CYRC Members


elizabeth-olson-largeElizabeth Olson, co-director
Professor, Department of Geography
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Elizabeth (Betsy) Olson is Professor of Geography and Global Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She held previous faculty positions at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and the University of Lancaster, England, and has published extensively in the areas of religion, development, youth and childhood geographies, and ethics of care. Her current research draws together the everyday geographies of young people with broader questions of inequality through historical and contemporary research on youth caregivers in the United States. Betsy uses diverse methodological approaches, including participatory film and other visual methodologies, in order to integrate young people into every stage of the research process.

siskowski_connieConnie Siskowski, co-director
American Association for Caregiving Youth, Founder

Connie Siskowski, RN, PhD – educated at Johns Hopkins and New York University, she obtained her PhD in 2004 from Lynn University to have a bigger voice for family caregivers. Connie never expected her doctoral research to uncover the high prevalence of family health situations and concomitant caregiving with detrimental academic effects upon children in Palm Beach County. Her broad background in health care and dedication to diminishing caregiver isolation and struggles led to the 1998 establishment of what is now the American Association for Caregiving Youth. It includes the Caregiving Youth Project, the first US program to support the hidden population of child caregivers. Her dream is for all family caregivers to be honored and respected but especially youth for their contributions to family and to society; no child in the US should have to drop out of school because he or she has to care for a family member.

In June of 2009, Connie was awarded a lifetime Ashoka Fellowship and in October 2009 she became one of 10 Purpose Prize winners, a national endeavor honoring persons over 60 years of age who initiated an innovative solution for social change. In September 2010 The Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association presented her with The Distinguished Alumna Award. In 2011 AACY won the Palm Beach County Medical Society’s Heroes in Medicine Award for Community Outreach and later that year Connie was named a Woman of Grace by Bethesda Hospital Foundation. During May 2012 she was named a CNN Hero and in September was one the Top Ten Heroes for 2012.

Emma Armstrong-Carter, Ph.D.


Emma Armstrong-Carter is a postdoctoral research scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of California, Berkeley. She is a quantitative developmental psychologist and is funded by the National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. She earned her Ph.D. at Stanford University in 2022. Emma researches children’s and adolescents’ experiences helping and caregiving for family – and how these experiences relate to their school success. She is particularly interested in how children’s experiences supporting the family can either exacerbate or mitigate academic challenges in homes with family disability, chronic illness, or socioeconomic disadvantage. Her research is trans-disciplinary and integrative. It lies at the intersection of developmental psychology, education policy, community health, and data science. She addresses multiple contexts of development including family, school, neighborhood, and geographic processes. Her work informs the design of school- and government-based policies that support children’s wellbeing and educational success.



Julia Belkowitz, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Regional Medical Campus

Dr. Belkowitz received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Michigan and her medical degree at Jefferson Medical College.  She completed her pediatric internship and residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital, and is currently on the faculty at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (UMMSM) where she works at the Regional Medical Campus.  At UMMSM, Dr. Belkowitz serves as the Assistant Regional Dean for Student Affairs and the Regional Campus Clerkship Director for Pediatrics, through which she works with medical students in the four year dual degree MD/ MPH program.  Dr. Belkowitz also serves on the Advisory Board for the Caregiving Youth Project in Palm Beach County and has collaborated with the American Association of Caregiving Youth to conduct research to better understand the needs of Caregiving Youth.

AS_272420690984961@1441961562238_lDonna Cohen, PhD
University of Southern Florida

Donna Cohen, PHD is a professor in the Department of Child & Family Studies (CFS), College of Behavioral & Community Sciences (CBCS), University of South Florida (USF), Tampa, Florida (2011-present). Dr. Cohen is internationally recognized for her scientific, clinical, instructional, policy, and humanistic contributions in areas of human development and aging, family caregiving across the lifespan, geriatric mental health, hospital- and community-based care across the long term care continuum, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and lethal violence across the lifespan. Dr. Cohen has published 10 books and 190 articles and book chapters. Her textbook, An Integrated Textbook of Geriatric Mental Health, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, is regarded as one of the most comprehensive texts in the field. Her forthcoming book, Family Caregivers Who Kill, should be published in 2016.

Dr. Cohen was one of the first investigators to identify the important role of family members for the well-being of persons with Alzheimer’s disease as well as the psychiatric consequences of caregiving for older spouses and adult caregivers.  She has now expanded her research to study youth caregivers under age 18 and emerging young adults 18-24 years, populations who provide substantial care but whose efforts are not well recognized.

