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Lessons Learned

After closely working with low-income non-custodial fathers for several years regarding their health issues, behaviors and attitudes, the Center has learned the following about working with fathers and implementing a health component:

  • Create a trusting environment so that fathers can develop a relationship with on-site healthcare workers leading to feeling valued, comfortable and not judged
  • Provide access to the nurse practitioner without fathers having to wait for hours or long periods of time
  • Have continuity of interaction with the nurse practitioner in group sessions on men's health issues
  • Help fathers make connections between good health and improvement in their personal quality of life, their children and family
  • Provide supports such as finding and linking fathers to community resources and medical providers that are affordable, provide transportation and assist navigating the medical community.

When they entered the program 1,153 fathers completed a survey designed to gather information about their health behavior practices and perceived health status.

Fathers with no educational degree were more likely to have family and friends as their source of information than those with post-secondary degrees (secondary difference).

Fathers identified the following health coping strategies:

(multiple responses are possible)  

  • 66% relied on prayer
  • 63% used over-the-counter drugs        
  • 61% tried home remedies         
  • 58% simply tried to ignore symptoms and pain