To my Followers: New Traveling Website

I have noticed that many of my 27 follows (so many followers) have blogs about traveling; and therefore may not be interested in my fatherhood research.

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So, I have created a new blog called Swedish Traveling, which emphasizes my travels throughout Sweden, Swedish culture, and my travels throughout the world.

If you feel like this is more interesting, please feel free to visit my Swedish Traveling blog and sign-up to be a follower there.

Subsequently, I have removed the traveling blogs from my Researching Parents blog, so that that blog focuses solely on my research.

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Families and Family Policies in Sweden: My Book Chapter

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A year ago I received notice that the book Handbook of Family Policies Across the Globe would be coming out in the summer of 2013. I was so elated, as Disa Bergnehr and I had spent time researching and writing a chapter of this book entitled Families and Family Policies in Sweden.

 

And then the book arrived and has been sitting on my bookshelf ever since, pulling it out to find sources or pretend to show-off by having my name in a book. But that’s because I know the material.

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The information in my book chapter is highly important. The chapter consists of Sweden’s family policies, ranging from domestic abuse to same-sex marriage to children’s rights to parental leave.

Anyone wanting to know more about Sweden and how it operates can easily read this chapter and get a nice overview of the benefits and struggles within Swedish family policy.

To see the abstract click here or read below.

To read an unpublished version of this book chapter click here.

To read my official book chapter and learn about all of the family policies across the globe, you can purchase the book here. The book includes reviews from 28 countries around the globe and from every continent (minus Antarctica).

Abstract:

Sweden is known as a social welfare state, whereby the people who reside in Sweden are entitled to certain public benefits at little or no cost to the individual. Over the past century, Sweden has reshaped its culture, growing from one of the poorest nations in Europe to a flourishing country that others emulate, especially with respect to their family policies. Sweden has developed several foundational family policies that have helped to encourage equality, while establishing a sense of individuality. Sweden has created similar rights for cohabiters/married couples, as well as for same-sex/opposite-sex couples. Parents receive a generous parental leave package, flexible employment choices, and there is a low gender wage gap, while children receive high-quality childcare, free health care, free dental care, free mental health services, and a substantial child welfare program. Swedish family policies encourage both parents to work and to help each other with household and childcare tasks. Despite the public benefits that Sweden provides for mothers, fathers, and children, there is still a need for further improvements regarding policies on domestic violence, poverty, and child welfare. Assessments of Sweden’s family policies are discussed.

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Inequalities in Parenting Support for Fathers of Young Children in Sweden: ISSOP Conference Presentation 2014

The International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP) Conference 2014 was held in Gothenburg, Sweden at the Nordic School for Public Health.

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While at the conference, I had one oral and one poster presentation.

The oral presentation was entitled “Inequalities in Parenting Support for Fathers of Young Children in Sweden: Looking at Child Health Centers and Parent Support Programs.

Take-home message:

Sweden prides itself on gender equality and fathers have been show to be beneficial to child development. However, the Swedish child health centers and parents support programs create barriers to father entry.

If fathers are to be involved, then we must encourage them to come; and definitely not use the same tactics with fathers as we do with mothers, as they have different needs.

To see the presentation, please click on the attached powerpoint.

 

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There were about 60-70 people who listened to my talk, which felt great to have such an audience. But even better, after this talk, five different people approached me to congratulate my work, share their experiences, and to network. And two more expressed their interest via email after the conference.

One man came up to shake my hand, and then stepped away. I started speaking with others who had questions for me, but noticed that he started talking to my supervisor, Anna Sarkadi.

When I finally caught up with my group (having missed lunch thanks to all of the wonderful and interested audience members), I heard what the man talked to Anna about.

“We would like Michael to come give his presentation to all of the nurses in Umeå this fall,” he said.

“But he doesn’t speak Swedish. Do you think that’ll be a problem for the nurses,” Anna replied.

“I don’t care if it’s a slight problem,” he said. “This is information they need to hear.”

Nothing makes a researcher feel better than when others say that their work is  important :)

And so I will present at the Barnhälsovårdens nationella konferens (National Child Health Conference) in October 2014.

