Dr. Jason Reynolds

A Trailblazing Pediatrician

Dr. Jason Reynolds runs the 2017 Boston Marathon for the Miles for Miracles team and Boston Children's Hospital

Dr. Jason Reynolds runs the 2017 Boston Marathon for the Miles for Miracles team and Boston Children’s Hospital

“Our practice always looks for ways to enhance the services we provide our patients, to improve the care that we provide our patients, and for ways to partner with the PPOC or Boston Children’s Hospital to improve pediatric healthcare in general.”  – Dr. Jason Reynolds

The Runner

He seems to be a man of many roles and many talents. For instance, he just completed the 121st Boston Marathon, after taking up running in January 2016. “My first half marathon was March 2016, when I ran the New Bedford half with my son and daughters to raise money for the UMASS Medical Center Organ Transplant Program in honor of my father-in-law who had undergone a liver transplant there in early January,” said Dr. Reynolds. “I found that I liked running, and I can’t believe I’m saying this now, but I have experienced that runner’s high that people talk about—it has turned into my activity to find peace.”

Dr. Reynolds then found himself searching for another half-marathon to run in the fall of 2016, and realized that if he was a charity runner for Dana Farber Cancer Institute, he could run the Boston Athletic Association half-marathon—so he did.

Why Dana Farber? Dr. Reynolds has a passion for cancer research—one that goes back to his medical education, when he studied for his MD and PhD in Pharmacology/Toxicology at Dartmouth Medical School. His research then focused on chemotherapy and how cancer cells become resistant to it.  Following his pediatric residency he started a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship at Dana Farber and Boston Children’s, but after a few months, decided to focus on primary care pediatrics.

In his quest for the next run, he wanted to see if he could tackle the Boston Marathon. Among many charities, he says it was a no-brainer as to which charity he would support. So in September 2016, he applied to run for Boston Children’s Hospital Miles for Miracles team. Runners are asked to raise at least $5,000, and Dr. Reynolds has raised $8,350 (as of the writing of this article).  “Before I did it, I was thinking I’d needed to run a marathon only once for the experience. Now I’m thinking—it’s a lot to think about because it’s a lot of training—maybe I can run in 2018,” Dr. Reynolds mused. “I probably ran over 400 miles between January and April—a combination of treadmill, outside, in the snow, in the rain, in the cold weather. And then on Marathon day, it was 70 degrees!”

The PPOC Member

“Belonging to the PPOC, and being part of the community of pediatricians… being part of a group providing quality initiatives, is both rewarding and stimulating.”  – Dr. Jason Reynolds

How did he start in medicine? Interested in cancer research and treating cancer. Where is he now? Among his many roles, Dr. Jason Reynolds is a pediatrician with Wareham Pediatrics, where he’s been on staff since 2002. “While I haven’t done any cancer research since my fellowship, I have taken part in PPOC research initiatives. We were a site for two PPOC studies—the prevention of otitis medium using xylitol, and another looking at the asthma controller medicine to albuterol ratio,” said Dr. Reynolds. “I also love participating in the learning communities.”

He pursues his professional interests through collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital as well, recently publishing a paper in Clinical Obesity, “Creating an integrated care model for childhood obesity: A randomized pilot study utilizing telehealth in a community primary care setting.” Working with the Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) clinic at BCH, and the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center, Dr. Reynolds feels that he now has more tools to offer encouragement, counseling, nutritional advice, and to help families troubleshoot ways they can lose weight. He enjoys thinking about diseases in a physiological way.

“What you realize is even in pediatrics, the kids might not have a disease like heart disease or hypertension, but they could have a mother who is homeless, a father who smokes, or they could have other situational issues. There are so many contributing factors in the child’s health. Taking the child’s environment into account is important,” said Dr. Reynolds.

Dr. Reynolds has been very active in the PPOC community, currently serving as an Epic Physician Trainer, educating his PPOC colleagues about the new Electronic Medical Record (EMR), Epic, that the organization is implementing across 81 practices. He was also co-chair of the EMR-selection committee in 2016, and served on the Information Technology Steering Committee. He is a leader, serving a term on the PPOC Board of Directors. “It’s nice to have an idea of what’s happening in the healthcare world and what we can do to advocate for our practices and patients. The big draw to the PPOC initially was contracting and being part of a pediatric-specific organization. For myself, it was the opportunity to be affiliated with BCH.”

The Trailblazer

Dr. Reynolds is honored by the Bristol South District Medical Society as the 2017 Community Clinician of the Year, an honor recognizing his professionalism and contributions as a physician.

Dr. Reynolds is honored by the Bristol South District Medical Society as the 2017 Community Clinician of the Year, an honor recognizing his professionalism and contributions as a physician.

His involvement in the PPOC led him to another milestone. Through a grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, the PPOC partnered with BCH’s Adolescent Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) to enhance the integration of substance abuse treatment in pediatric primary care. As part of this collaboration, Wareham Pediatrics is the first primary care practice to add an ASAP provider to their behavioral health team. This was a milestone not only for the PPOC and ASAP/BCH, but also for Wareham Pediatrics, which sits in the geographic thick of opioid use in Massachusetts. Veteran ASAP social worker Shannon Mountain-Ray is providing direct patient care, educating staff and providers about how to identify substance use problems, conducting brief intervention, and making referrals to treatment. To support this work, Dr. Reynolds and his colleague Dr. Steven Mendes became credentialed to provide medication-assisted (suboxone, naltrexone, buprenorphine and vivitrol) treatment for youth with opioid-use disorders, placing them among only 320 pediatricians nationwide who are taking on this critical work in primary care.

“The ASAP counselor we have is great. Having her expertise here has improved the way we screen for substance use in our population,” said Dr. Reynolds. “It gives us tools to feel like we can make a difference, either learning from Shannon, things we can do to reinforce good behavior, or how to express concerns we have for patients and families.”

“We live in an area that has been struck very hard by the opioid epidemic, and we see lots of babies born addicted to opiates in our hospitals down here. So, being part of this pilot project to see if we can bring specialty care to the community in a way that a primary care pediatrician partners and collaborates with a clinic up at BCH is novel and exciting. The opportunity to be part of that is one of those benefits we get from being part of the PPOC.”