The History of Caregiving in the United States

The Public Health Service Actof 1944 structured the United States Public Health Service (PHS) as the primary division of the Department of Health Education and Welfare (HEW), which later became the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The PHS comprises all Agency Divisions of Health and Human Services and the Commissioned Corps. The Assistant Secretary for Health(ASH) oversees the PHS and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

The Administration on Aging (AoA) is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. AoA awards annual grants (computed by formulas) to State government agencies on aging and Native American tribal organizations to support programs mandated by the Congress in the Older Americans Act. AoA also awards discretionary grants to research organizations working on projects within the broad outlines of the Act. It conducts statistical activities in support of the research, analysis, and evaluation of programs to meet the needs of an aging population.

AoA also participates in joint efforts with other related agencies, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Serviceson some elements of the Medicare program.

Kathy Greenlee is the current Assistant Secretary for Aging. by and  and through it’s affiliates seek to support and uphold the principals and mission of the United States Public Health Service, the Administration on Aging and the Older Americans Act by educating and training the general population in all matters related to At Home Elder Care Provision as a public service and as a matter of responding to the greater good of all concerned.

The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) was established by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on October 14, 1987,  to honor alumna and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Building on her commitment to human development, especially in the field of mental health, Mrs. Carter recognized that although support services were available for those diagnosed with illness, family members who were providing the majority of their day-to-day care received none. In addition, those who provided direct care services to others were also receiving no formal supports. After making several inquiries of national agencies such as the American Medical Association, the National Stroke Association, and the American Heart Association, Mrs. Carter realized that there was a large unmet need to support both family caregivers and professional caregivers. RCI held its first annual conference in 1988, titled “The Professional and Family Caregiver – Dilemmas, Rewards and New Directions”.

In April 1990, Mrs. Carter founded the National Quality Caregiving Coalition to bring together national groups to work together to promote caregiving across the country.

During 1991 and 1992, the RCI embarked on a study of caregivers and caregiving in the CARE-NET region, titled Characteristics, Concerns, and Concrete Needs of Formal and Informal Caregivers: Understanding and Appreciating Their Marathon Existence, published in 1993. This landmark study determined the priorities and plans for the Institute.

Utilizing findings of the CARE-NET study, in 1993 RCI was awarded funding from the Pew Charitable Trusts of Philadelphia to implement a support and training project for caregivers in the West Central Georgia region. The project’s centerpiece was a five-week education and support program for professional and family caregivers called Caring for You, Caring for Me. Mrs. Carter made the first presentation of the Rosalynn Carter Caregiving Award  the highest award given in the field, it was developed to recognize an individual for leadership and innovation in caregiving. In addition to a statue executed by the renowned sculptor Frank Eliscu, designer of the Heisman Trophy, a cash award of $2,500 was also made.

In a drive to heighten public awareness of caregiving issues, in 1994 Rosalynn Carter blended information from the CARE-NET study with her personal caregiving experiences in Helping Yourself Help Others: A Book for Caregivers, published by Time Books/Random House.

In 1996 the Pope Fellowship Program was established to provide financial support for outstanding individuals pursuing training and careers in fields related to caregiving. With matching funds from the University System of Georgia.

In 1997, the Institute initiated a project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to replicate CARE-NET in an adjacent 18-county region, referred to as the South Georgia CARE-NET. During this initiative, enhancements were also made to  the provision of care management for caregivers, expansion of access to education and support programs to assist caregivers.

In 2006, Richard Birkel, Ph.D. was appointed Executive Director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute and in 2007 was named the fourth Pope Eminent Chair in Caregiving at Georgia Southwestern State University.

In 2007, the RCI made a strategic decision to begin actively working to support implementation of evidence-based caregiver programs at all levels, launching the National Quality Caregiving Network (NQCN) in cooperation with long-time partner Johnson & Johnson at the RCI’s annual conference “Moving Science to Practice in Caregiver Support: A National Summit”. A learning community comprised of community-based demonstration sites, caregiving coalitions and researchers all working in partnership to develop effective strategies to translate programs for community use, develop agency readiness to implement programs with fidelity, and create supportive policy, funding, and community systems.

The Rosalynn Carter Caregiving Award was renamed to the Rosalynn Carter Leadership in Caregiving Award to recognize leadership in implementing innovative partnerships between community organizations and caregiving researchers.


CertifiedCare and is not affiliated with any government agency.

About Elder Care Advice blog

Get professional elder care giving advice, advocacy, education and tips for those who care for and about the frail elderly at the ElderCareAdvice blog. We are generously sponsored by Most posts are written by Cathleen V. Carr, unless attributed otherwise. We welcome relevant submissions. Submit your article and by-line for publishing consideration (no promises!) to Havi at, our own editor who will ensure submissions are given the best possible treatment and polish before publication, ensuring a professional level of publication. There is a nominal service fee involved ($45). Allow up to 30 days for publishing.
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1 Response to The History of Caregiving in the United States

  1. John Kylle Anthony S. Bayos says:

    the article is very good!!!..


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