Member to Members

Member states were asked to answer the following question:

What strategies do you use to get men (including young men) involved in MCH issues in your state?

Lisa A. Davis, RN, BSN, MBA
Management Team Leader
Public Health Initiatives Branch, Connecticut Department of Public Health

To increase male participation in MCH issues, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Title V program has used a variety of strategies. (1) Stipends are provided to men/fathers who participate on the First Time Motherhood/New Parents Initiatives grant Advisory Committee; (2) When necessary, meetings are conducted in the evening, at a time that is more conducive for working men; and (3) focus groups are conducted by collaborating with other organizations that have existing male (parenting) groups. For our upcoming MCH Needs Assessment, we conducted a focus group with men from both the New Haven and Hartford areas, and in the very near future will be including men as a specific target group for the upcoming statewide MCH telephone survey.

In collaboration with Real Dads Forever, DPH has developed an “Early Attachment Curriculum” that will be piloted this summer in the City of Hartford and will be implemented as part of the recently awarded Federal Healthy Start grant. The purpose of this 12 week curriculum is to strengthen and enhance the role of fathers in their support of mothers during and after pregnancy.

The DPH MCH staff maintains a seat on the State Department of Social Services’ (DSS) statewide Fatherhood Initiative Council and DSS maintains on active role on the statewide MCH Advisory Council.

Myrtis Sullivan, MD, MPHIllinois
Myrtis Sullivan, MD, MPH
Associate Director
Office of Family Health, Illinois Department of Human Services

In order to increase male participation in MCH issues, The Illinois Department of Human Services funds two male involvement programs, Peer Advocates for Health (PAH) and Project Brother. The programs are designed to increase awareness of and access to reproductive health information and family planning services for both adolescent and adult males in Chicago.

Peer Advocates for Health is a community-based program for adolescent males in Chicago. PAH provides intense training and individual support to young men in Chicago area communities. The program has three primary goals: 1) increase knowledge of reproductive health issues, 2) improve lifestyles choices, and 3) increase utilization of health services among adolescent males.

Project Brotherhood provides medical and social support services to sexually active men 18 to 45 years old who are determined to be socially and/or medically at risk by the medical providers at Provident Hospital and Komed Health Center. The Project includes a social support group that meets each week during the clinic session in a drop-in center setting.

Male Involvement Program Effectiveness
• Since 2000, 145 young African American males have been trained as Peer Advocates.
• Peer Advocates have provided information to and served as role models for 7,000 young men and women and distributed 20,000 condoms in their own communities.
• Project Brotherhood has provided medical and social services on site at weekly health clinics; including physical exams, general health care and illness management, health counseling; HIV counseling and testing, educational sessions on STD/HIV prevention, family planning services for fathers and other health seminars to approximately 21,000 clients.


New Mexico
Susan Nalder
MCH Epidemiologist-Policy Analyst
Family Health Bureau, Public Health Division, New Mexico Department of Health

Valerie Fisher
Community Education & Male Involvement Coordinator
New Mexico Department of Health Family Planning Program

REEL FATHERS is a nonprofit organization that brings people together to view films that address powerful issues around fathers, their children and families — and to reflect afterwards on the questions raised by the characters and situations depicted in the film. It is an innovative response to the pressing need to focus positive public attention on fathers, to promote and celebrate committed, loving relationships between fathers and children, and to promote healing. Following a screening, participants engage in guided discussions and various forms of creative expression to explore relationships. In doing so, they gain insight into troubled as well as constructive patterns of behavior, acquire new skills of supportive communication, and are inspired to make positive changes in key family relationships. Participating groups have included Head Start, parenting programs, former inmate programs and others.

In the Department of Health, the Family Health Bureau and Public Health Division work with REEL FATHERS by serving on the steering committee and advisory board for REEL FATHERS, providing technical assistance in program development, evaluation tools, attending events and endorsing its efforts through letters of support.

To learn more, contact Executive Director Deborah Boldt at

Virgin Islands
C. Patricia Penn
Director , MCH & CSHCN Program
V.I. Department of Health

Through an ongoing collaboration with The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) and the Virgin Islands Perinatal, Inc., the U.S. Virgin Islands Title V program is increasing male involvement in MCH programs by:

  1. Hosting a Doctor Dad Training Institute in St. Croix. This training brought together over 20 representatives from hospitals, clinics, pregnancy centers, and other community based organizations. The goal of this training is to educate healthcare providers, who will equip new and expectant fathers with practical child health and safety knowledge and information.
  2. Distribution of health education materials to males who accompany their partners to prenatal clinic appointments. The materials include child safety information and parenting resources. The packet is designed to improve communication and relationship skills for new and expecting fathers.
  3. Working with the Fatherhood Collaborative, which is a program of the CFVI.  The mission of the collaborative is to foster increased recognition of the importance of responsible fatherhood in the lives of children, youth and families in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Specifically, the Community Foundation has focused on issues related to fatherhood and has provided leadership in a number of different fatherhood-related efforts.

For more information on these projects please contact:
Tamesha Antoine
Program Manager, Healthy Families, Healthy Babies Initiative
Virgin Islands Perinatal Inc.

For more information of the CFVI contact:
Dee Baecher-Brown
Executive Director