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I also had a poster presentation. This received much less attention, as posters normally do. I had printed handouts for both my oral and my poster sessions. After 2.5 days at the conference, only 3 poster handouts had been taken.

So when I went to give my oral presentation, I figured I’d lay them out, along with the oral presentation handouts. After my oral presentation, all handouts were gone!

My poster was called “A Qualitative Study on Parental Participation and their Perceptions of the Triple P Curriculum.”

Click on the poster below:

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ISSOP is a wonderful conference if you’re in the field of social pediatrics and child health.

Click here to read about my Social Pediatrics colleagues’ presentations, click here to read about how we brought our research to the streets of Gothenburg, click here to read about the ISSOP conference overall, and click here to see the pictures of sites I saw in Gothenburg.

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Child behaviour problems, parenting behaviours and parental adjustment in mothers and fathers in Sweden

Publishing aScreen Shot 2014-07-09 at 1.59.00 PM peer-reviewed article is always important in the academic world. Not only do you get to promote yourself and your abilities, but more importantly, you get to promote your findings. Better still would be for someone to pick up your work and institute change based on your findings.

It is our hope that Swedish politicians and bureaucrats take heed of the messages within this article, and further help in providing needed support to parents who struggle with child behavior problems.

Raziye Salari was the lead author on a paper entitled Child behaviour problems, parenting behaviours and parental adjustment in mothers and fathers in Sweden. Anna Sarkadi and myself were co-authors.

The article is published in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health.

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The abstract and link to the full article can also be found on my researchgate page.

Main message:

Although Sweden is seen as a country that promotes parenting and has lots of family policies to encourage strong parent-child relationships, parents in Sweden still may struggle with child behavioral issues. Therefore, support for these parents is still needed and warranted.

To see the abstract, click here (or read below):

Aims: We aim to examine the relationship between child behavioural problems and several parental factors, particularly parental behaviours as reported by both mothers and fathers in a sample of preschool children in Sweden.

Methods: Participants were mothers and fathers of 504 3- to 5-year-olds that were recruited through preschools. They completed a set of questionnaires including the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory, Parenting Sense of Competence Scale, Parenting
Scale, Parent Problem Checklist, Dyadic Adjustment Scale and Depression Anxiety Stress Scale.

Results: Correlational analyses showed that parent-reported child behaviour problems were positively associated with ineffective parenting practices and interparental conflicts and negatively related to parental competence. Regression analyses showed that, for both mothers and fathers, higher levels of parental over-reactivity and interparental conflict over child-rearing issues and lower levels of parental satisfaction were the most salient factors in predicting their reports of disruptive child behaviour.

Conclusions: This study revealed that Swedish parents’ perceptions of their parenting is related to their ratings of child behaviour problems which therefore implies that parent training programs can be useful in addressing behavioural problems in Swedish children.

 

Now I can officially call myself a public health researcher!

 

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Ph.D. Half-time Seminar: Parenting Support for Fathers in Sweden: The Role of Child Health Centers and Parent Support Programs for Young Children

On March 30th, 2014 I completed my half-time (halvtid) seminar at Uppsala University in Sweden. The title of my half-time was called Parenting Support for Fathers in Sweden: The Role of Child Health Centers and Parent Support Programs for Young Children.

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The half-time is important: It stresses that you’re half-way completed with your Ph.D. Since you should have four publications to earn your Ph.D. in Medicine at Uppsala University, two articles should be completed (or mostly completed) before hosting your half-time.

I, Michael Wells, am in Social Pediatrics (Dr Anna Sarkadi) which is part of the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health in the Faculty of Medicine at Uppsala University.

My half-time committee including Dr. Sven Bremberg, Dr. Pia Enebrink, and Dr. Birgitta Essen.

My half-time consisted of three studies:

  • Wells, M.B., Engman, J., & Sarkadi, A. Gender equality in Swedish child health centres: An analysis of their physical environments and parental behaviours. Accepted for publication in Semiotica: Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies.
  • Wells, M.B., Varga, G., Kerstis, B., & Sarkadi, A. (2013). Swedish child health nurses’ views of early father involvement: A qualitative study. Acta Paediatrica, 102(7), 755-761.
  • Salari, R., Wells, M.B., & Sarkadi, A. Child behaviour problems, parenting behaviours and parental adjustment in mothers and fathers in Sweden. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. (Revise and Resubmit).

