Current and soon-to-be dads can earn incentives, gain knowledge and forge new relationships through a free program offered through the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
The UAMS Office of Community Health and Research’s (UAMS CHR) Family Wellness programs offer free education and resources to help families live longer, healthier lives. Through the Fatherhood FIRE and Healthy Start programs, trained community health workers provide case management, education, clinical navigation and home visiting services to mothers, fathers, couples and children. Community health workers are available to meet in the home, at the clinic, by phone, or in other community settings so they can best address their client’s needs. They help enroll participants in health insurance, connect them to community resources (such as food, childcare, or housing), and provide translation assistance.
Community Health Workers are available who are fluent in English, Spanish and Marshallese, and the programs are open to families in Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties.
UAMS launched Fatherhood FIRE (Family-focused, Interconnected, Resilient, and Essential) last year to help fathers strengthen relationships with their partners and their children, and to engage in healthy behaviors that improve the quality of life for the entire family.
“Children with fathers who are uninvolved or absent face significantly more challenges at home, in school, and in adulthood,” said Hershell West, research program manager for the UAMS Office of Community Health and Research. “Our programs help dads be the best versions of themselves so they can help their children be the best versions of themselves, too.”
According to the Kids Count Data Center, 29% of children in Arkansas live in a home that lacks secure parental employment, and 1 in 5 Arkansan children grow up in poverty, which increases risk factors for youth as they grow. Through the Fatherhood FIRE program, UAMS CHR staff help dads gain knowledge and skills to use outside the program to be more involved and successful as parents.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, classes are offered both virtually and in-person. In addition to resources and education, completers of the Fatherhood FIRE program are eligible for other incentives, such as gift cards.
UAMS CHR’s Healthy Start program is another Family Wellness program available to Madison County families. Through Healthy Start, trained staff make sure mothers get the care they need during and after pregnancy, providing prenatal and postpartum support; helping with family planning and goal setting; and providing in-home wellness services. Home visiting services are available for pregnant or postpartum mothers and includes breastfeeding support, prenatal and postpartum clinical home visits, injury prevention strategies, safe sleep education, and more.
To enroll into the Fatherhood FIRE program, or to have someone contact you with more information, click here.
UAMS CHR is committed to creating a better state of health for all. We seek to identify and understand health needs through research and programs, and work to create an environment where every person has access to their best health. We do this through community-engaged research and programs focused on reducing health disparities through healthy food systems, food equity, family programs, diabetes and cardiometabolic disease prevention and management, community-based health programs and evaluation. For more information about the UAMS Office of Community Health and Research, visit nwa.uams.edu/chr.