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
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. Raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, his father was a doctor at a time when doctors made house calls in a three-piece suit and received phone calls at home. But what Bill remembers best of all was his father reading with him and his siblings—creating family time while giving his mother a break.
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, 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. He attributes this experience to igniting his passion for teaching and nurturing young people.
Bill earned an AB in American Literature from Princeton while teaching preschool math. After an MD from the University of Minnesota Medical School, pediatric training in Rochester, and a MPH from Harvard, Bill served four years doing behavioral epidemiology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. After the Army, Bill, and his wife Mary, and their first child came to Rhode Island, where he practiced with Drs. Wilson Utter and John Barrett, and taught at Brown.
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, he’s excited about using books as an assessment tool in pediatric offices to give a close look at the parent-child dynamic. ROR Rhode Island’s newest work exploring even earlier reading with infants, especially with their dads is particularly exciting.
In his retirement, Bill remains active with his family—three children and six grandchildren. 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. 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.
Over the last two decades, Bill has remained one of ROR Rhode Island’s staunchest advocates. He is a proud member of the board of directors with a special “grandfathered” designation that preserves his membership without limits.