In the pediatric waiting room at the HOYA Clinic in Washington, D.C., there is a round, blue, child-size table with four chairs. Against the wall, between two large windows, stands a bookcase with four shelves of books.
This is where medical students read to the children of patients waiting to be seen by a doctor. Kids are also given these books to keep, free of charge, at every wellness visit with their pediatrician.
“We have volunteers in the pediatric room and they read to the patients’ children while they’re waiting to be seen by a doctor,” said Maggie Burke, a second-year medical student at Georgetown University’s School of Medicine and the Education Coordinator at the HOYA Clinic, a student-run facility that sees patients twice a week.
“Our clinic is located in the old D.C. General [Hospital] campus, and it’s now a homeless shelter for families. Most of our patients come from the shelter and they just don’t have a lot of resources, so this is a great opportunity for us to reach out to them with these books,” Burke explained.