Along with that, you should have taken two compulsory courses:

  • Introduction to Doctoral Studies (1.5 credits)
  • Introduction to Scientific Research (9.0 credits).

These are the only two mandatory courses a student has to take if they are in the Faculty (Department) of Medicine.

Thankfully I not only had taken those two courses, but I had also sat through several other lectures, including a week long lesson in York, England called Foundations of Economic Evaluation in Health Care (through the York Expert Workshops found here).

Only one other requirement is needed (and to be fair, it’s only needed before graduating): the Ph.D. student should also attend conferences, presenting at least two posters and one oral presentation. Thankfully I had completed this requirement, and therefore don’t need to worry about that before graduating (although I will still go to many more, as I love presenting my research and spreading the word about gender equality in Sweden).

Months before your half-time, your supervisor should select three committee members. This is because people are quite busy and trying to book them last minute can be quite tedious and even cause delays. These three committee members may or may not be at your Ph.D. defense, but they will provide valuable insight into your research by challenging your research, as well as providing guidance as you move forward with your final studies and framing the four manuscripts into a logical story (e.g. the red thread).

To see the official list (in Swedish) of the guidelines for half-time, click here (these may be specific to Women’s and Children’s Health, but provide good overall advice as well).

A Basic Breakdown of the Guidelines:

Three weeks before your half-time, you should email your kappa (aka jacka–as a jacka is jacket, while a kappa [your actual Ph.D. defense book] refers to a long overcoat; hence jacka is used as a funny term to describe being half-way completed) to your three committee members. Your jacka/kappa contains two things:

  1. The Jacka: This is a manuscript telling the story of your research, including your published studies, and a discussion and future research section. When writing the jacka/kappa, the Introduction should frame your studies into the larger picture of where your studies fit. Your studies, especially the Methods and Results sections are then added into the jacka, but severely trimmed down: so that they don’t exactly repeat what the articles say, but still can stand on their own, possessing all of the really important information from your studies. The Discussion section should be next, followed by a Future Research section, which typically highlights your other papers that will comprise your Ph.D. defense. These are added in so that the half-time committee can understand how all of the studies tie together, as well as provide advice on the additional papers. A basic abstract is warranted on each manuscript in the Future Research section.
  2. Attach the full-length studies your half-time is based on (whether actually published or in manuscript form). This is done so that the half-time committee may read more specifically what you have done. All three committee members may or may not fully read your actual articles, which is why the jacka is so important.

About a week before the half-time defense, your half-time is made public (i.e. university emails are sent out reminding everyone of your seminar and when and where it’s located). People may or may not show up.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 12.29.04 AMPreparing for your half-time is extremely important; after all, you’re representing your supervisors, your research team, and of course yourself. Plus, making good impressions on your committee may help lead to further job prospects. Dr Raziye Salari helped me tremendously in preparing for my half-time, especially in understanding my statistics on a deeper level (specific statistics questions may or may not be asked, but confidence levels sure rise if a greater level of understanding is achieved [aka learn as much as you can]). But to see a list of the Top 10 most frequently asked questions, click here. Knowing the answers to these questions will greatly help when preparing for your half-time or a Ph.D. defense!

The total half-time defense lasts for about three hours. The day of the half-time consists of several things:

  1. Make sure lunch and fika (snacks) are ordered as appropriate
  2. Give a 20 (to 30) minute presentation to the general public and your 3 committee members
  3. Defend your thesis and participate in a constructive research dialogue with your 3 committee members in front of the general public for about an hour and 45 minutes
  4. Committee members meet privately with your supervisor and co-supervisors to discuss your progress
  5. Committee members meet privately to decide if you’ve passed your half-time
  6. Your supervisor is notified by the committee members, who then informs you of the decision
  7. Pay raise is given :)

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Attached here are my powerpoint slides, as well as my half-time jacka (even with the various editing errors that I realized after I had sent it out).