Christine A. Fruhauf, Associate Professor and Director, HDFS Extension
Coordinator, Gerontology Interdisciplinary Minor
Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Colorado State University
Dr. Fruhauf is a family gerontology specialist who studies multiple aspects associated with aging families. In particular, her research foci include three main areas: (1) grandparent – grandchild relationships – including grandparents raising grandchildren and GLBT grandparenting, (2) family caregiving – where she is interested in the risks and rewards of being a young adult or non-normative caregiver and the impact of interventions on caregivers’ well-being and (3) gerontological education and instruction as it relates to service learning. In addition to these three content related areas, Dr. Fruhauf is particularly interested in the Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to working with the community in conducting her scholarly work and have applied this approach to building community capacity among the Larimer County Alliance for Grandfamilies (LCAG) in Northern Colorado. In particular, she has co-authored several papers related to the LCAG and the model used to form the Alliance. In July of 2013, the paper by Fruhauf, Bundy-Fazioli, and Miller (2012) was honored by Generations United when it received the Brabazon Award for Evaluation Research. In 2015, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, she received an USDA/NIFA Children Youth and Families At-Risk Sustainable Community Program grant (2015-06132) to address self-care practices of grandfamilies. Her future research goals related to grandfamilies includes examining resilience among grandparents and grandchildren and positive and negative outcomes among grandchildren raised by grandparents.

Carol Goodheart, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, Past President American Psychological Association
Dr. Goodheart earned her doctorate in Counseling Psychology at Rutgers University and is a licensed psychologist practicing in Princeton, New Jersey. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, a Distinguished Practitioner in the National Academy of Psychology, a Registrant in the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, and the recipient of national and state Psychologist of the Year Awards from Psychologists in Independent Practice and from the New Jersey Psychological Association, as well as the recipient of the Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the Practice of Psychology, “for a distinguished career and enduring contribution to advancing the professional practice of psychology through a demonstrable effect on patterns of service delivery in the profession,” American Psychological Foundation, 2012. Other contributions include being a clinical supervisor for doctoral students at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University; a seasoned speaker for public and professional audiences; the author and editor of numerous articles, chapters and eight books; and consultant to programs, agencies, and health care organizations.

Sharon Hamill
Professor of Developmental Psychology
Faculty Director, CSU INstitute for Palliative Care
California State University San Marcos

Sharon B. Hamill received her BA from California State University, Long Beach; she received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine. She is a Professor of Developmental Psychology and Faculty Director for the CSU Institute for Palliative Care at CSUSM. Her research focuses on (1) adolescent and young adult caregivers in families with grandparents who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other diseases and (2) how palliative care can alleviate suffering and promote higher quality of life for patients and their families. She is active in promoting support for family caregivers in local schools and through her work with the San Diego Coalition for Compassionate Care. Dr. Hamill was named the recipient of the 2015-2016 Harry E. Brakebill Distinguished Professor Award at CSUSM for excellence in teaching, research, and service.

Dr. Hamill’s current work focuses on resiliency training for young caregivers and young people who are bereaved, and making health care education for young people mainstream in palliative care. Working collaboratively with local high schools and clinically-trained colleagues, Dr. Hamill has established a youth resiliency training program that prepares peer counselors to work with caregiving youth. Additionally, she and her colleagues have created the “K-12 Toolkit: A resource for Teachers and Counselors” and What Gives Your Life Meaning (WGYLM)? A How-to Guide for Engaging Your Campus, Workplace, and Community in Discussions About Health Care Decisions” to facilitate the development of supportive communities for young caregivers and their families.

Lisa M Hooper
Professor and Program Coordinator of Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Department of Counseling and Human Development

Dr. Hooper’s research is focused on three areas: systems, culture, and health. More specifically, she has four major lines of research: (a) the influence of family-of-origin factors (e.g., parentification, differentiation of self, and attachment style) on wellbeing and psychopathology of adolescents, adults, and family members; (b) cormorbidity research (i.e., influence of common medical conditions on mental health and psychopathology; (c) the primary care system as an intervention point for mental health services and treatments by mental health and family counselors and psychologists, and (d) minority health and health disparities related to family systems-focused, culturally tailored and competent care (e.g, diagnosis, measurement and assessment equivalence, & treatment).

Gail-Headshot_rGail Gibson Hunt
Past President and CEO
National Alliance for Caregiving

Gail Hunt is President and Chief Executive Office of the National Alliance for Caregiving, a non-profit coalition dedicated to conducting research and developing national programs for family caregivers and the professionals who serve them. Prior to heading the Alliance, Ms. Hunt was President of her own aging services consulting firm for 14 years. She conducted corporate eldercare research for the National Institute on Aging and the Social Security Administration, developed training for caregivers with AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association, and designed a corporate eldercare program for EAPs with the Employee Assistance Professional Association.

