Holiday card project provides free books for needy children

SAN ANTONIO (Nov. 18, 2009)—San Antonio infants and tots are going home from their well-child checkups with a lot more than a lollipop, thanks to free books made possible by the sale of holiday cards in the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio’s Department of Pediatrics.

The cards, which are available to the public, feature the artwork of children, many of whom were patients at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital and University Hospital.

Patients at Department of Pediatrics clinics are handed brand-new children’s books through Reach Out and Read, a national, nonprofit program. Youngsters seen at the Children’s Health Center and families enrolled in the PREMIEre program receive the books. The Children’s Health Center is a training clinic for Health Science Center pediatrics residents. The PREMIEre program provides immediate and follow-up care to premature infants.

“At every well-child checkup between ages 6 months and 5 years, children who come to our clinics receive a beautiful, new book to take home and keep,” said Rebecca L. Huston, M.D., M.P.H., clinical professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine. “Through Reach Out and Read, children start school with a home library of 10 books, and their parents understand that reading aloud is the most important thing they can do to prepare their children for school.”

A grant from the Semp Russ Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation enabled the Health Science Center to begin the holiday card project. A box of 20 identical cards is $10 and buyers can choose from 10 designs. The cards come with plain white envelopes. All proceeds go to purchase the children’s books.

“To date, the Children’s Health Center and the PREMIEre program have distributed more than 23,000 new books to children in San Antonio through this program,” Dr. Huston said.

For more information about Reach Out and Read, visit The holiday card brochure is at The cards are available through the end of the year.

The public may order by calling Dr. Huston’s office at (210) 562-5344. The image below is available in higher resolution (600K).

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $668 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $16.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $36 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 25,600 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and other health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit

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