Professor of Public Health
Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Fathers’ psychological well-being and interpersonal behavior are vital to family stability and child health. When fathers do not function well as partners and parents, their children and partners suffer the consequences. On the other hand, when fathers are supportive of their partners, they can ameliorate the typical and atypical challenges that accompany pregnancy and motherhood. Although most young men want to be good fathers and partners, some do not have the skills to manage relationship and personal problems, which undermines their ability to function as parents and co-parents. This presentation describes an innovative approach to helping fathers prepare for the challenges of parenthood in tandem with their partners prenatal health services. Research evidence and case material will be used to articulate the potential public health value of helping expectant fathers support their partners and function well as parents.
Paul Florsheim is a Professor in the Joseph Zilber School of Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he continues to do intervention research with young parents and teaches classes on public health/mental health and community-based intervention research. He recently published “Lost and Found: Young Fathers in the Age of Unwed Parenthood” (Oxford University Press, 2020) which chronicles the lives of several fathers as they transition to parenthood, weaving social history, developmental psychology and family therapy into their stories. Lost and Found ends with an innovative proposal for father-inclusive prenatal care to help stabilize young families. Dr. Florsheim co-wrote “The Young Parenthood Program: A Guide to Helping Young Mothers and Fathers Become Effective Co-parents” (Oxford, 2014) with Dr. Sheri Johnson, Director of the Population Health Institute at UW-Madison. Dr. Florsheim is the academic partner on a new Community Impact Grant from the Wisconsin Partnership Program, which will use a public health model to prevent child abuse.