RCI to Strengthen its LGBTQ and HIV+ Cultural Competence
AMERICUS, GEORGIA – The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers (RCI) is proud to mark Pride Month this June by establishing a partnership with the Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) to better support LGBTQ military caregivers. MMAA is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ service members, veterans, and their families.
This new relationship will help RCI ensure that all of its caregiver support programs are as inclusive as possible as well as identify opportunities to innovate to meet the unique needs of LGBTQ military caregivers of tomorrow. To begin, RCI staff will be trained and certified in MMAA’s Rainbow Shield program, which aims to end negative experiences in service and advocacy settings based on sexual orientation, gender identity and serostatus for service members, veterans, and their families.
MMAA’s training will enhance RCI’s advocacy and partnership efforts and strengthen the organization’s coaching programs, which serve both dementia and military caregivers. RCI’s caregiver coaches provide one-on-one support to military caregivers through Operation Family Caregiver (OFC), an evidence-based program that helps military families better manage the challenges they face after their service. OFC is free, confidential, and tailored to each individual family, and it is the only program like it serving military families. These same skills are also taught in a group setting through RCI’s Operation Caregiver Support.
“Caregivers in this country are, as a whole, more vulnerable than their non-caregiving peers. When you layer on other factors such as HIV status or sexual orientation – which still cause stigma, especially in the military – we know that caregivers need support, and coaches need the skills to serve them most effectively,” said Dr. Jennifer Olsen, chief executive officer of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers.
Topics to be covered during training include, among others:
· History, current demographics, terminology, and common experiences of the LGBTQ and HIV+ military and veteran community
· Myths and stereotypes that impact how LGBTQ and HIV+ people are seen and treated in society, including how to recognize and see past harmful representations
· An overview of major forms of trauma commonly experienced by LGBTQ and HIV+ service members, veterans, and their families
· Policies impacting LGBTQ and HIV+ service members and veterans and their families
“No one of us is only a ‘military caregiver’ or an ‘LGBTQ caregiver.’ There are various intersections that form individual identities, and it’s critical for programs to understand the unique experiences of LGBTQ and HIV+ military families. That’s why we offer Rainbow Shield training,” said Jennifer Dane, executive director of the Modern Military Association of America. “We are proud to partner with the Rosalynn Carter Institute because they recognize and support ALL caregivers, regardless of how they identify.”
About the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers
The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers promotes the health, strength, and resilience of caregivers throughout the United States. Established in 1987 by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, the Institute’s priority is the family caregiver: those individuals who care for a relative, friend, or loved one. In 2011, RCI launched Operation Family Caregiver, which coaches the families and friends of returning service members and veterans to manage difficult transitions. To learn more about RCI, visit www.rosalynncarter.org. For more information about Operation Family Caregiver, visit www.operationfamilycaregiver.org.
About the Modern Military Association of America
The Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) is the nation’s largest and oldest non-profit organization for LGBTQ service members, military spouses/partners, veterans, caregivers, and allies. Formed through the merger of the American Military Partner Association and OutServe-SLDN, MMAA is a united voice for the LGBTQ military and veteran community. Find out more at www.ModernMilitary.org.