The father of all research projects

Breadwinner. Authority figure. Affectionate at times, perhaps, but in a remote sort of way.

Playful, loving, cooing, willing and able to change a diaper when duty calls.

With a younger generation of men in developing countries being exposed to new ideas and changing cultures, the somewhat distant father figure of the past is transforming into a hands-on parent who spends quality time and energy with his young ones.

For nursing associate professor Lynn Rempel, that’s great news.

“The children of most involved fathers are found to have higher IQs, are more successful in school, have better emotional regulation and are less likely to have behavioural problems,” she says. “Even within the first year, you can see differences in cognitive development in infants who have responsive fathers who are engaged in play and other activities.”

Rempel is a member of a research team that aims to increase the involvement of fathers in their infants’ and toddlers’ lives as a way of improving children’s physical, cognitive and emotional development from conception to age two.

Funding the team is a $270,000 grant from the Saving Brains program, an initiative of Grand Challenges Canada, a program funded by the Government of Canada that supports “bold ideas with big impact in global health.”

Rempel and her colleague from St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, John Rempel, will be conducting research co-led by Tran Bich from Hanoi’s School of Public Health in Vietnam.

Their project – titled “Fathers Involvement: Saving Brains in Vietnam” – entails implementing a number of activities among 400 couples (and their 400 children) in several communities.

Activities include:
• small group antenatal and postpartum education through community health centres
• individual, home-based counselling
• multimedia messages about the importance of breastfeeding and fathers’ support for this
• “Fathers Clubs” developed with the labour trade union and the Farmers Association to provide peer support.

One goal is to train a few men to lead “Fathers Clubs,” which would encourage men to interact more with their children, Rempel says. In a past research initiative, groups of participants took part in a father contest, complete with poems, songs and skits, to see “who loves his wife and child the most” by encouraging mothers’ breastfeeding, Rempel says.

“The Saving Brains grant allows us to scale up work that’s already been happening in Vietnam and to support research in a way that will make it possible for us to do a strong test of whether father involvement can make a difference and how we can affect father involvement in Vietnam,” Rempel says.

She added her team hopes to create a model or “template” of activities that can be used to increase father involvement in other developing countries and that can be flexible ,according to the comfort level of men and their partners.

The Grand Challenges Canada Saving Brains program focuses on interventions that nurture and protect early brain development in the first 1,000 days of life. “It is designed to help millions of children in developing countries who fail to reach their full development potential due to such factors as malnutrition, infection, birth complications, or a lack of nurturing and stimulation at an early age,” says Laureen Harper, Saving Brains honourary chairwoman.

“Impoverished brains result in impoverished countries,” says Peter Singer, CEO of Grand Challenges Canada. “For a wide range of sad, all-too-familiar and preventable reasons, an estimated 200 million children under five years old in the world’s 112 low- and middle-income countries will fail to reach their brain’s full development potential.”

A total of 14 projects will be implemented in five African, six Asian and three Latin American/Caribbean countries. Seed grants of $270,000 are given to partner organizations in these countries. Three other seed grants are given to Canadian organizations.

– See more at: http://www.brocku.ca/brock-news/?p=24927#sthash.Vg6USkhv.dpuf

 

REPOSTED WITH PERMISSION FROM BROCK UNIVERSITY.

Tagged: Community, Culture, Health, Annoucements, Stories

Share: Print

Leave Comments

Blog Posts

Georges Sioui on spiritual ...

Araina Bond | October 24, 2014

Georges E. Sioui studies Aboriginal education, culture and religion at the University of Ottawa. Sioui, who is Huron-Wendat, has recently noticed a resurgence of matricentrist values among young people. read more »
Manipulus florum

From manuscript to search ...

Guest blog by Chris Nighman | October 23, 2014

Long before the advent of the Internet, and well before Gutenberg invented moveable type, medieval intellectuals devised information technologies to take advantage of a growing mass of Big Data repositories known as “manuscripts.” read more »

If you’re happy ...

