Achieva’s innovative Books at Birth initiative is now encouraging literacy and caregiver empowerment at a third Pittsburgh-area healthcare facility: Allegheny Health Network’s Jefferson Hospital in the South Hills.
On March 1, 2023, representatives from Achieva Early Intervention and Jefferson Hospital kicked off the program by presenting a newborn baby and their family with the labor and delivery unit’s first-ever Books at Birth book, “The Whales on the Bus” by Katrina Charman.
“We are thrilled to expand Books at Birth to Jefferson Hospital and welcome these new babies to the Achieva Early Intervention Books at Birth family,” said Sharon Richards, Achieva Vice President of Early Intervention. “Books at Birth has established a network of support -- both within the community of other Books at Birth families, as well as within Achieva Early Intervention -- which aims to make new and young families feel cared for from day one.”
Books at Birth began in 2018 at AHN Forbes Hospital’s labor and delivery unit before expanding to AHN West Penn Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. Since its inception, the program has distributed over 10,000 books.
Achieva Early Intervention’s experts approve all Books at Birth books for their age appropriateness, capacity to encourage early literacy, speech and language development, caregiver bonding, gross motor skills, representation of diverse groups and more. Recipient families also receive monthly emails with information about developmental milestones and how to reach out for help with questions or concerns.
“We’re beyond grateful to Achieva for their commitment to early childhood literacy and development, and for selecting our award-winning labor and delivery team as a local partner in their efforts,” said Joy Peters, Chief Nursing Officer at AHN Jefferson Hospital. “From safe sleep practices to lactation support and more, our clinicians work closely with new families to best position them for long-term success when they return home.”
“Books at Birth further builds upon this work by promoting the fundamental importance of early childhood reading for a baby’s social and cognitive development,” Peters continued. “We look forward to launching this initiative at our hospital to deliver storybooks as special birthday gifts to the hundreds of babies we welcome into the world each year.”