Fatherhood symposium to feature world leaders in parenting

Professor Paul Ramchandani, a leading UK researcher into the area of fathers’ mental health, is a keynote speaker at a fatherhood Symposium taking place at Deakin University, Melbourne, in early May.

Leading a team at Cambridge University, Professor Ramchandani is also a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, and currently investigating the impact of fathers’ play on a child’s development. He will be speaking about fathers’ play and depression at the Australian Fatherhood Research Symposium 2019.

Joining him as a keynote speaker is Parents at Work CEO Emma Walsh, who will discuss, "Normalising the conversation about men taking parental leave". Parents at Work has joined a global initiative to advance parental leave equality for fathers and encourage organisations to adopt a shared parental leave approach in Australia.

Contraception pioneer Professor John Aitkens who was named the 2012 NSW Scientist of the Year will address “The Science of Fatherhood –  toxins, trends and treatments".

Professor Aitken’s research group at the University of NSW developed a female contraception that can paralyse sperm as well as provide protection from sexually-transmitted diseases. His team is working to develop a male contraceptive pill.

"Male reproduction is much more complicated. You're not trying to stop the ovulation of one egg a month. You're trying to stop the production of a thousand sperm a second,” he says.

The Australian Father Research Consortium was established in 2017 at the second Symposium to "advance the science of fatherhood," bringing together researchers, practitioners and policy-makers in Australia.

As well as examining AFRC priorities and direction, Friday’s program at the Symposium will include an interactive session titled, "Father inclusive practice: have we made any progress? Where to next? What are the barriers?" chaired by Professor Jan Nicholson from La Trobe University. 

The Symposium includes panel discussions with Richard Fletcher (PhD) - an Associate Professor in the Family Action Centre, Faculty of Health and Medicine at the University of Newcastle, Associate Professor Rebecca Giallo  at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Australian Men’s Health Forum CEO, Glen Poole.

Also as part of the event, delegates are invited to submit a poster of their research, and will be given three minutes to present them at the Symposium, with prizes for the best student poster.

The deadline for poster abstract submissions is 4 March 2019.

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