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Jennifer Abbass Dick, PhD - University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Oshawa, ON, CA

Jennifer Abbass Dick, PhD Jennifer Abbass Dick, PhD

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences | University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Oshawa, ON, CANADA

Establishing evidence-informed resources and frameworks to help families transition and thrive as co-parents

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Biography

Accessibility and knowledge translation of healthcare information ensures the best health outcomes and enables people to reach their full potential. This kind of empowerment motivates Jennifer Abbass Dick, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, to lend her voice and expertise to issues that significantly impact family health. As a registered nurse and lactation consultant, she has worked extensively with young families in hospital and community settings throughout her career. Now, she’s making it her mission to equip young families with the tools needed for a healthy and rewarding transition to parenthood.

Dr. Abbass Dick’s research agenda focuses on the design and evaluation of interventions for new parents to increase health outcomes among infants such as breastfeeding. She strives to enable mothers and fathers/partners to work seamlessly as co-parents in meeting their family goals. In collaboration with Dr. Caroline Barakat-Haddad and Dr. Winnie Sun, she is also examining the link between personal and household products and environmental toxins in pregnancy and breastfeeding, with the aim of reducing infant exposure to toxins through pregnancy and breast milk.

She grew up with the belief that there’s nothing more important than health in achieving human potential. This prompted her to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. In 2009, she earned her Master of Nursing specializing in Community Health, and in 2013 she received her Doctorate in Nursing, both from the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto.

She has continued the research from her dissertation: Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Co-parenting Breastfeeding Support Intervention on Exclusive Breastfeeding Rates at 12 Weeks Postpartum, and collaborated on the development of an innovative online breastfeeding resource for mothers and fathers/partners, as well as resources for Indigenous families. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals including, Pediatrics and Midwifery.

Dr. Abbass Dick received the 2016 Durham Region Health Department Friends of Health Award for her contributions in developing evidence-informed resources for families. She serves as an Advisory Committee member with the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario Best Practice Guidelines for Breastfeeding, and the Best Start Resource Centre on Ontario Populations with Lower Breastfeeding Rates.

Industry Expertise (7)

Childcare Education/Learning Health and Wellness Research Program Development Training and Development Women

Areas of Expertise (3)

Breastfeeding Parenting Co-Parenting

Accomplishments (3)

Durham Region Health Department, Friends of Health of Health Award (professional)

2016-01-01

This award recognizes recipients for their support and co-operation in working collaboratively with Health Department program staff in the delivery of programs and/or services.

Advisory Committee Member, RNAO Best Practice Guidelines for Breastfeeding (professional)

2016-01-01

In this role, Dr. Abbass Dick works to improve breastfeeding outcomes for mothers and infants, and
to assist practitioners to apply the best available research evidence to clinical decisions, and to promote the responsible use of health care resources.

Certified Lactation Consultant, International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (professional)

2006-01-01

Dr. Abbass Dick received her certification from one of the world's best lactation and breastfeeding organizations that upholds the highest standards of care.

Education (3)

University of Toronto, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing: PhD, Nursing 2013

University of Toronto, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing: MN, Community Health 2009

Queen's University: BNSc, Nursing 1995

Affiliations (3)

  • Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
  • College of Nurses of Ontario
  • Durham Breastfeeding Coalition

Media Appearances (8)

A digital breastfeeding tool for both mothers and fathers improves self-confidence and knowledge (Canada)

Family Included  online

2017-05-16

An evaluation in Canada of a digital breastfeeding tool that engages both mothers and fathers/partners has been found to be effective in improving parents’ self-confidence in breastfeeding, their attitude to breastfeeding and their knowledge of breastfeeding.

The study was led by Jennifer Abbass Dick at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in 2014-2015.

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Fathers are the biggest influence on breastfeeding according to many mothers

Fatherhood Global  online

2016-10-11

Many studies have shown that mothers often rate the influence of the father on breastfeeding above all others, including professionals and other family members.

Despite this, there is much other research that fathers often get no information about breastfeeding from health professionals. The world’s leading breastfeeding promotion programme, the 10 Steps, makes no reference to fathers and families at all.

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Breastfeeding as family teamwork: a research to practice briefing (Vietnam, Canada)

The Family Initiative  online

2016-10-03

Support from family is critical for the success of breastfeeding: if fathers and family members are supportive of breastfeeding, the mother is more likely to initiate breastfeeding and to breastfeed for longer. Family influence is particularly salient where decision-making is more of a cooperative effort, such as in many developing countries.[1]

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FHS researcher reports benefits of educating dads about breastfeeding

UOIT News  online

2015-02-12

The World Health Organization recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed until six months of age. Health Canada goes as far as to encourage sustained breastfeeding for up to two years or longer with appropriate complementary feeding as an important source of nutrition, immunologic protection, growth and development for infants and toddlers.

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Number of dads taking parental leave on the rise says UOIT professor

Durham Region, Northumberland News, and The Hamilton Spectator  online

2015-04-12

“Fathers are more involved with their infants than they have been historically and this has proved to be very beneficial for both fathers and their children,” says Dr. Jennifer Abbass Dick, with the faculty of health sciences at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

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Teaching Dads About Breastfeeding May Help Moms Stick To It, Study Says

Huffington Post  online

2014-12-03

When new dads were involved in a breastfeeding support program at the hospital, new moms were more likely to still be breastfeeding three months later, a new study showed.

