UAMS Enrolling Dads in Fatherhood FIRE, A Free Enrichment Program in Northwest Arkansas

By David Wise

UAMS administers the program through its Office of Community Health and Research with funding by the U.S. Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. Through the Fatherhood FIRE (Family-focused, Interconnected, Resilient and Essential) program, trained community health workers provide case management, resources and education to current and soon-to-be fathers. Program materials are provided in English, Spanish and Marshallese.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about one in four children in the U.S. live without a biological, step or adoptive father in the home. Research shows that children who grow up with absent fathers are at greater risk of poverty, behavior problems, substance abuse, teen pregnancy and more.

“Children with fathers who are uninvolved or absent face significantly more challenges at home, in school and in adulthood,” said Hershell West, research program manager for the UAMS Office of Community Health and Research.  “Our programs help dads be the best versions of themselves so they can give their children more opportunities to succeed.”

Father and daughter on playground

UAMS offers Fatherhood FIRE educational classes both virtually and in-person to dads in Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties. In addition to receiving resources and education, participants in Fatherhood FIRE are also eligible for multiple incentives to help their families lead healthy, successful lives.

To learn more about UAMS’ Family Wellness programs, visit

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 3,047 students, 873 medical residents and fellows, and six dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

The UAMS Northwest Regional Campus includes 288 medical, pharmacy, nursing and health professions students, 64 medical and pharmacy residents, two sports medicine fellows and 1,000 community-based faculty. The campus has nine clinics including a student-led clinic and physical, occupational and speech therapy. Faculty conduct research to reduce health disparities. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.