Johnson & Johnson Awards Rosalynn Carter Institute with $162,000 Grant to Support Families of Returning Soldiers

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A unique grant from Johnson & Johnson to Georgia Southwestern State University’s Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving will finance a program designed to help families of returning soldiers to cope with health issues related to combat. The Georgia Army National Guard is partnering in this program to assist in recruiting individuals caring for these veterans.

Johnson & Johnson has awarded $162,000 in grant funding to Georgia Southwestern State University’s Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI). The funds will finance a program designed to help families of returning soldiers to cope with health issues such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or a physical disability related to combat. The Georgia Army National Guard is partnering with the RCI to assist in recruiting these individuals caring for these veterans.

“Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, and physical disabilities are health conditions that require care assistance from family members or caregivers,” said Leisa Easom, Ph.D., RCI executive director. “The support for family caregivers of service members is critical. Research studies have repeatedly shown that family caregivers have an increased risk of experiencing depression, grief, fatigue, and physical health problems. I believe that the work of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving can be instrumental in addressing the needs of these veteran families. I applaud Johnson & Johnson for their commitment to support veteran families.”

“Johnson & Johnson recognizes the tremendous sacrifice our service men and woman make every day,” said Rick A. Martinez, M.D., medical director of corporate contributions at Johnson & Johnson. “Many of these men and women return from their tour of duty with serious health issues, such as TBI and PTSD. Caring for these individuals largely falls on the families of these veteran soldiers. We are excited to partner with the Rosalyn Carter Institute in providing funding for this project that will improve an understanding about the types of support that are most useful to these family caregivers and their loved ones.”    

Problem-Solving Training (PST) is an evidence-based intervention that has been tested for caregivers of individuals with a range of mental health conditions associated with TBI, stroke, and disabilities. An in-home, tailored, caregiver support intervention, PST consists of four in-home visits, monthly telephone availability, and data collection at project beginning and end. In all, each program session will last eight months.

“There is no question that caregivers of persons with neurobehavioral changes resulting from TBI benefit greatly from Problem-Solving Training that is tailored to solve the problems of immediate concern to them, via face-to-face and telehealth applications,” said Patricia Rivera, Ph.D., original project researcher. “To partner with a community based organization to offer this program assures that many more families will get the tools needed for better health and relationships.”

“Family Caregivers are the VA’s (Veterans Affairs) partners in providing world class health care to Veterans,” said Deborah Amdur, Veterans Affairs’ chief consultant for care management and social work. “We understand the significant sacrifices involved in family caregiving. VA offers a range of caregiver programs and services to ensure that family caregivers have the tools and support they need. We greatly value our close collaboration with the RCI. The Problem Solving Training pilot is a welcome additional resource that will offer vital skills to family caregivers of returning service members.”

According to the Carter Center, National Guard and reserves make up approximately one-third of all military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are more likely than other military to face multiple deployments. Yet, once their job is finished, guard and reserve service members return to civilian life instead of a military base, and do not have the same access to health care services as their active duty colleagues.

“We have many families that have sacrificed so much and are still suffering,” said Maj. Gen. Maria L. Britt, commanding officer of the Georgia Army National Guard. “I look forward to seeing this pilot program adopted and offered statewide so that we can help more families.”

The RCI was established in 1987 at Georgia Southwestern in honor of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, a GSW alumna who serves as president of the institute’s Board of Directors, to enhance her longstanding commitments to family caregiving and mental health. Through research, education and training, the RCI promotes the mental health and well being of individuals, families and professional caregivers; encourages effective caregiving practices; builds public awareness of caregiving needs; and advances public and social policies that enhance caring communities.

Johnson & Johnson is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of health care products for the consumer, pharmaceutical, and professional markets. The Company has its worldwide headquarters in New Brunswick, NJ, where the business was founded over a century ago.

For more information, contact the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving at (229) 928-1234.

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Stephen Snyder
Georgia Southwestern State University
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