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The US Care Infrastructure:
From Promise to Reality March 4-5, 2022, Remote & In-Person

Care Infrastructure Conference | Speaker Bios

President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda has set ambitious goals for the US care infrastructure. This important conference will convene academics, policy researchers, advocates, and policymakers to explore critical issues and policy proposals for the care industry, including paid family and medical leave, care for older adults and people with disabilities, child care issues, and racial/equity issues in the industry. We’ll discuss issues facing individual care workers as well as the broader economics of the care infrastructure in the United States post-COVID-19. The conference will serve as a space to collectively assess and push policy development and research on care in the United States, drawing on international experiences and examples.

Institute for Women's Policy Research
Carework Network
American University's College of Arts and Sciences


In-person events hosted on the AU Washington College of Law  campus at Tenley Circle(Wisconsin and Nebraska Avenues), one block from AU/Tenleytown Metro.

See Speaker Bios.

Day 1: Friday, March 4

11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Opening Plenary
The Care Infrastructure Post-COVID: Taking Stock
12:30–1:00 p.m.
1:00–2:30 p.m.
Parallel Workshops
Workshop I: The Macro Economics of the Care Infrastructure
Workshop II: Ensuring Racial Equity in Paid Family & Medical Leave
2:30–3:00 p.m.
3:00–4:30 p.m.

Parallel Workshops
Workshop III: Care for Older Adults & People with Disabilities
Workshop IV: Building the Child Care Infrastructure: State-Level Challenges

4:30–6:00 p.m.
In-Person Reception

Day 2: Saturday, March 5

11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Parallel Workshops

Workshop V: Opportunities & Issues for the Care Workforce
Workshop VI: Expanding Child Care Beyond Usual Hours: Employers, Unions, and Government

12:30–12:45 p.m.
12:45–2:00 p.m.
Closing Plenary
The Care Infrastructure Post-COVID-19: Moving Ahead

Opening Plenary, 11:00-12:30 "The Care Infrastructure Post-COVID: Taking Stock"

Moderator: C. Nicole Mason (Institute for Women’s Policy Research)

Speakers: Gary Barker (Promundo); Melissa Boteach (National Women’s Law Center), Lina Bracero (Service Employees International Union), Mignon Duffy (University of Massachusets Lowell and the Carework Network), Jocelyn Frye (National Partnership for Women and Families), Elaine Maag (Urban Institute)

Parallel Workshops1:00-2:30

Workshop I: The Macroeconomics of Care Infrastructure

This workshop will address the economic impact of investing in care, highlighting the costs and benefits of pursuing such strategies, outlining alternative policies for supporting care needs such as tax credits or expansion of public sector care provisions, and examine the funding of such investments.

  • Taxation/alternative funding methods
  • Impact on growth and labor market participation
  • Racial equity

Moderator: Mieke Meurs (American University)

Speakers: Valeria Esquivel (International Labour Office), Marc Granowitter (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees); Amy Matsui (National Women’s Law Center), Lenore Palladino (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Commentators: Rakeen Mabud (Groundwork Collaborative), Beth King (Brookings)

Workshop II: Ensuring Racial Equity in Paid Family & Medical Leave

Even before the pandemic, paid leave has always been tied to racial equity as we think about health disparities, including the high Black maternal mortality rate, the racialized history of caregiving in this country, and economic inequality. It seems imperative to better understand how race and structural racism affect access to and the need for permanent paid leave protections.

  • Structure of benefits and durations
  • Needs and uses of leave such as caregiving needs, including the definition of “family” and time needed
  • Job security and experiences of retaliation for people of color
  • How having or not having paid leave impacts workers and families, their health, and financial outcomes

Moderator: Raven Dorsey (Paid Leave for All)

Speakers: Carol Joyner (Family Values at Work & Labor Project for Working Families), Elissa Silverman (DC City Council), Kristin Smith (Dartmouth College), Cassandra Gomez (A Better Balance).

Parallel Workshops3:00-4:30

Workshop III: Care for Older Adults & People with Disabilities

This panel brings together experts on long-term care to discuss the promises and challenges in the existing policy proposals for overhauling the long-term care systems and expanding access to care for people with disabilities and aging adults in the United States. This panel will explore issues related to:

  • Reimagining the reimbursement scheme (e.g. states models coming out of the Build Back Better plan)
  • Expanding home-based and community-based care
  • Racial equity in access to quality, affordable care
  • Policy options for supporting family caregivers

Moderator: Shengwei Sun (National Women’s Law Center)

Speakers: Robyn I. Stone (The LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston), Mousumi Bose (Montclair State University), Fawn Cothran (National Alliance for Caregiving), Bethany Lilly (the Arc)

Commentator: Jennifer Craft Morgan (Georgia State University)

Workshop IV: Building the Child Care Infrastructure: State-Level Challenges

This panel highlights the impact of (lack of access) to child care on gender and racial equity and brings together academic researchers and child care advocates to discuss the implications of existing policy proposals and programs (e.g. the Child Tax Credit, universal Pre-K, and capping child care costs) to support parents across states. This panel brings together child care advocates from conservative and liberal states to address challenges to implementing parent-friendly policies and strategies to overcome them.

  • Impact of child care supports on lifetime earnings
  • State by state impacts of expanded child care benefits
  • State-level challenges to a quality child care for all agenda

Moderator: Georgia Poyatzis (Institute for Women’s Policy Research and American University)

Speakers: Robert Hartley (Columbia University), Alycia Hardy (Center for Law and Social Policy), Elliot Haspel (Robins Foundation), Shannon Jones (Groundwork Ohio)

Parallel Workshops11:00-12:30

Workshop V: Opportunities & Issues for the Care Workforce

This panel addresses how increased funding for care can create opportunities to improve working conditions and service delivery in care work. The panel brings together experts on improving wages and job protections, leveraging existing and expanding institutional arrangements, and the integration of migrant care workers into workforce strategy.

  • New opportunities for organizing care work and bargaining
  • Pathways for immigrant workers
  • Developing the long-term care workforce

Moderator: Mieke Meurs (American University)

Speakers: Robert Espinoza (PHI); Sarah Nolan (Service Employees International Union, Healthcare), Eileen Boris (University of Santa Barbara), Ben Veghte (Caring Across Generations)

Workshop VI: Expanding Child Care Beyond Usual Hours: Employers, Unions, and Government

This panel will ask what role employers and unions can play in expanding child care provisions, particularly beyond usual center care hours, and will examine the role of in-home child care in providing access to care, and efforts to ensure that care providers are properly funded and rewarded.

  • The role of employers in providing care during non-standard hours (e.g. Military daycare)
  • The role of unions in expanding child care supports (e.g. 1199SEIU Child care fund; Boston Building trades)
  • In-home child care in federal and state policy
  • International experiences with mandating workplace child care support from employers

Moderator: Ariane Hegewisch (Institute for Women’s Policy Research)

Speakers: Eiko Strader (George Washington University), Debra King (National Domestic Workers Alliance), Becky Levin (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), Liz Skidmore (North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters)
Commentators: Alexandra Patterson (Home Grown Childcare), Jaya Chatterjee (Common Cause)

Closing Plenary, 12:45-2:00 "The Care Infrastructure Post-COVID-19: Moving Ahead"

Moderator: Maria Floro (American University)

Speakers: Wendy Chun-Hoon (Women’s Bureau), Nancy Folbre (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Josie Kalipeni (Family Values@ Work), Carolyn Pincus (American Sustainable Business Council)