{ Championing Fatherhood }

Part 2: A Family-Centered Model for Enhancing Maternal and Child Health Through Fatherhood Programming

Most Recent Fatherhood Posts

Nov 18, 2021



This post is the second in a two-part series written by Barre Morris. For context, be sure to read Part 1: A Family-Centered Model for Enhancing Maternal and Child Health Through Fatherhood Programming.

A Model for Fatherhood Programming

In September of 2021, the University of Texas’ Health Science Institutional Review Board approved and registered my Quality Improvement project titled: “IMPROVING PATIENT & FAMILY EXPERIENCES, AND REDUCING RISKS OF ADVERSE MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH OUTCOMES.” Memorial Hermann Medical Group physicians have been invited to refer their patients, expecting mothers, and their partners (dads), to register expecting moms to participate in sessions of Understanding Dad™ with Mom as a Gateway™ Booster Session and their expecting partners to participate in 24/7 Dad® sessions. We will deliver all of the sessions over Zoom beginning this December. For this UTHealth Quality Improvement project, Memorial Hermann physicians are recruiting patients that are:

  • Expecting moms before 20 weeks of gestation
  • Preferred, but not limited to, non-white, unmarried with a partner involved (e.g. husband or cohabiting dad)
  • Planning to deliver at a Memorial Hermann hospital

I will facilitate 24/7 Dad® with one of Memorial Hermann’s Registered Nurses (RN) and Patient Educator’s as a co-facilitator. She will facilitate Understanding Dad™ with Mom as a Gateway Booster Session, and I will be her co-facilitator. We will evaluate child-birth outcomes pre- and post-intervention that will include:

  • Maternal and infant mortality rates
  • Number of complications during the hospitalized labor and delivery (length-of-stay)
  • Number of women readmitted after discharge
  • Number of children with neonatal abstinence syndrome
  • Breastfeeding incidence at discharge

We will also measure other outcomes captured by the surveys included with each NFI program, such as fathers’ acquisition of the five traits of the 24/7 Dad and mothers’ understanding of the importance of father involvement).

Broader Implication for Hospital Systems and Healthcare Organizations

There are many people that have been living in the American society with a misunderstood meaning of what a “man”, “father” or “dad” truly is, means, and does, whether one has been present in the home full-time, or not. Therefore, we can all learn to better define, understand, and explain that definition and the role of an involved dad, and the impact he can have on his children. At Memorial Hermann, we believe family-centered parent education will help men in the Greater Houston area continue rising to their calling as loving, affectionate, supportive, and engaged fathers. Men can grow in their self-awareness, and learn how to be better co-parents with the mother of their children. In addition, women can also gain a better understanding of themselves and men, then become better co-parenting partners with the fathers of their children, whether living single, married, separated, or divorced. As a result, more and more children can develop with healthy models of the role of each parent from both of their parents throughout their entire lives.

We want and believe everyone should have an equitable opportunity to access quality healthcare services, including perinatal parent education to thrive in their community today, and for future generations. Offering a family-centered perinatal education program may help to improve patient and family experiences, increase breastfeeding incidence, and reduce potential adverse maternal and child health outcomes during the prenatal care period, and at delivery. We expect this program and the intention behind our EDI efforts to disrupt the traditional structures and systems that drive poor health outcomes and other social ills to co-create healthier communities.

Parents and their family members can become more empowered with a mutual understanding of their emotions and how to manage those emotions better to improve their relationships with one another. Ultimately, parents can be intentional about decreasing the amount of suffering and the number of adverse hardships they experience before and after a child is born into their family, then brought into their homes.

We look forward to partnering with NFI, the University of Texas Health Science Center, the Prenatal-to-3 (PN3) Policy Impact Center at The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs, and other partners in this vital endeavor and to reporting on its outcomes in this blog.

Be sure to read Part 3 of this blog series here.

Does your organization have an EDI effort?

Do you see the need to include dads in EDI efforts for parents?

barre_morrisBarre Morris is a father of three children ages fifteen to twenty-five.  He is a certified Project Management Professional and has managed IT software development projects and led project teams for over twenty years.  He is a former college Computer Science Instructor, Microsoft IT Sr. Program Manager, and an award-winning Microsoft Application Platform Solution Specialist for their Energy sales market.  Barre is also a powerful and compelling public speaker earning Toastmaster International's Competent Communicator and Leadership awards.

Presently, Barre manages projects, leads IT project teams, and clinical nursing teams to advance nursing science for one of the largest not-for-profit health systems in Texas,  Memorial Hermann Healthcare System.   As a result of his project management and team leadership, four (4) new Convenient Care Centers opened in the past three years on-time in the Houston metropolitan area.   Patients and their families now have more convenient ways to access 24-hour emergency, imaging and diagnostics, lab, breast care, and Physical Therapy healthcare services in the largest city in the Southwest region of the United States.

In mid-July of 2000, Barre was left in a non-responsive coma for three days after he suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI).  A Dodge Ram pickup truck slammed into his car on the driver’s side –while racing against a Chevy Camaro through a red light. The wreck was so severe it required the Jaws of Life® to extract him from his vehicle.  He flew on his first helicopter ride on Memorial Hermann Life Flight® to the Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute in Houston, utterly unaware of everything going on.

In 2016, Memorial Hermann came to Barre’s rescue again.  But, it was from a job loss and unemployment due to a recession within the oil and gas industry impacting him and the entire Houston job market.  Barre had just recently relocated back to Houston due to a re-organization and dismissal from work at Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle, Washington, two years prior.  While he was receiving outpatient rehabilitation services at TIRR Memorial Hermann for residual effects from his brain injury, Barre was also interviewing for a job at Memorial Hermann.  Once he completed his therapy, Barre started his new job and career in healthcare at Memorial Hermann, as a Senior Project Manager within the Project Management Office of its Information System Division.        

Over the past five years, Barre committed his study and training to the field of health and wellness. He is a certified Personal Fitness Trainer with the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), and an Integrative Health and Wellness Life Coach.  Barre also completed the Father Engagement Certificate™ (FEC) training program from National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI).

Learn more about the Father Engagement Academy by National Fatherhood Initiative

Topics: evidence-based programs, fatherhood research, Featured, general fatherhood resources

Subscribe to Championing Fatherhood


Get the Father Engagement Resources You Need

Visit our Store