Prior to having her own firm, she was Senior Manager in charge of human services for the Washington, DC, office of KPMG Peat Marwick. Ms. Hunt attended Vassar College and graduated from Columbia University.

As a national expert in family caregiving and long-term care, Ms. Hunt served on the Policy Committee for the 2005 White House Conference on Aging, as well as on the CMS Advisory Panel on Medicare Education. She was the chair of the National Center on Senior Transportation. Ms. Hunt is also a commissioner for the Center for Aging Services Technology (CAST) and on the Board of the Long-Term Quality Alliance and the National Center for Creative Aging. Ms. Hunt is a member of the Multiple Chronic Conditions Workforce Technical Expert Workgroup. She co-chairs the NQF MAP Person and Family-Centered Care task force. Additionally, Ms. Hunt is on the Governing Board of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

kavanaughMelinda Kavanaugh, PhD, LCSW
Associate Professor
Helen Bader School of Social Welfare
University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

Dr. Melinda Kavanaugh earned her Ph.D. in social welfare at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013. Dr. Kavanaugh’s research addresses the impact of chronic illness on families, with a primary research focus on children and teens acting as caregivers for family members with chronic illness – youth caregivers/young carers. In addition to her work with youth caregivers, she studies the role of social work in health care and the collaborative relationship between social work, nursing and medicine.

Dr. Kavanaugh is particularly interested in how caregiving influences the physical and psychological well being of these youth caregivers, and how best to develop support programs and services for this population. Her research is influenced by her experiences as a medical social worker including her time spent as clinical social worker for the Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellence at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. She is collaborates with the national Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) Association and the ALS Association of Wisconsin on a study of young carers across the U.S. who provide care to a family member with ALS. Her project with the United Community Center in Milwaukee addresses and supports Hispanic family dementia caregivers, including youth caregivers.

Maggie Ornstein, PhD, MPH, MA Guest Faculty, Sarah Lawrence College

Dr. Ornstein has cared for multiple family members over the course of the last twenty years, with significant and consuming care work beginning at the age of seventeen.  While providing care to her family, Maggie received graduate degrees in psychology, public health and human geography, while working for an advocacy organization for people with brain injuries and their families.  She holds a doctorate from the Graduate Center, City University of New York.  Maggie’s research focuses on the interactions between family caregivers and the long-term care system.  Specifically, she critiques the dominant discourse around ‘caregiver burden’ for being reductionist by not including family members’ interactions with service providers and therefore suggests that service provision, while at times useful, also carries with it an additional burden that further complicates the lives of caregivers.  Current interests involve strengthening relationships between paid and family caregivers in order to build a movement towards more equitable care for all members of caregiver/ care receiver relationships.

Linda Weglicki, RN, PhD, MSN
Professor, Associate Dean for Nursing Research & Scholarship and PhD Studies
Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing
Florida Atlantic University

Linda (Whitman) Weglicki was born and raised in Michigan where she completed her nursing education and began her clinical practice, teaching and research career working with urban at risk populations. Dr. Weglicki taught at Wayne State University College of Nursing from 1990 to 2008. In late 2008, Dr. Weglicki moved to Bethesda, Maryland when she accepted a position as a Program Director in the Division of Extramural Science Programs/Office of Extramural Programs at the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research. Her portfolio focused on health promotion and included women, children, families, and environmental health. Dr. Weglicki joined the Florida Atlantic University Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing as Professor and Associate Dean for Nursing Research and Scholarship and PhD Studies in August 2014. She is honored to hold the Schmidt Family Foundation Distinguished Professorship.

Assistant Professor
Division of General Internal Medicine
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Crystal Wiley Cené, MD, has been awarded Recognition by the National Committee for Quality Assurance Diabetes Physician Recognition Program.

Dr. Wiley Cené is a native North Carolinian. She grew up in Sneads Ferry, a small coastal town in eastern NC. She moved to the “Southern part of heaven” for undergraduate training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received her B.A. in Psychology in 1995.  She graduated from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. She completed internship and residency at the Yale Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency program and then completed a 3-year General Internal Medicine Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, where she also received her Master of Public Health Degree.

Her research interests focus on understanding how social networks and network-based resources (e.g. social support) influence health behaviors and health outcomes for patients with or at risk for cardiovascular disease. In her research, she also partners with community-based organizations to better understand and address social factors that influence racial/ethnic health disparities. She loves caring for patients and engaging family members in the care of their loved ones. She is a faculty member for the Institute for Patient- and Family- Centered Care and is also involved in health disparities education and research at the national level. She loves spending time with her family and friends, playing tennis, and traveling.