Fatherhood/Health & Well-Being

Fatherhood and the Health & Well-Being of Boys and Men

The NHSA fatherhood/male involvement initiative, Where Dads Matter, evolved around the years of Healthy Start projects consistently expressing a need to make Healthy Start sites more father inclusive.

NHSA has a comprehensive perspective of fatherhood that consists of:

  • Providing an historical foundation on the role of men and fathers and why their involvement in the family matters,
  • Examining the impact of father involvement on maternal health and birth outcomes to identify opportunities to enhance and strengthen projects,
  • Identifying strategies to strengthen family resilience by viewing father involvement as a protective factor and
  • Creating opportunities for men to engage in their own health, as well as their child’s health before, during, after and beyond pregnancy.

NHSA’s Fatherhood Programs & Projects

Summit on Fatherhood and the Health and Wellness of Boys and Men

NHSA partners annually with national experts, researchers and local practitioners to host the Summit on Fatherhood and the Health and Wellness of Boys and Men. The summit presenters provide the most current research and trends related to fatherhood and men’s health, which support the advancement of Healthy Start projects fatherhood programs.

Core Adaptive Model for Fatherhood and Male Involvement

NHSA provides training and technical assistance to fatherhood and male involvement programs built around the Core Adaptive Model for Fatherhood and Male Involvement (NHSA CAM for Fatherhood™). NHSA CAM for Fatherhood™ offers fatherhood and male involvement programs an opportunity to engage in models for men that focus on the well-being of children, self‐sufficiency and life skills, economic stability and healthy relationships between parents. Men’s health is also a critical thread woven throughout the NHSA CAM for Fatherhood™ .

NHSA CAM for Fatherhood™ is built around core elements, key objectives and measures that are based on an examination of over 100 national evidenced-­‐based and promising practices programs and integrated with lessons learned from practice, research and evaluation conducted with Healthy Start projects. NHSA CAM for Fatherhood™ meets programs where they are and works to move them to a model program.

Fatherhood Practitioners Planning Team

The NHSA Fatherhood Practitioners Planning Team (FPPT) consists of fatherhood practitioners representing various Healthy Start regions. The FPPT provides support to fatherhood practitioners across Healthy Start projects to:

  • Communicate and disseminate information, tools and resources about men’s health and fatherhood.
  • Mentor new and current fatherhood practitioners who are new to the Healthy Start program, men’s health and application of the life course model.
  • Organize, plan and coordinate webinars, conferences and events in support of men’s health and fatherhood.
  • Deliver tools and resources to other fatherhood practitioners in the region.

Training and Technical Assistance

NHSA serves as the lead partner to provide training and technical assistance focused on fatherhood, for the HRSA-funded Supporting Healthy Start Performance Project housed at the National Institute for Child Health Quality.

Text for Dads

The NHSA Text for Dads program provides messaging for expectant and new fathers.  The messaging includes topics such as child development that spans pregnancy, infant and toddler developmental periods. The texts specifically link the health and well-being of fathers to the outcomes of the child and mother. This linkage is important, and it underscores the value that fathers can/do have on the health and well-being outcomes of their family and themselves. NHSA has piloted Text for Dads and plans to launch it with the Healthy Start projects in the summer of 2021. Watch this space for details!

Fatherhood Resources

NHSA Publications

It Takes Two to Tango: Defining the Role of Fathers (PDF), NHSA Issue Brief, 2010
Where is the F in MCH? Father Involvement in African American Families (PDF), Ethnicity & Disease, 2010
Healthy Start Fathers – Real Life, Read Dads (PDF), NHSA, 2014

Other Publications

Before Pregnancy: Information for Men, CDC
Father Facts 7, National Fatherhood Initiative/Fatherhood Research and Practice Network, 2015
40+ Top Fatherhood Resources, Prepared for the Annie E. Casey Foundation by JustPartners, 2011
A Community Perspective on the Role of Fathers During Pregnancy: A Qualitative Study, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 2013

Websites/Other Resources

National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (Fatherhood.gov). The goals of the NRFC are to provide, facilitate, and disseminate current research and proven and innovative strategies that will encourage and strengthen fathers and families and providers of services.
National Partnership for Community Leadership. NPCL Educates community leaders and empowers fragile families.
Men’s Health (Statistics and Data), National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “FastStats is an official application from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and puts access to topic-specific statistics at your fingertips.”

More on Men’s Health

Men’s Health Network:  www.menshealthnetwork.org
Men’s Health Month:  www.menshealthmonth.org
Men’s Health Resource Center:  www.menshealthresourcecenter.org

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a specific Health Advisory recommending urgent action to increase COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant and breastfeeding people. Check out CDC’s updated guidance on COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding.

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