Parenting Support for Fathers in Sweden Half Time Jacka

Parenting Support for Fathers in Sweden Half-time Jacka Pdf

 

 

After the committee deliberation, I found out that I had passed my half-time!

 

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Bringing Swedish Lessons to Australia: Presenting at the 16th Annual Helping Families Change Conference

I recently had the opportunity to present some of my research findings at the 16th Annual Helping Families Change Conference (HFCC) in Sydney, Australia. In order to see a list of all the presentations, along with most of their respective powerpoints, click on this HFCC link or click here to read presenters’ abstracts.

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The symposium I was in was called Parenting in a Cross-Cultural Context, and I was able to present next to Dr Rachel Calam from the University of Manchester and PhD Candidate Konstantinos Foskolos (his ResearchGate link) from Oxford University. Another researcher, Dr Susan Stern from the University of Toronto was supposed to present her findings, but unfortunately she fell ill right before the conference.

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Dr. Calam was presenting on behalf of one of her students who couldn’t make it to the conference. They had completed an RCT in central America, showing that parents (mothers) who received Triple P could benefit from the program.

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Konstantinos Foskolos presented his findings from his RCT on Cypriot parents (mothers) receiving Triple P, although some of the findings were not significant.

Below is his powerpoint presentation (click on it to open the full powerpoint):

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I, Michael Wells, along with Dr Raziye Salari presented findings on which background factors mothers and fathers have when comparing those who do and do not participate in a universally-offered, practitioner-led parent support program (Triple P).

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As it turns out from our Swedish sample, mothers possessed 5 characteristics that made them more likely to participate: 1) if they were born in Sweden, 2) had a college degree, 3) were overreactive with their parenting, 4) had a boy, and 5) if they perceived their child as having behavior problems.

Fathers were more likely to participate if they perceived themselves as stressed and if they perceived emotional problems in their children.

Clearly mothers and fathers participated for different reasons. Therefore, when marketing a parent support program or when giving the intervention, practitioners should be aware of the parents’ different needs, especially if trying to recruit and retain fathers.

In other words, just talking about behavior problems in children will not get fathers in the door nor keep them attending sessions–as they are not concerned with this problem, mothers are. Fathers would like more information on how to manage children’s emotional problems.

Additionally, we found that the more background factors a parent had, the more likely they were to attend. Therefore, if mothers were only struggling with behavior problems, but did not have a college degree, were from another country, had a girl, and didn’t overreact when managing their child’s behaviors, then they weren’t likely to attend, even though they could still benefit from the program.

Therefore universally-offered programs may be reaching the parents most in need, but that doesn’t mean they’re reaching all of the parents in need.

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In another symposium entitled Implementation Issues: Current and Future Issues of Significance, my co-researcher, Dr Raziye Salari, gave a presentation. 

Dr Raziye Salari also gave a presentation on marketing parenting programs to families through online advertisements. One picture had a preventative message, while the other showed a promotion ad. The prevention picture is highlighted by a child giving “the finger” while the promotion ad is highlighted by a child giving the peace sign–with the idea being that you either don’t want this to happen to your child or come get the skills so that life can go well.

Dr Salari and her co-researcher, Anna Backman, concluded that while the prevention ad receives more clicks, neither program is more likely to have parents actually sign-up for the parent support program; These findings are contrary to the theoretical work that these researchers found, where parents stated that they would be more likely to join if they saw the promotion ad.

However, both ads may attract different parents, and therefore both types of ads should be used when trying to promote a parent support program to parents.

Click here to read about the conference as a whole.

16th Annual Helping Families Change Conference 2014: Sydney, Australia

The 16th Annual Helping Families Change Conference (HFCC) was held on February 19th – 21st, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.

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After receiving a travel grant from FORTE, I was on my way to the land down under. I attended the actual conference (2 days), while sadly, missing the day prior to the conference; the workshop.

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 1.12.05 PMThis was sad, as I had heard several people talk about how amazing the talks were; and for me, I wish I was able to hear the talk on father involvement (a talk that at least 7 people told me was great to listen to) given by Dr Louise Keown and Tenille Frank (PhD Candidate).

