Scarecrow Skedaddle family run/walk, Night at the Museum with Your Pediatrician, Kids Central at Fun Fest, and Once Upon a Time Celebration (in recognition of national child abuse awareness month). Flyers distributed in clinics and local schools and Facebook/Twitter pages were used for promotion. We engaged 2 of our planned 6 new practices during year 1 of the project due to delays in hiring a key position funded by this grant, the Project Coach/Health Promotion Coordinator. Our Health Promotion Coordinator was hired in January 2016.