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Looking Back to Leap Forward: How Historical Trauma Impacts Fatherhood Today

Thursday, September 14, 2023 - 11:30am to 1:00pm
This was a free virtual event. Links to recording and presentation below.


Fathers with histories of trauma have multiple stressors that interfere with their ability to navigate fatherhood. The historical trauma of some communities has assaulted their ability and opportunity to parent their children, and even impeded the development of healthy parenting skills. The origins of these traumas vary but are connected to the racism evidenced in the legacy of enslavement and forced colonization that has led to myths about fatherhood, especially among African American, Native American and Latino fathers.  These myths can be seen in masculine stereotypes, economic exploitation, and environmental factors.  Recognizing and addressing the impact of historical trauma on fathers can lead to enhancing and strengthening systems to include, connect and engage fathers.   Learn more about the impact of historical trauma on fathers and how we can become advocates for father inclusion to support men to be the fathers their children, families, and communities need them to be and the fathers that they want to be.

Kenn Harris, Vice President for Engagement and Community Partnerships at the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ), Boston, MA

Kenn is a national expert in the field of maternal and child health, public health, fatherhood/ male involvement and community engagement. He worked on “My Brother’s Keeper”, President Obama’s initiative to address the health of boys and men of color. He also has expertise and interest in topics of the impact of racism on health outcomes, equity and addressing men’s health in the age of mass incarceration.

Prior to NICHQ, Kenn served as Vice President for Community Engagement and Director and Principal Investigator of the New Haven Healthy Start program at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven in New Haven, CT. His professional career in MCH and public health spans over 30 years. Kenn is also founder and principal of the MOCHA Fathers & Families Institute (MFFI).

Before starting his job in CT, Kenn worked with the Boston Healthy Start Initiative in Boston, MA, one of the original Healthy Start project. There he established and maintained the Community Consortium and helped create the Father-Friendly Initiative. During his time in Boston, he also served on the “For Fathering Advisory Council” of the Medical Foundation, working with fragile families supporting responsible fathers.

Kenn is a past president of the National Healthy Start Association and helped establish the Association’s Dads Matter Initiative: Where Dads Matter, Washington, DC. He is co-creator of the Core Adaptive Model for Fatherhood (CAM©), an evidenced-informed model for fatherhood/male involvement programs. He is currently working creating an evidenced-based home-visiting program for men and fathers that builds on the lessons-learned from the CAM model for Fatherhood.

Kenn co-authored and published an article “The Health of Young African American Men” in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, 2015). He continues researching Black men’s health and focuses on the integration of health services into programs for men and fathers.  Kenn remains passionate about women’s health, children, fathers and families as well as the health and well-being of the communities in which they live, learn, play and pray.

YouTube Recording of the Presentation

PowerPoint Presentation - Will be posted soon

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