The Audience: About 300 researchers, practitioners, and policy makers attended the conference. Most speakers appeared to be researchers, while most audience members seemed to be practitioners (with a few policy makers sprinkled in). People were very easy to talk to, friendly, and helpful!

Peculiar Phrases: An interesting outsiders note was that nearly every keynote speaker gave a nod to the indigenous people of Australia. I found it peculiar to thank the indigenous population for allowing research to occur on their land–after all, most Australians were born in Australia. Click here to read a bit about Australia and their reconciliation ideas for past wrong-doings.

Another interesting factoid was that nearly all speakers said “Parent support programs, like Triple P,…” It was just peculiar to constantly hear that phrase repeated.

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Keynote Speakers: The conference had a number of keynote speakers, and they were, as a whole, quite good at discussing research, while speaking in practical tones and relating the importance of the findings to practitioners. Really, a great way to connect with all members of the audience. To see the keynote speakers’ powerpoints (and nearly every other presenters’ powerpoints) click this HFCC website.

In fact the whole first half of each day was devoted to keynote speakers. To see a pdf list of all of the keynote speakers and the titles of their talks click here and click here to see a pdf of everyone’s names and abstracts. Or consequently, you can click here to see the webpage with all of the abstracts.

20140219_233204Being a conference that promotes Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, Dr Matthew Sanders spoke, both at the workshop and as a keynote speaker, and is fantastic to listen to. He, perhaps giving a nod to some of my co-researchers in Sweden, spoke about the past, present, and future of parent training programs, and specifically talked for a while on the cost-effectiveness of a population shift.

20140220_013020Another wonderful talk was given by Dr Rachel Calam from the University of Manchester speaking about reaching vulnerable families.

The Venue: HFCC was held at the Sheraton in Sydney–a very lovely hotel, with fast internet, and amazing food. In fact, I can honestly say that we were served the best seafood, salads, meats, and desserts that I’ve ever had at a conference! It was served buffet style (always risky on quality), the food was quite good quality…and never-ending.

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Posters and Symposium: Since half of the day was spent listening to keynote speakers and the other half listening to symposiums, there weren’t many posters, and posters, although on display during the whole conference, were only subject for review during lunch. And therefore, I felt that the posters weren’t given a lot of respect.

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Having said that, I noticed a unique feature about the posters–it was really hard to find a poster that just discussed one study. Most of the posters were either grouped studies or were theoretical/methodological. In other words, if you want to present your findings on a particular study at HFCC, give a presentation.

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The symposiums were well attended, with 20-30 people listening to the symposium. Having been at conferences where the only audience are the speakers, this was great. And the audience, mostly practitioners, were quite keen on what they could take away from the talks. Therefore, the talks that were less researchy and more applicable received more attention from the audience (aka–less stats/more findings and implications).

Overall, the conference was of high quality on all accounts: organized very well, with email reminders being sent, devoted and friendly staff helping to find symposium rooms, great opportunities to network, passionate keynote speakers, and they even collected the powerpoints from the various symposiums so that others could have access to the talks after the conference. To see those powerpoints, click on this HFCC website, and then feel free to rummage through and find the talk you’re looking for :)

Click here to read about my presentation at the conference.

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First (book chapter) publication: Using Semiotics to Research Father Involvement in Sweden Child Health Care Centers

In the summer of 2008, I flew over to Sweden for the first time. In fact, I flew the day I graduated from Ohio State University with my master’s degree in Human Development and Family Science.

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I was offered a 3 month summer job doing fatherhood research for Dr Anna Sarkadi (see her blog here), Uppsala University.

I was quickly assigned to travel around Sweden in order to see why fathers weren’t visiting the Child Health Centers (Barnavårdscentral [BVC] in Swedish) as often as mothers. I went to 6 different counties; heading into cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg and Uppsala to rural areas like Tanumshede and in between places like Mora and Leksand.

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I set off to find out what some of the barriers and obstacles might be by interviewing nurse from the Child Health Centers on how they involve fathers, as well as assessed the waiting room environment.

Assessing the waiting room was quite novel and unique. We used a process called semiotics, which helps people to understand a picture at both its manifest and latent level. The manifest level tells exactly what’s seen in a picture, while the latent analysis tells what is meant by that picture.

