Mom reading book to newborn

St. John’s Regional Medical Center’s NICU Part of Nationwide Read-a-thon

Media Contact: Christina Zicklin, (310) 922-8522,

OXNARD, CA – September 13, 2021 – This week, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Dignity Health-St. John’s Regional Medical Center (SJRMC) joins approximately 120 NICUs across the country, participating in the nationwide Babies With Books read-a-thon–a national competition that promotes the development of premature babies through reading.

The competition from Sept. 13 – 23 aims to encourage NICU parents and staff to read to the infants in the unit every day. A tally is kept every time a book is read to a baby.

“Reading to a baby helps not only with language development and early literacy, but also promotes bonding,” explains Sajani Tipnis, MD, Medical Director of the NICU at SJRMC. “The read-a-thon presents a unique opportunity for NICU parents to actively participate in the care and development of their baby during an otherwise stressful time.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, reading with babies creates and strengthens neural connections that “promote … social-emotional development…and language and literacy skills during this critical period of early brain and child development.” Additionally, reading to babies in the NICU can help parents develop the same feelings of bonding that parents of healthy newborns cultivate in the days after a baby’s birth.

Books for this competition were generously donated by local Girl Scout Adriana Ferraro in her efforts to make a difference in her community and earn the Girl Scouts Gold Award.


About Dignity Health - St. John’s Regional Medical Center
Founded in 1912, Dignity Health - St. John's Regional Medical Center (SJRMC) is a 365-bed, acute care, non-profit hospital located in Oxnard, Calif. Serving Ventura County for more than one hundred years, SJRMC has been named a Top 250 hospital by Healthgrades. As a leader in stroke care, SJRMC is the first and only Certified Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center in Ventura County and is a recipient of the American Heart Association's, Get with the Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. Designated as a STEMI Receiving Center, SJRMC is highly recognized for excellence in cardiac care and has been named a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care by Blue Shield of California. Its Cancer Center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. SJRMC is home to the only all-private room, Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Ventura County. Learn more at