Celebrate Reach Out and Read Rhode Island’s 20th Anniversary

Honoring William Hollinshead, MD
Thursday, May 2
The Providence Art Club
11 Thomas Street
Amazing Raffle Baskets
Fund-A-Need Opportunities
Cocktails, Food & Fun
Free valet parking available
Purchase Tickets Here

About William Hollinshead, MD

“Ask the next generation what’s most important to do and then ask me how I can help with that.”
“Literacy is a part of health,” says William (Bill) Hollinshead, and he believes that “all too much of what’s been recorded in life is worth reading.” This belief began to take shape during his youth in St. Paul, Minnesota. His father was a doctor at a time when doctors put on three-piece suits to go to work, made house calls, and received phone calls at home. But what Bill remembers best of all is how his father instilled a lifelong love of reading in him and his siblings by reading to them often—which had the added bonus of creating family time while giving his mother a break from her routine.
Over two summers of high school, Bill worked as a counselor at Dr. Henry Utter’s co-ed summer camp at Cragged Mountain Farm in New Hampshire. He enjoyed hiking the White Mountains with 6-7 year olds, teaching woodworking, and observing pediatrics in the natural world. Bill recalls that he was paid $75 each summer, but that the train from St. Paul to New Hampshire cost $95. Nonetheless, Bill remembers the camp fondly and attributes his experience to igniting his passion for teaching and nurturing young people.
In 1979, Bill was appointed Medical Director and Chief of Family Health at the Rhode Island Department of Health where he was responsible for family planning, maternity, nutrition, immunizations, newborn child and school health, and for broader family health data, policies and programs until his retirement in 2008. He also served a variety of national organizations, commissions, and projects during those years.
Following Dr. Pam High’s early work, and the founding of Reach Out and Read (ROR) in Boston, it was only natural that Bill join Sarah Gleason’s founding advisory committee for ROR Rhode Island 20 years ago. The ROR model resonates with Bill. In the days when doctors visited patients at home, they had great insights into the parent-child bond. Today, using books as an assessment tool in pediatric offices allows doctors this much-needed close look at the parent-child dynamic.
Over the last two decades, Bill has remained one of RORRI’s staunchest advocates. He is a proud member of the board of directors with a special “grandfathered” designation that preserves his membership without limits.
In his retirement, Bill remains active with his family: Mary Hollinshead, his wife of 49 years, three children and six grandchildren. He regrets his grandkids live too far for daily stories; to help close the distance, they’re using Skype to develop a long distance reading habit. Bill is serious about furniture design and woodworking, and ringing the tower bells of St. Martin’s Church. He’s much involved with the Academy of Pediatrics, Kids Count, Grow Smart RI, the Knight Memorial Library, and other local efforts.
Bill earned an AB in American Literature from Princeton University, an MD from the University of Minnesota Medical School, and a MPH from Harvard University.

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