Cathy Majtenyi | October 22, 2014

Brock University recently launched a series of monthly podcasts covering a wide range of themes. As part of our own package of “Belief” related blog posts, Research Matters is pleased to present this exclusive interview with Brock Associate Professor of Psychology, Michael Busseri. Busseri will join two other colleagues to explore this topic in Brock’s January 2015 podcast, “What gives us a sense of wellbeing?” read more »

Lucid dreaming depends on ...

Trent University Staff | October 21, 2014

New research by Trent University Oshawa Anthropology professor Roger Lohmann and graduate student Shayne Dahl indicates that cultural learning shapes the kind of awareness and control people can experience while dreaming. “Scouring the ethnographic record on dreaming for hints of lucidity under Professor Lohmann’s guidance, I found something surprising: that lucid dreaming is widely thought to have serious consequences,” said Dahl, who completed his M.A. thesis, “Knowing Means Connecting with the Source of Life: Knowledge and Ethics among Blackfoot Traditionalists” at Trent in 2012. (He is now a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto.) “As one of my Blackfoot informants put it, ‘You could die in your dream.’” Lohmann and Dahl’s findings were published in the 2014 collection, Lucid Dreaming: New Perspectives on Consciousness in Sleep. Lucid dreaming – waking consciousness arising during a dream – has been a hot topic of scientific research in recent years. According to Lohmann and Dahl, the common assumption that dreams are products of isolated imaginations has distorted our understanding of lucidity’s variation in form, function, and real-world outcomes. Pop culture portrayals in films such as Avatar and Inception present fantasies where lucid dreaming enables marvelous real-world powers. Many traditional and religious cultural worldviews take the relationship between waking and dream worlds as reality rather than fantasy. Lohmann’s fieldwork in Papua New Guinea among the Asabano people explored how they used dreaming as evidence for and contact with supernatural beings. “Asabano converts often told me that seeing dreams of Jesus or Heaven convinced them that what the missionary told them was true,” said Lohmann. “It struck me that they had to believe their dreams were more than figments of their own imaginations to reach that conclusion, and that I, for example, would not be convinced by the same experience because of my different cultural background.” Similarly, Dahl’s fieldwork in Alberta included encounters with Aboriginal medicine men who practiced lucid dreaming. “Shayne’s field experiences and his search of ethnographic literature brought home to us that lucid dreaming has profound potential for people who think it’s more than just a fantasy. We found that descriptions of lucid dreams are radically different in form, function, and outcome depending on the cultural assumptions of the dreamer,” said Lohmann. Their research revealed evidence that in some cultures, lucid dreaming is unknown, while in others it is a commonly taught skill. In some, lucidity is tacit rather than acknowledged, but people nevertheless believe that they actively undertake goals in their dreams. Lohmann and Dahl found that this implicitly lucid “volitional dreaming” commonly appears in ethnographic accounts of dreaming. In cultures where “generative” theory holds sway, dreaming of something is understood to cause it to happen in the waking world. This leads people to experience lucid dreams as opportunities to create or do magic. By contrast, people who believe dreams are what one sees during “soul travel” use lucid dreams as an opportunity to spiritually visit real places. “Even when we consciously disbelieve our dreams,” Dahl said, “They still affect us at a deeper, emotional level that we can’t easily control with reason.” “All of this shows that cultural dream theories are multiple, that people invoke them in complex ways, and that they are at the very core of what lucid dreaming is and what it makes possible,” said Lohmann. This story was originally published by Trent University on, July 15, 2014. Is has been edited for style, brevity and clarity and appears here with permission.

In money we trust

U of T Staff (With introduction by Patchen Barss) | October 20, 2014

A few years ago, late, late at night, I was tooling around the streets of Ottawa in the back seat of a Jeep being driven by former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge. American economist and Nobel Laureate George Akerlof was riding shotgun. read more »
More Blogs »