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So for example, when looking at gender differences:  At the manifest level, these pictures on the bulletin board shows a woman running (physical activity), while a man is smoking (tobacco habits). The other two pictures are not of people, and therefore are excluded from this analysis. Latent: These pictures convey a positive health message about women and a negative health message about men.

Before this analysis, semiotics was just used to describe one picture. What we’ve since done was to say that an entire environment can be assessed using this technique. So we (Jonas Engman, Anna Sarkadi, and myself) analyzed each picture of men, women, and children (differentiating men from fathers and women from mothers if there were or were not children in that picture) and then tallied them up to see how many messages on the manifest level were there related to men/fathers, women/mothers, and children and then how many of those were positive or negative.

If the room was mostly equal between these three groups, then it was termed Family Oriented, meaning that all members of the family were welcome. However, if one of the family members was missing, then different terms were used such as, mother-child oriented, woman oriented, and child oriented. A fifth group was termed neutral, as there were no pictures of people on the wall within the waiting room.

My first book chapter was published with co-author Jonas Engman in the Swedish-written book Föräldrastöd i Sverige idag – Vad, När, och Hur? (Parental Support in Sweden today – What, When and How?

The book chapter is linked in here: BVC Book Chapter

My chapter

An English article is forthcoming in the journal Semiotica.

If you analyzed this picture, what would be the manifest and latent analysis (viewing only the picture, not the words):

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Presenting to Swedish Pediatricians on the Fathers’ Role within Hospitals

At the end of May 2013, I was asked to give a presentation on father involvement in the international medical sphere. Click here to see that posting.

The talk was so well-received that Dr Jan Gustafsson, the head of the Department of  Women’s and Children’s Health, which is part of the Faculty of Medicine at Uppsala University, asked me to come to a Friday lunch.

I was asked to expand my talk from 20 minutes into an hour long presentation. What a great honor to highlight a topic that I’m so passionate about!

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Since I would only be speaking to pediatricians who work at the University Hospital (Akademiska Sjukhuset) in Uppsala, I tailored my lecture towards them, focusing only on Swedish medical research related to father involvement, and of course including my take on the pictures/posters/brochures that were advertised throughout their hospital and how those represent (don’t represent) fathers.

See the slides from my talk here:

Fathers in Swedish Child Health Care

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The room was packed with 20-30 pediatricians. However, they were mandated to be at my lecture, so I was a bit unsure of how intrigued they would be.

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To my chagrin, the pediatricians didn’t challenge me on how medical staff in Sweden treats fathers compared to mothers

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After the talk, many pediatricians asked questions and acknowledged that they didn’t treat fathers as equally as mothers.

But some who spoke stated that they wanted to change their behavior:

One pediatrician told me that she only calls the mother, except when she doesn’t have her phone number, but now would start consciously thinking about calling fathers.

Another person said “maybe we should rethink our Department name: ‘Women’s and Children’s Health’, and call it something else like ‘Family and Children’s Health.'”

Maybe nothing will change within the hospital setting, but I had done my job–provoke the pediatricians to start a discussion on increasing their responsibilities in involving fathers. Step 1 accomplished.

Google and Father Gender Equality

There is a new UN campaign that uses Google to make a point on women’s rights by typing in simple search terms into Google (i.e. women can’t, women can, women shouldn’t, etc) and seeing what the auto-fill completes.

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Click here to see the UN Women Ad Campaign.

Naturally, as the ad campaign wanted me to feel, I felt quite appalled at the search terms people use for “women”.

As a fatherhood researcher, I wondered what search terms people use. Unfortunately there seemed to be a lot of songs about fathers, like when I type “fathers cannot” or “fathers can” I get the following responses:

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Two out of the four auto-fills for “fathers can” suggest that people search for the extent that fathers can be involved– they can “support breastfeeding” and they can “be mothers”.

Below are other findings using different search terms:

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These search terms suggest that people are still craving knowledge about the fathers’ role (e.g. “can fathers…”, as well as fighting for fathers’ rights (e.g. “fathers are…”).

However other fill-ins belittle fathers (e.g. “fathers are the curse,” “why father’s shouldn’t change diapers”).

