- Antonio Garcia, PhD, MSW
- David Cozart, MTH
- Rafael Pérez-Figueroa, MD, MPH
Research Project Description
A faculty member from University of Kentucky College of Social Work and College of Public Health will team up with the director of The Fatherhood Initiative, a program of Lexington Leadership Foundation that provides fathers evidence-informed parenting workshops ("24/7 DAD" and "Inside- Out Dad"). These workshops are intended to equip fathers with the skills, education, and resources to be responsible fathers.
Acknowledging that limited research guides how best to engage fathers in general and those whose children are involved in the child welfare system in particular, the RWJ sponsored research project will address the following aims:
- Examine if the evidence-informed curriculum (a) increase fathers' skills and knowledge to promote their children's physical, educational, health/mental health, social/emotional, and spiritual well-being, and (b) increase their knowledge of positive parenting practices, and (c) facilitate positive father-child interactions;
- Determine if/how the curriculum needs to be adapted to better equip fathers of children involved in child welfare with the capacity to achieve intended outcomes; and
- Acknowledging child welfare workers will need to endorse or "buy" into the programming, illuminate their perceptions of the adapted model and effective strategies for engaging fathers.
Pre-post surveys will be administered to fathers to assess if the curriculum achieves intended outcomes. One-on-one interviews with fathers who complete the curricula will be conducted to elicit their feedback on what resources and capacities are needed to promote their children's well-being in all facets, and how the program should be adapted for child welfare involved families. Focus groups will be held with child welfare caseworkers to gain their feedback on the program. Based upon findings, the team will identify and mobilize additional community partners and systems to maximize the capacities for fathers to promote their children's well-being.
Antonio Garcia, PhD, MSW
Antonio Garcia, PhD, MSW, is an Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Social Work, and a former child welfare caseworker. Having broad inter-disciplinary training in Psychology, Spanish, and Social Work, he is committed to effectively engaging community stakeholders to shrink the child welfare research to practice gap. Ultimately, his career goal is to increase provider and agency capacity to implement evidence-based, trauma-informed interventions for youth and caregivers.
David Cozart, MTH
David Cozart, MTH, is an accomplished and dedicated community organizer with 25+ years of professional experience. Past and present experiences have aided in the development of an innovative leader with a focus on consensus building, and community rejuvenation. Particular interest and expertise orbit around the issues of fatherhood/positive male development and collective impact service delivery models that have been accumulated and implemented through this career.
Rafael Pérez-Figueroa, MD, MPH
Rafael E. Pérez-Figueroa, MD, MPH, is the Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Public Health Practice at the Rutgers University School of Public Health, and an Associate Professor of Urban-Global Public Health. He studies the mechanisms through which historically and contemporary under resourced populations experience health inequities. He does this by engaging in theoretically driven research that seeks to disentangle the effects of different social determinants of health on the outcomes of these populations. Most of his scholarly work focuses on public health issues related to HIV/AIDS prevention and care, substance use and abuse, harm reduction, mental health, and healthcare utilization. He uses different community-engaged approaches to study these issues, focusing on the interplay between social, structural, and environmental factors that influence health systems in which inequities are embedded. He emphasizes on conducting community-engaged research work and public health practice that directly aligns to the translation, diffusion, and implementation of evidence-based health strategies into community practice and policies.