Dr. John S. Hutton, MS, MD, is a pediatrician and clinical researcher in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics and Reading and Literacy Discovery Center. His unique reading background includes over 20 years at the helm of Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore and publication of over 25 children’s books, many with health-promoting themes, including screen time reduction (Baby Unplugged), reading and talking to babies, infant calming, safe sleep, breastfeeding, and ADHD. His books have been adopted in numerous statewide public health campaigns, distributed to over 3 million families, proceeds benefiting non-profit advocacy groups. He serves as “spokes-doctor” for the Read Aloud 15 MINUTES national campaign and on the national Medical Advisory Board of the Reach Out and Read program.
Dr. Hutton’s research at Cincinnati Children's covers all facets of pediatric general and health literacy. He is applying functional MRI to better understand the influence of modifiable aspects of home reading environment on brain networks supporting emergent literacy, the skills and attitudes preparing a child for reading. His work was the first to document such effects prior to kindergarten. He is also studying the effect of screen-based media on neural processing of stories in preschool-age children, particularly in terms of visual imagery and attention.
As a pediatrician, Dr. Hutton is working to validate screening measures of emergent literacy skills and risk factors for primary care use, to identify children at risk as early as possible, guide interventions, and reinforce the concept of reading as a critical aspect of child health and development. He is also actively exploring the application of children’s books for a range of pediatric health literacy and advocacy topics, and recently published a randomized trial establishing superiority of one of his books compared to brochures for adherence with AAP safe sleep and reading recommendations.
Dr. Hutton is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society, and has received numerous awards for his work, including an Academic Pediatric Association Young Investigator Award, an Arnold W. Strauss Fellow Award and Procter Scholar Award (Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center), and a Healthcare Heroes: Innovator Award (Cincinnati Business Courier). For his children’s books, he has received an Ohioana Cooper Award (Cincinnati/Hamilton County Public Library), a Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards Gold Medal, and a Benjamin Franklin Award Gold Medal (Independent Book Publishers Association). His bookstore was a finalist for the Women’s National Book Association Pannell Award, reflecting the best in the United States.
General and community pediatrics
Emergent literacy; shared and dialogic reading; early brain development; screening measures development and validation; health effects of screen-based media; pediatric health literacy and bibliotherapy
Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
General and Community Pediatrics, General and Community Pediatrics, Reading and Literacy, Reproductive Sciences, Communication Sciences