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Being asked to present to Swedish doctors on father involvement

Social Pediatrics sits just beyond the others in the Faculty of Medicine (and even beyond those in the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health) at Uppsala University, both literally and figuratively.

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So, in order to help bridge that gap, Anna Sarkadi, the leader of the Social Pediatrics Research Group, thought that it would be a nice idea to bring in three presenters to speak about important topics related to health, while at the same time promoting our team by hosting the presentations and having a poster session prior to the presentations.

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One guest speaker came each month for three months to give a 20 minute presentation on some topic involving families and health. Click here to see the monthly schedule of speakers (written in Swedish and English depending on the presenters language).

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 11.45.43 AMThe first speaker was Sven Bremberg (pictured left), a huge name in Sweden, especially when talking about child health, is an Associate Professor at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

Bendeguz Nagy, a Hungarian traveller, explores the world in his wheelchair, allowing him to photograph and experience the world from a different view-point. He gave a speech on a few different cultures he encountered, highlighting through pictures the differences in family life. To see some of his pictures click here for his photography website.

The third presenter was myself, Michael Wells, who talked about father involvement within the healthcare field in Sweden and Internationally. Click here to see the slides from my presentation.

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Unfortunately, beyond our research group, only a handful of people showed up for Sven’s and Bendeguz’s talks, so I wasn’t expecting much of a crowd. So when I saw that the room was not only packed, but people were standing, I thought that this must be an important topic that Swedish medical workers care about.

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The talked reverberated with the audience, with several people afterwards giving testimonials as fathers, while workers from the hospital described how they involved (didn’t involve) fathers. Since the talk was such a hit, Jan Gustafsson, the Head of the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, asked me to come to a lunch seminar for all pediatricians in the fall of 2013 to present for an hour and 15 minutes on the topic of father involvement in healthcare.

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A Quantitative Look at Preschool Teachers’ Retention: A Study on Head Start Teachers

 

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 10.39.13 AMI was just at the 23rd EECERA Conference: Values, Culture and Contexts hosted by the European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) in Tallinn, Estonia where I gave a presentation entitled A Quantitative Look at Preschool Teachers’ Retention: A Study on Head Start Teachers. Click here to see my presentation.

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I presented in an oral session under the heading Leadership and Quality, which felt quite fitting, as this research was completed in an effort to improve the quality of classroom instruction by motivating the leadership to make

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 10.53.59 AMneeded changes in order to keep preschool teachers teaching. My research was on head start teacher retention, and comparing those preschool teachers who stayed versus those who quit working for Head Start. I found that the reasons preschool teachers quit are due to five main factors: the center director (their boss), their stress levels, their amount of paperwork, their wanting to stay in Early Childhood Education as a career and their level of higher education.

There were two other presenters in this session: Elina Fonsen from the University of Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 3.32.20 PMTampere (Finland) who gave a presentation called “Dimensions of pedagogical leadership in Early Childhood Education and Care” and Geraldine Davis from Anglia Ruskin University (UK) talked about “Graduate Leader Plus. Making a difference beyond education.”

Elina promoted her new book chapter, while Geraldine discussed teachers’ education levels and the benefits from those who participated in Leadership Plus.

Read about the overall aspects of the conference here.

To read more about Tallinn, Estonia (and the Old Town in Tallinn) click here.

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ISSOP Conference 2014: The Uppsala University Social Pediatric Team Meets Gothenburg

The 2014 ISSOP Conference was held in Gothenburg. ISSOP stands for the International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health. Most of our research group, Social Pediatrics at Uppsala University, attended and presented at this conference, either with oral presentations or with posters. There were only about a dozen or less posters at the conference and the designated times to view them where during breaks, so not many people spent time around the posters. However, the oral presentations were very well attended.

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The conference was a great venue for our research team, as many audience members showed a great deal of enthusiasm for our research.

Below are some pictures from talks from members of our research group.

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Pär Bokström presenting on In My Shoes: a program designed to better elicit information from children
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Anna Sarkadi discussing a novel way of analyzing population differences after an intervention
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Filipa Sampaio presenting on the cost-effectiveness of parenting programs
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Kine Johansen presenting on SOMP-I: early motor development techniques
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Thomas Wallby presenting on the Swedish register data through BHV
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Lisa Wellander giving a presentation on the costs of child mental ill-health and alternative ways of reducing mental ill-health while lowering costs for municipalities.

