David J. Pate Jr., PhD

Chair and Associate Professor
Social Work

  • Affiliated Associate Professor of the Institute for Research on Poverty, UW-Madison
  • Affiliate, Institute for Child and Family Well-Being, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Dr. David J. Pate Jr. is an expert on low income African-American men, fatherhood, and child support. Dr. Pate studies how black men are affected by the social welfare system and the challenges that impede their ability to attain economic security.

His research projects involve the use of qualitative research methods to examine life course events of African-American men and boys.


  • Ph.D., Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2003
  • A.M., Social Work, University of Chicago, 1982
  • B.S.W., University of Detroit, 1980

Research Interests:

  • Poverty
  • Social welfare policy
  • Child support enforcement policy
  • Life-course perspective of black males
  • Violence prevention and young black males


  • Social Work 380, #BlackLivesMatter: An Analysis and Critique of the Movement
  • Social Work 206, Introduction to Social Welfare Policy (Undergraduate Level)
  • Social Work 380, “I Am A Man: Construction of Masculinity for Black Males” Honors College (Undergraduate Level)
  • Social Work 750, Social Welfare Policy Development and Implementation (Graduate Level)
  • Social Work 851, Social Issues and Policy Analysis (Graduate Level)
  • Social Work 931, Theories of Poverty and Social Welfare Policy for Children and Families
  • Social Work 952, Qualitative Research Methods (Doctoral Level)
  • Social Work 990, Research Ethics (Doctoral Level)

Honors and Service:

  • Invited member to the Poverty and Transition to Adulthood Network sponsored by the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the National Poverty Research Center working with the U.S. Collaborative of Poverty Centers (CPC). Funding is provided by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.W. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). (2016-2021)
  • Invited member to National Advisory Board of the Responsible Father Research Network (2013-2018)
  • Top news from UWM: Little Comfort, Little Humanity; UWM Expert Explains 'Toxic Stress' UWM Report (November 9, 2015)
  • Appointed Member, UWM Office of Conflict Resolution, Ombuds Council. Ombuds Council members assist with helping UWM employees consider a variety of options to help resolve conflicts.
  • Participated on the social science research and writing team which submitted two amicus briefs for the Center for Family Policy and Practice (CFFPP) in support of the petitioner in the Turner v. Rogers case to the United States Supreme Court. Oral arguments were presented on the case in Washington, D.C. on March 23, 2011. The decision was rendered on June 20, 2011.
  • Elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Funded Research Projects:

  • Engaging African American Fathers to Improve Health Literacy. Awarded from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation ($40,000) and the United Way of Milwaukee ($2,500). Co Investigators: David Pate, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Helen Bader School of Social Welfare and Kris Barnekow, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, College of Health Sciences. Funding period: 2018.
  • Improving Health Through Enhanced Work. Awarded from the Wisconsin Partnership Program, Community Impact Grant, University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Medicine and Public Health to Community Advocates. Total project award: $1 million. Co-Investigators: James Topitzes Joshua Mersky, and David Pate. Funding period: 2017-2022.
  • Evaluation of Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma (ReCAST). Awarded from the federal office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to the City of Milwaukee, Office of Violence Prevention and Community Advocates. Total project award: $5 million. Principal Investigator. Funding period: 2016-2021.
  • Access to Justice for Low-Income Civil Litigants: Comparative and Longitudinal Study of Experiences with Court Systems. National Science Foundation (Law and Social Science Program). Total project award: $304,000. Funding period: 2014-2017.

Media Coverage:

2015 Media

Select Publications:

  • Pizur-Barnekow, Kris, David J. Pate Jr., Katie Lazar, Nelly Paul, Kathleen Pritchard, and George Morris. (2017). “African American Fathers’ Occupational Participation: “Keeping Mothers in a Positive Vibe.” OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health. 37(4):237-244. First published online on July 14, 2017.
  • Topitzes, James, David J. Pate Jr., Nathan Berman, and Christopher Medina-Kirchner. (2016). “Adverse childhood experiences, health, employment: A study of men seeking job services.” Child Abuse and Neglect first published online September 29, 2016.
  • Tonya L. Brito, David J. Pate Jr., Daanika Gordon, and Amanda Ward, What We Know and Need to Know About Civil Gideon. 67 South Carolina L. Rev. 223 (2016)
  • Pate, David J. (2016) “The Color of Debt: Social Networks, Sanctions, and Child Support Enforcement Policy” Race and Social Problems first published online February 23, 2016. DOI 10.1007/s12552-016-9167-8
  • Patricia A. Lee King and David J. Pate Jr. (2014) “Perinatal HIV testing among African American, Caucasian, Hmong and Latina women: exploring the role of health-care services, information sources, and perceptions of HIV/AIDS.” Health Education Research 29:1:February.

Curriculum Vitae