Message from Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter
More than 53 million Americans provide care for adults and children who cannot care for themselves. Whether helping an aging parent, a seriously ill spouse or child or some other special person in need, those giving care often do so at a great personal sacrifice of time, energy and income.
I know firsthand the demands of caregiving. When I was 12 years old my father became terminally ill with leukemia. I was one of four children and as the oldest and a daughter, my 34-year-old mother depended on me. Since returning home from the White House, we have supported many members of Jimmy’s family who have died of cancer, and I helped care for my mother until she died in 2000 at the age of 94. As I’ve traveled this country speaking about caregiving, person after person has stepped forward to tell me their own stories. So many people giving care to their loved ones feel isolated, inadequate, despairing.
At a time when more and more Americans are called on to give care, it is critically important that we do all we can to support caregivers.
Insight begins with acknowledging the emotional impact of caregiving. Beyond that, it is critical that we understand the data. It is important to root our programs and initiatives in the latest data and use it to monitor effectiveness. We are always evolving, and our initiatives evolve with us.
The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers (RCI) was established in 1987, rooted in former First Lady Rosalynn Carter’s belief that there are only four types of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, who are caregivers, who will be caregivers, and who will need caregivers. RCI was established at Georgia Southwestern State University in her honor.
RCI began offering coaching and support to caregivers in Georgia and has since grown to embrace opportunities to reach more caregivers, in more ways, in more places.
In 2020, RCI expanded nationally and became an independent organization to fulfill its promise to champion the family caregiver by building cross-sector partnerships, promoting evidence-based programs, and advocating for public policy. To meet this vision, RCI changed its name to the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, further prioritizing that supporting caregivers are at the core of RCI’s mission.
With more than 53 million people serving as unpaid family caregivers in the United States, the institute’s scope and work continues to evolve under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jennifer Olsen, a prominent epidemiologist, in partnership with Mrs. Carter.
Founder, The Carter Center
Former First Lady of the United States
RCI Board of Directors
Paurvi Bhatt, MPH
Vice President, Philanthopy: Medtronic PLC
President, Medtronic Foundation
Kathryn Cade, MBA
The Carter Center
Bruce Chernof, MD, FACP
Nonresident Senior Fellow
USC Schaeffer Center
George L. Fredrick, COL (R), Ed.D
Director, Veteran and Military Services
Georgia Southern University
Greg Fricchione, MD
Associate Chief of Psychiatry
Massachusetts General Hospital
Rosalynn Carter, Chair
Eve Byrd, DNP, MPH, FNP-BC, PMH-CNS
Everett Byrd, Ph.D.
William Capitan, Ph.D.*
Ellen Hartman, APR Fellow PRSA
Nancy P. Kropf, Ph.D.
Raymond P. Lorion, Ph.D.
Wallace D. Mays, MD
Kerri K. Post
Russell Thomas, Jr.*
Abraham Wandersman, Ph.D.
Neal Weaver, Ph.D.
May L. Wykle, Ph.D., RN, FAAN*
John and Betty Pope
Who generously established the John and Betty Pope Caregivers Fellowship/Scholarship and Eminent Scholar Program
Alexandra Drane, CEO and Co-Founder
David Gowel, CEO
Jennifer Olsen – Chief Executive Officer
Mandy Barr – Caregiver Coach
Deidre Blascyk – Recruitment Manager
Karl Bond – Director, Operations & Administration
Andrea Cangiano – Chief, Programs
Cam Cote – Volunteer Network Manager
Britania Grajeda Esparza – Operation Family Caregiver Coach
Doug Green – Chief of Staff
Carrie Harris – DWD Program Specialist
Greer Johnson – Communications Manager
Karen Kavanaugh – Chief, Strategic Initiatives
Donna Leggett – Chief, Development
Kim Leonard – Program Manager
Barbara Ann Luttrell – Communications Director
Jessica Maples – Operation Family Caregiver Coach
Lezlie Poole – Program Innovation Manager
Kira Ramseur – Executive Assistant
Ke (Kelly) Wang – Data Manager