WORCESTER, Mass. — UMass Memorial is partnering with a nonprofit to help kids form good financial habits early on in life.
In waiting rooms of the pediatric primary care and specialty care clinics, pre-programmed tablets will have financial literacy games available for kids to play. The clinics serve more than 60,000 children each year.
The Boston-based nonprofit FitMoney said over the past few years, Americans’ financial stress has been at an all time high, and with stress comes negative impacts to your overall health.
The organization’s executive director Jessica Pelletier said this latest effort brings FitMoney's work outside of the classroom, and she hopes it proves just as effective.
“When you're talking about health, who better than your pediatrician?" Pelletier said. "It's really important for them to work with their families and their young patients on healthy behaviors, good food choices and being smart about seatbelts and bike helmets, but we forget that money decisions are also really behavioral, and therefore they really need to start at such a young age.”
Dr. Arvin Garg, vice chair of health equity at UMass Memorial, said the new partnership resembles other efforts UMass Memorial has made to help teach kids when they visit.
"It's very much akin to this model called Reach out and Read, which has been really impactful for reading by giving books to children at their doctor visits from ages six to months to five years," Dr. Garg said. "And we see this as an exact corollary for this. So not only to improve reading and read, but improve financial literacy moving forward as part of the care we're delivering to children as pediatricians, as we try to optimize their health and development through their life."
The partnership was coordinated between FitMoney and UMass Memorial’s Child Health Equity Center, which strives to address adverse social determinants of health for children and their families.