“This is consistent with what is in the literature suggesting fathers play an important role in breastfeeding,” said lead author Jennifer Abbass-Dick of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Canada.

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Teaching dads about breastfeeding may help moms stick to it

Reuters  online

2014-12-01

When new dads were involved in a breastfeeding support program at the hospital, new moms were more likely to still be breastfeeding three months later, a new study showed.

“This is consistent with what is in the literature suggesting fathers play an important role in breastfeeding,” said lead author Jennifer Abbass-Dick of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Canada.

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5 powerful ways to help you cope when you're fed up with breastfeeding

Bravado Designs  online

You see the subject lines on online forum posts once in a while: “Sick of breastfeeding” and “Breastfeeding and bored,” where moms candidly share and vent a bit. And it’s true—there are times when breastfeeding is blissful and bonding, and times when breastfeeding is a frustrating puzzle, and yes, there are times when you’re going to be a little tired of it.

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Event Appearances (10)

Design and Evaluation of an eHealth Intervention: Breastfeeding Resources

Canadian Association of Perinatal and Women's Health Nurses 6th National Conference  Calgary, Alberta

2016-10-21

Investigating the Effectiveness of a Breastfeeding Education Session Delivered in Secondary School Reproductive Curriculum on the Breastfeeding Intentions, Knowledge and Attitude...

Canadian Association of Perinatal and Women's Health Nurses 6th National Conference  Calgary, Alberta

2016-10-21

Explore the Lived Experience of Clinical Teachers to Assess Their Perceptions of Strategies and Resources Utilized to Enhance Clinical Teaching

2016 Canadian Nursing Education Conference in Toronto  Toronto, Ontario

2016-05-30

The Development and Evaluation of Weekly Online Learning Objects for Community Health Nursing: A Work in Progress

2016 Canadian Nursing Education Conference  Toronto, Ontario

2016-05-30

Poster Presentation: Designing an Online Breastfeeding Resource For Indigenous Families

Indigenous Health Conference  Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario

2016-05-26

The Design, Creation and Evaluation of Three Online Breastfeeding Courses for Targeted Populations: Fathers/Partners, Young Mothers and Indigenous Families

Ontario Public Health Conference  Toronto, Ontario

2016-04-04

Designing ehealth Breastfeeding Resources for Targeted Populations (Couples, Young Mothers, and Indigenous Families)

Best Start Resource Centre Annual Conference  Toronto, Ontario

2016-02-16

The Creation and Evaluation of an Online Co-parenting Breastfeeding Course

5th CAPWHN National Conference  Québec City, Québec

2015-11-05

Poster Presentation: Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Co-parenting Breastfeeding Support Intervention (COSI) on Exclusive Breastfeeding at 12 Weeks Postpartum

23rd Annual National Breastfeeding Conference  Ottawa, Ontario

2013-10-18

#1 Source of Support: Assisting Fathers in Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers

23rd Annual National Breastfeeding Conference  Toronto, Ontario

2013-10-18

Research Grants (2)

Community and Mental Health Nursing Simulated Learning

Centre for Faculty Enrichment Innovation Fund, Durham College $7373

2016-06-01

This one-year research project aims to expand learning in a simulated mental health nursing environment through online videos and pdfs.

Community and Mental Health Nursing Simulated Learning

Teaching Innovation Fund, Teaching-Learning Centre, UOIT $7373.50

2016-05-01

This one-year research project aims to expand learning in a simulated mental health nursing environment through online videos and pdfs.

Courses (2)

Health and Healing: Healthy Communities Nursing Theory and Practicum

NURS 3700U, 3rd Year Undergraduate Course

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Nursing Leadership and Innovation

NURS 4100U, 4th Year Undergraduate Course

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Articles (3)

The Development and Piloting of an eHealth Breastfeeding Resource Targeting Fathers and Partners as Co-parents Midwifery

2017-04-01

Traditionally breastfeeding education programs target mothers solely. The objective of this study was to design and pilot test an interactive eHealth breastfeeding co-parenting resource developed to target both mothers and fathers. eHealth resources provide an accessible and engaging format on which to educate parents and assist them in meeting their breastfeeding goals. Best practices to design such resources are not currently known.

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Breastfeeding Co-parenting Framework: A New Framework to Improve Breastfeeding Duration and Exclusivity Family Health

2017-01-01

Targeting mothers and fathers in breastfeeding promotion programs is recommended as research has found that father's support positively impacts breastfeeding duration and exclusivity. Breastfeeding co-parenting refers to the manner in which parents work together to achieve their breastfeeding goals. The Breastfeeding Co-parenting Framework was developed on the basis of diverse coparenting models and research related to father's involvement with breastfeeding. This framework consists of five components: joint breastfeeding goal setting, shared breastfeeding responsibility, proactive breastfeeding support, father's/partner's parental-child interactions, and productive communication and problem solving. This framework may be of value to policy makers and program providers working to improve breastfeeding outcomes.

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Co-parenting Breastfeeding Support and Exclusive Breastfeeding: A Randomized Controlled Trial Pediatrics

2015-01-01

This research evaluates the effectiveness of a co-parenting intervention on exclusive breastfeeding among primiparous mothers and fathers. A randomized controlled trial was conducted in a large teaching hospital in Toronto, Canada. Couples were randomized to receive either usual care (n = 107) or a co-parenting breastfeeding support intervention (n = 107). Follow-up of exclusive breastfeeding and diverse secondary outcomes was conducted at 6 and 12 weeks postpartum.

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