Rita Choula is the Director of Caregiving with the AARP Public Policy Institute. She leads and provides content expertise on family caregiving initiatives throughout AARP and externally. Her work bridges policy and research to practice, centered on identifying and supporting the needs of family caregivers, across generations, elevating the unique nature of each caregiving experience. Rita currently drives AARP’s efforts to address systemic disparities and build equity in long-term care for Black, Latino, Asian American Pacific Islander and LGBTQ older adults and their family caregivers.
In collaboration with clinical experts and key stakeholders, Rita leads the development of programs and tools that enable health care professionals to better recognize the diverse needs of family caregivers and provide supports to them across settings. In addition, Rita directs the Home Alone Alliance– a collaborative of AARP, whose aim is to change the way healthcare organizations and professionals interface with family caregivers providing complex care. Through this coalition, she has led the development and production of more than 80 multi-language “How-to” videos and related resources rooted in the lived experience of communities and centered around the family caregiver, that provide them with easily accessible technical guidance necessary to perform complex medical/nursing tasks.
Most recently, Rita spearheaded a $2M grant initiative, funded by multiple leading Foundations in the aging field, focused on elevating the recognition and support of family caregivers providing complex care by health care providers, particularly those in hospitals and health systems, through the identification of promising practices within these settings.
Rita holds a Master’s degree in the Management of Aging Services from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She is a currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Frontotemporal Dementia, Gerontological Society of America (GSA), American Society on Aging (ASA), and the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI).
Rita is a recipient of the CARE 100 List of the Most Influential People in Care of 2020 and the National Hispanic Council on Aging Caregiving AARP Award of 2019.
Moved by her personal experience serving as a family caregiver for her mother and grandmother, while caring for her two small children, Rita is driven to ensure systems are structured to meet the holistic needs of family caregivers, addressing their unique experiences and enabling them to manage their own wellbeing while providing care to others.