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Rodríguez-Galán Named Faculty Fellow for Exhale Family Caregiver Initiative

January 16, 2023

Dr. Marta Rodríguez-Galán, an associate professor of sociology, anthropology, public health, and gerontology at St. John Fisher University, has been selected as the faculty fellow for Exhale: The Family Caregiver Initiative.

Marta Rodriguez-Galan

A partnership between Fisher, Lifespan of Greater Rochester, Inc., and Southwest Area Neighborhood Association Inc. at the Montgomery Center (SWAN), the Initiative aims to reimagine and increase respite opportunities for family caregivers of older adults in the Rochester region.

In her role as a faculty fellow with the initiative, Rodríguez-Galán work with Lifespan to develop an “incubator” drop-in program at SWAN’s Montgomery Neighborhood Center. Alongside community members, students at the University will engage in evidence-based training, allowing them to serve as respite volunteers, giving family caregivers periods of rest or relief. She will also play a significant role in the development and roll-out of a toolkit based on the student volunteer model with the intent of replicating the structured volunteer program among community-based organizations and other higher education institutions. Additionally, she will mentor undergraduate students engaged in research-related projects as part of the initiative.

“I am very passionate about this work, both as a sociologist and gerontologist and also as someone who has experienced first-hand the challenges of caregiving for aging family members,” said Rodríguez-Galán. “This fellowship allows me to use my knowledge, research, and mentoring skills to make a difference in the lives of aging members of our surrounding community and their families and caregivers. I am also very excited to mentor a new generation of students in the field of gerontology; and the prospect of sharing the results of our efforts through the creation of a toolkit, presentations, and publications.”

Rodríguez-Galán brings an expertise in social gerontology, having published qualitative and quantitative research in multiple peer-reviewed journals. She has received several research and teaching fellowships and grants, including serving as a co-investigator for a National Institutes of Health grant on the issues of health in the aging Puerto Rican community. She has more than a decade of experience teaching and mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students; and has woven community-engaged learning into several of her courses at Fisher.

Funded by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, and managed by The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), the 2022 Exhale Initiative involves a total of more than 60 partner organizations across Western New York and Washtenaw County, MI, who will work in teams led by the 13 grantees including the collaboration between Lifespan, SWAN, and Fisher.

About Exhale, the Family Caregiver Initiative

Funded by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, and managed by The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), Exhale, the Family Caregiver Initiative, is dedicated to offering innovative solutions that give caregivers of older adults an opportunity to breathe a little easier. Visit www.exhaleforcaregivers.org to learn more.