Title: President and Co-Founder
Affiliation: National Family Caregivers Association
Suzanne Mintz is a family caregiver for her husband who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1974. Her long-time personal involvement with caregiving led her to the conclusion that chronic illness and disability affects the person who provides care as well as the one that requires it. In addition, its impact goes beyond individual families and has become a national health care and social policy issue. She realized that family caregivers are part of a "silent and neglected workforce" that does not receive the recognition, training, support, assistance, or public policy attention it deserves. As a consequence she cofounded NFCA in 1993. Today, she spearheads the organization’s efforts to meet the unmet needs of family caregivers.
Mintz spent more than 25 years in the field of interior architecture and marketing prior to becoming NFCA’s first paid chief executive in 1997.
One of the first to champion the now widely held belief that caregiving is a lifespan issue that should be treated as such rather than dealt with in silos of age, relationship, and diagnoses, Mintz soon became recognized as a farsighted and responsible spokesperson for family caregivers, as attested to by her appearances before Congress, her participation in the crafting of national legislation, and often-sited remarks in major media outlets such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Chicago Tribune. Many of her efforts are focused on empowering other caregivers to speak up on behalf of their loved ones and themselves. Her efforts have inspired others to become advocates and activists on caregiving issues.
Ssuzanne Mintz is the author of Love, Honor, & Value–A Family Caregiver Speaks Out About the Choices and Challenges of Caregiving, (Capital Books, 2002). She has written a quarterly column, Caregiver Connection, for Paraplegic News since 1996, and is often called upon to contribute to other publications. Many of her writings have been reprinted by other organizations across the country.
NFCA’s educational materials, which she has written, have been distributed to more than 1,000,000 family caregivers across the country and as far away as Japan and Guam. NFCA’s educational and empowering curriculum, "Communicating Effectively with Healthcare Professionals," was named a project of national significance by the U.S. Administration on Aging as part of the National Family Caregiver Support Program.
NFCA research efforts have added to the understanding of caregiving across the lifespan and the day-to day reality of what it means to be a hands-on family caregiver. They have informed our understanding of how to communicate effectively with family caregivers and proven the value of having family caregivers self-identify.
In 2004, Mintz organized the first-ever national town hall meeting on family caregiving, which was held on Capitol Hill to a standing-room- only crowd.
Mintz currently serves on a number of national advisory committees and boards related to family caregiving. She is a member of the board of the National Patient Safety Foundation and a founding advisor of CAPS (Consumers Advocating for Patient Safety) as well as an advisor to the Improving Transitions in the Care of Older Hospitalized Patients project at the University of Colorado Health Sciences, and the University of Wisconsin Extension Service’s initiative to create evidence-based curriculum to guide care, case management, and family caregiver education.
Mintz was honored with the 2004 Lifetime Achievement Welcome Back Award from Eli Lilly. This award is given to an individual who has suffered from depression, spoken out publicly about the disease, and gone on to make significant contributions to the community. She testified before the National Commission on Quality Long Term Care in July 2005 and represented the patient/family community at the signing of patient safety legislation in 2005.
Mintz holds a bachelors degree in English from Queens College, City University of New York, and a masters in human ecology from the University of Maryland.
She has one grown daughter, one grandchild, and resides in Kensington, Maryland, with her husband, Steven.