Striking a balance between home and work can be challenging for everyone. Having a family member with a disability further complicates these issues. This workshop provides an overview of work-life integration issues, including the physiologic toll that caregiver stress can have on the body (e.g., immune activation, stress hormones, blood pressure) and the mind (e.g., anxiety, depression). Evidence-based strategies to manage stress and to achieve a more balanced integration of one’s work and personal life will be shared.
Dr. Susan Girdler, Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at UNC, has a 23year history as a Principal Investigator (PI) funded by the National Institutes of Health. The unifying theme of her investigations has been to understand the role of psychosocial stress, including early childhood trauma, and physiologic stress reactivity in the mental and physical health of women and minorities. Dr. Girdler is also co-PI of a new program, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, called “Caregivers at Carolina”. This program is designed to retain early career physician scientists at UNC who are at risk of leaving research because of their substantial caregiving demands at home, including caring for children who have special needs and/or eldercare. Dr. Girdler herself is a caregiver for two children and an elderly parent