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Easom named Rosalynn Carter Institute executive director

By   /   June 25, 2011  /   Comments

Former interim director continues caregiving advocacy awareness

AMERICUS, Ga. (June 23, 2011)—-Leisa Easom, Ph.D., has been appointed executive director of Georgia Southwestern State University’s Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI).

Easom was appointed as the RCI’s interim executive director in August 2010. Since that time, she has worked closely with agencies and representatives at the state and national level to increase awareness of the caregiver movement and advocate for family caregiving needs.

Under her leadership, the RCI has secured two Federal grants from the Administration on Aging totaling $2.3 million and a $430,000 grant from Johnson & Johnson to finance and expand the RCI’s National Quality Caregiving Network. In May, Easom accompanied former First Lady Rosalynn Carter on Capitol Hill advocating on behalf of older Americans, urging Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act, which provides seniors with access to caregiving services.

“In the past eight months Dr. Easom has proven herself to be an energetic, creative, and visionary leader,” said GSW President Kendall A. Blanchard, Ph.D. “I am genuinely pleased and excited that she has accepted the position as permanent director. Without doubt, she will make a difference.”

Originally joining the RCI in 2007 as the Charles L. Mix Eminent Scholar, a joint position between GSW’s School of Nursing and the RCI supported by the Charles L. Mix Memorial Fund, Easom has extensive grant writing experience. Between 2009 and 2010, she helped secure more than $870,000 in grants to increase diversity in the healthcare profession through specific programs for financially needy students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Easom began her career at GSW in 1988 as an assistant professor of nursing where she served for 17 years. From 2005 to 2007, she served on the faculty at Macon State College in the Division of Nursing and Health Sciences and as the program coordinator of the RN to BSN Completion Program.

Easom earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing and a Master of Science in nursing with a focus on adult health and teaching, both from Valdosta State University. She obtained her doctorate in nursing with a focus on healthcare across the lifespan from the Medical College of Georgia.

She has a certificate in gerontology and focuses her program of research on caregivers, health promotion and end-of-life issues in rural areas. She serves on the editorial boards and reviews manuscripts for many journals including the Journal of Gerontological Nursing, and she is a member of the Gerontological Society of America, Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society and the National League for Nursing.

“I am honored to serve as the executive director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving,” said Easom. “The need for support of caregivers will only grow related to the burgeoning numbers of older adults and increasing incidence of chronic illnesses and disabilities across the lifespan. It is critical that supports be in place to sustain the important role of all caregivers. I will work hard to further the mission and the growth of the Institute.”

The RCI was established in 1987 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.

Easom and her husband, Rennie, live in Americus and have three children, and three grandchildren.

For more information on the RCI, call (229) 928-1234 or go online: www.RosalynnCarter.org.

PHOTO ATTACHED: Leisa Easom, Ph.D., the new executive director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving.

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