Dr. John S. Hutton, MD, MS, is a pediatrician and clinical researcher in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics and Director of the Reading Literacy Discovery Center. His unique reading background includes almost 20 years at the helm of blue manatee children’s bookstore, which in 2019 was converted into Blue Manatee Literacy Project, a 501c3 non-profit providing books and reading experiences to underserved children. He has published 29 children’s books, many with health-promoting themes, including screen time reduction (Baby Unplugged), dialogic reading, reading to babies, infant calming, safe sleep, breastfeeding, ADHD and how the heart works. His books have been adopted in statewide public health campaigns and distributed to millions of 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 MRI to better understand the influence of modifiable aspects of home reading and screen environments on structural and functional 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, widely featured in national media.
As a pediatrician, Dr. Hutton is also working to validate efficient screening measures of emergent literacy skills and risk factors for clinical use, to guide early interventions and reinforce the concept of reading as a critical aspect of child health and development. Interventions include specially designed mobile health apps and community-based sessions in dialogic reading. He is also actively developing and applying children’s books for a range of pediatric health literacy and advocacy topics, including in clinical trials.
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).
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