Click here to read about my presentations, click here to read about the ISSOP conference as a whole, click here to read about how we brought our research to the streets of Gothenburg, and click here to read about my time in Gothenburg.

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International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health: 2014 Conference in Gothenburg

The International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP) held their 2014 Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden from June 16-18. Click here to see the outline of the conference and click here to get to a webpage to download any or all of the conference presentations.

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The conference was held at the Nordic School of Public Health. Sadly, at the end of 2014, the Nordic School of Public Health is closing its doors after being the oldest public health department for the Scandinavian countries.

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The venue however was great, as the backdrop to the conference was the North Sea (Skagerrak & Kattegat more specifically) allowing for many great sunsets to be seen.

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The conference consisted of 150-200 people, with main speakers presenting mainly on an overview of a certain topic, helpfully introducing the next parallel session. The great thing about the parallel sessions was that there were only two to choose from, meaning that each presenter had an audience of at least 60 people.

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Lisa presenting in one of the parallel sessions

Since the conference is so specific to a certain field, many of the people there (mainly researchers and bureaucrats) had excellent questions and insights.

The conference was also set up in such a way that there was plenty of downtime between the sessions (often an hour or more). This meant that it was easy to network and no need to rush off to try to get 5 minutes in with someone before the next session.

Lunches were rather plain, with simple sandwiches, but snacks/fika was also provided in the morning and afternoon. Typically this was fruit in the morning and something sweet in the afternoon.

However, the dinners were quite grandiose. The first night the participants were treated to a lovely boat excursion around part of Gothenburg’s archipelago (with a complimentary dinner and two alcoholic drinks served).

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The second night was at a Rådhuset (finger foods and one alcoholic drink served). Lots of time for mingling and networking.

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Overall the ISSOP conference is of high quality with a lot of interested people attending, coming from all over the world. But recognize that not all of the participants are researchers and therefore the presentations should be tailored as such.

Click here to read about my (Michael B. Wells’) presentation and poster, click here to read about my Social Pediatrics colleagues’ presentations, click here to read about how we brought our research to the streets of Gothenburg, and click here to see the pictures I took of Gothenburg.

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Team Building in Gothenburg

Our research team, Social Pediatrics, headed out to Gothenburg (Göteborg) to attend the International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP) 2014 Conference.

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While making our way from Uppsala to Gothenburg, our boss, Anna Sarkadi, handed us an envelop. Inside contained instructions on what we were to do once we arrived in Gothenburg:

1) Form one of two groups and create a name

2) Rent a bike

3) Bike to the Opera House (6 km, each way) and show/describe our research posters to random passer-by people

4) Interview parents and children on their thoughts about the use of timeout

5) Find a gift for group members who aren’t with us at the conference. It has to be free, meaningful, and connected to Gothenburg

6) Prepare an 8 minute powerpoint presentation in less than 10 minutes to present to the group

The winning will receive a free dinner and be allowed to bring with them one external researcher (plus free wine if that researcher is not from Sweden).

AKA–talk to people about parenting research, present findings, and network.

Below are some pictures showing the amazingness of team building.

Notes
Notes from interviewing parents and children on timeout usage
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Maria started to chat with people on the train about their thoughts on timeout usage. Children didn’t want it to be used, since they thought it was mean, while parents thought it was important sometimes.

 

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Biking to the Opera House
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6 km to the Opera House, but a beautiful view!
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Promoting Maria’s bedtime peeing research to random tourists at the Opera House in Gothenburg
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Natalie, Maria, and myself celebrating that we had promoted our research on the streets of Gothenburg

 

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Anton couldn’t be with us since he had just had a baby, so we thought a new home was in order

What better way to bring your research literally to the streets!

Click here to read about the ISSOP conference, click here to read about Uppsala’s Social Pediatrics Research Group talks, click here to read about my (Michael B. Wells’) presentation, and click here to read about some highlights in Gothenburg.

 



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