James M. Cox Foundation Announces $730,000 Grant to Grady Health Foundation

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

The James M. Cox Foundation announced a $730,000 grant that will be used to pilot the Talk With Me Baby program at Grady Health System. Studies show that the fastest brain growth happens during the first three years of life, making it a critical time to introduce language development.
“One of the most important things we can do as a society is prepare children for success,” said Cox Enterprises Chairman Jim Kennedy. “Experts now recognize that early language development in children is a health issue. It is vitally important for young children to develop the language skills they will need to be ready to read when they get to kindergarten. It’s exciting to think that Grady will be at the forefront of what could be a national delivery model of this important information through the healthcare system.”
Through the grant, Grady will leverage its many touch points with expectant and new parents to share video content with tips on building a child’s vocabulary. In addition, nurses will receive special training, so they can educate caregivers on the importance of talking with a baby every day to prepare the children for future success. Parents will also be taught about important milestones to monitor a child’s language development progress and identify difficulties.
“We are grateful for this opportunity to ensure that children are given the tools they need from the youngest age to prepare them for school and for life,” said John M. Haupert, president and CEO of Grady Health System. “This generous grant from the James M. Cox Foundation has the potential to have a generational impact not only on the families touched by the Talk to Me Baby program but on our community as these children grow up to lead successful lives.”
Talk With Me Baby is a partnership of six lead organizations that are committed to ensuring that every newborn child in Georgia receives essential language nutrition and has the opportunity to reach their full potential. The lead partners are: the Georgia Department of Public Health and Department of Education, Emory University’s School of Nursing and Department of Pediatrics, the Marcus Autism Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Atlanta Speech School’s Rollins Center for Language and Literacy and Get Georgia Reading - Georgia’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading.
As leaders in the field of health, education, and policy, these partners understand the impact that abundant “language nutrition” has on early brain development and how it sets the stage for success in school and the workplace, which in turn affects health and well-being.