The Amplifying Black Fathers Research Lab & The Black Love Lab
Dr. Brianna Lemmons
Dr. Lemmons is an Assistant Professor in the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Spelman College and her Master of Social Work and Doctorate in Social Work from Howard University. Her current research focuses on predictors of Black father involvement with children, the role of Black fathers in child development and well-being, the impact of fathering on Black male development, the structure and functioning of Black families, and the integration of fatherhood content in social work education.
Rachel Ghosh is a fourth-year doctoral student in Human Development and Quantitative Methodology at the University of Maryland. She received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan, with a minor in Community Action and Social Change. Her current research focuses on ethnic-minority fathers, father-child relationships, and the impacts of father involvement on children’s social and emotional development throughout the lifespan. She is also interested in programs and policy that promote healthy development and resilience among low-income children, fathers, and families.
Dr. Brandie Bentley
Brandie Bentley is a doctoral student in the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. She earned her MSW from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and previously earned a BSW from Eastern Michigan University. Brandie’s current research addresses health inequities, specifically focusing on the experiences of people with disabilities. Through exploring the complex intersection of race and disability, she seeks to understand how social determinants of health play out in systems, such as public health service settings, for Black families. As an extension of this work, her research also focuses on fathers’ role in promoting positive maternal and child health outcomes.
Saraí Muñiz is in her final year of her MSW and previously finalized an MDIV at Baylor University. She received her BA in History with a double minor in Religion and Speech Communication from East Texas Baptist University. Her current research interest is the impact of social welfare on multiple populations, including fathers and immigrants. She is interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in social work specializing in policy administration.
Brittany Hinkle (Research Assistant)
Brittany Hinkle is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology at Howard University. She received a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Georgia. Brittany continued her education at the University of Georgia, receiving her Master of Education in Professional Counseling with an emphasis in Community Counseling. Her current research includes investigating the functioning of African American children, adolescents, couples, and families regarding communication, parenting, parent-child relationships, and diverse family structures. Brittany is also interested in policy and research that informs her practice in infant mental health.
Dr. Ashley Sanders (Faculty Affiliate)
Dr. Sanders is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Saginaw Valley State University. She received her A.A. in Science from Carl Sandburg College, and both a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Communication and a Bachelor of Social Work from Saginaw Valley State University. Additionally, she received her Master of Social Work from Michigan State University and her Doctorate in Education in Community Care and Counseling with a focus on marriage and family from Liberty University. Her current research focuses on the father-daughter relationship among Black families, the impact of the supportive mother during father absenteeism among Black families, mental health concerns in the Black community, as well as the structure, function, and resiliency of Black families.
Dr. Zee Suntai
Dr. Zainab Suntai is an assistant professor at Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. As a dedicated researcher committed to the ethical value of social justice, Dr. Suntai’s research focuses on identifying and addressing racial disparities in the areas of physical, mental, and behavioral health among older adults. Dr. Suntai's research portfolio includes diverse studies such as investigating racial differences in substance use treatment completion among older adults, examining racial differences in end-of-life outcomes among older adults, and exploring the impact of transportation on the health and well-being of older adults. Dr. Suntai has also integrated the theory of intersectionality into her research, examining the impact of combined identities like race and gender, race and veteran status, and race and sexual orientation on various social outcomes. Drawing from her practice experience as a licensed social worker, including roles as a Medicaid case manager, support group coordinator, and caregiver program coordinator, Dr. Suntai brings a valuable perspective to gerontology research. As part of her future research agenda, Dr. Suntai aims to continue pursuing social justice and equity for all individuals, with a commitment to developing innovative interventions that improve the quality of life for underserved older adults and their loved ones.
OUR CURRENT PROJECTS
THE FATHERHOOD HEALTH & ATTITUDES SURVEY
The Father Health and Attitudes Survey Project (FHAS) is a collaborative and interdisciplinary research project that seeks to obtain data from a nationally representative sample of fathers (n=500), with an oversampling of Black fathers. This project is designed to recruit fathers as the direct respondent as much of the existing data on fatherhood has been obtained from mothers as the direct respondent. In addition, this project intentionally incorporates a focus on health and mental health related variables (i.e., depressive symptoms, barriers to help seeking, physical health), as well as those variables that tend to be understudied among fathers in national studies (i.e., forgiveness, anger, intrinsic spirituality, race-related stress, work-related stress).
THE FOLLOWING YOUNG FATHERS FORWARD PROJECT
The Following Young Fathers Forward (FYFF) Project is a collaborative, interdisciplinary, and international research project that focuses on international, comparative qualitative inquiry into the lives and support needs of young fathers, ages 18-25.
THE INTEGRATION OF FATHERHOOD CONTENT INTO SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION
The Integration of Fatherhood Content Into Social Work Education Project seeks to promote the integration of fatherhood content into social work curricula, particularly in core courses, such as HBSE, Direct Practice, and Policy. The inclusion of such content is intended to increase social workers’ skills and ability to more effectively engage with fathers in practice settings.
BLACK FATHER INVOLVEMENT IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROJECT
In collaboration with Children’s Home and Aid (a community-based organization in Chicago, IL), the goal of this project is to explore barriers and facilitators to the involvement of African American fathers in early childhood education and to make recommendations for curriculum development to increase fathers’ involvement, thereby improving the educational outcomes of their children.
GRIEF & LOSS EXPERIENCES AMONG NON-RESIDENT BLACK FATHERS
This project explores the experiences of non-residential fathers from an ambiguous loss theory perspective. Specifically, it explores how feelings of grief and loss may be present for nonresidential fathers and their children. Furthermore, it explores two types of ambiguous loss; physical loss (a father who is physically away due to military deployment, living in a different state/country, or other circumstance) and psychological loss (a father who is physically present, but unable to have a relationship with their child due to custody issues, a physical or mental illness, and so forth).
HEALTHY MARITAL RELATIONSHIPS AMONG OLDER BLACK ADULTS
This project explores the experiences of older Black couples living in the United States., with an emphasis on marital satisfaction, the role of faith, and the value of family.