Congratulations Dr. Susan Fox!

In February, the IOD’s Assistant Director Susan Fox successfully defended her dissertation and received her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of New Hampshire’s commencement ceremony on May 16th.

Her dissertation, Life Interrupted: The Experience of Informal Caregivers of Aging Family Members, was a mixed methods design that surveyed 418 caregiver/care receiver dyads; with in depth interviews of 20 caregivers. Her research indicated that perceived burden is significantly related to caregiver well-being and, in fact, mediates the relationship between caregiving demands and caregiver well-being. In addition, the study found that employment is directly related to lower psychological distress and increased age is directly related to lower caregiver burden. Caregiver interviews revealed that flexible and supportive employers are important in order for caregivers to manage the competing roles of employment and caregiving.

“Sue Fox has recently been awarded her doctoral degree after several years of balancing work at the IOD, family life, and engagement with her community,” shares Dr. Charles Drum. “Sue’s accomplishment is a great reminder that we should all be life-long learners, whether these efforts result in an academic degree or simply more knowledge for us to use to change the world. The IOD is very proud of all of our life-long learners and congratulates Sue for this special accomplishment.”

Susan will continue to work to improve of the lives of individuals with disabilities, older adults, and their caregivers through her work in policy, program development, education, and research at UNH. She shared her gratitude to “the many caregivers who opened up their homes to me and were willing to share their stories with me.”

Susan Fox is the Associate Director of the Institute on Disability and Co-Director of the Center on Aging and Community Living at UNH. She is currently supporting NH’s Balancing Incentive Program, under contract with the NH DHHS.

Previously, she served for five years as the State Director of the Division of Developmental Services. She also managed services in a community agency serving persons with mental illness and developmental disabilities for over ten years. Including her years working in special education, she has been active in regional and statewide initiatives involving older adults and persons with disabilities for over 35 years. She was recently appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Medicaid Care Management and serves on several community boards including the Office of Public Guardian where she serves as Board President. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Easter Seals NH Service Award, the Granite State Independent Living Community Partner Award, and the Community Resources for Justice Community Hero award.