Military Caregivers


Who takes care of our wounded warriors when they return home? Today we look at the challenges military caregivers face – in a conversation with Shanna Morin and her caregiving coach Diedre Blazcyck who both participate in the Operation Family Caregiver program from the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers. We also talk to Rajeev Ramchand, an epidemiologist and senior behavioral scientist at the RAND corporation and Conwell Smith – the director of the Operation Family Caregiver program at the Rosalynn Carter Institute – about better ways to support and advocate for military caregivers.



RAJEEV RAMCHAND is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation. He studies the prevalence, prevention, and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders in adolescents, service members and veterans, and minority populations. He. has conducted many studies on suicide and suicide prevention including environmental scans of suicide prevention programs, epidemiologic studies on risk factors for suicide, evaluations of suicide prevention programs, and has developed tools to helporganizations to evaluate their own programs. He has testified on suicide prevention before the United States Senate and California State Senate. Other current areas of research include military and veteran caregivers (he has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on military caregivers), the role of firearm availability, storage, and policies on suicide, and the impact of disasters on community health. He received his B.A. in economics from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. in psychiatric epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

K. CONWELL SMITH, recently named Program Director for Operation Family Caregiver, has over twenty-five years of experience in Washington, DC. During that time, she worked on sweeping health care legislation from the Balanced Budget Act to the Patients’ Bill of Rights to the Affordable Care Act. Most recently, she was founder of Inside Pitch Government Affairs LLC, a consulting firm committed to the development of sound policy and project management through strategic advocacy

Prior to launching Inside Pitch, Ms. Smith served over eight years as Vice President of Legislation and Political Affairs for the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH). Ms. Smith also served as Senior Health Policy Advisor for the Senate Budget Committee where she was lead advisor to the Chairman on private health insurance, market-based reforms, medical liability reform, medical cost and quality initiatives, and access to health care and the uninsured.

After first leaving Capitol Hill in the late 90s, she led the American Medical Association’s sustainable growth rate repeal campaign in the Ways and Means Committee during debate of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. Ms. Smith has served as Senior Director, Government Relations for the National Retail Federation; Assistant Director of the American Medical Association’s Division of Congressional Affairs; and a Legislative Specialist with the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Her extensive Congressional experience includes serving as Senior Legislative Assistant for former Rep. Sue W. Kelly (R-NY); Legislative Assistant for former Rep. William J. Martini (R-NJ); and a Legislative Correspondent for former Rep. Herbert H. Bateman (R-VA). She began her Capitol Hill career as an intern for former Sen. John W. Warner (R-VA).