Dr. Jo Ann O'Quin
GRITS Hall of Fame Member
Dr. Jo Ann O'Quin is Professor of Social Work at the University of Mississippi. She is a prolific author, lecturer, workshop organizer, and grant writer. The focus of her work has been on the education of students, caregivers, pharmacists, social workers, and other allied health professionals in improving the quality of care to citizens of Mississippi, especially older adults.
Dr. O'Quin received her B.A. in Psychology from Arkansas Tech University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Mississippi. Her publications are extensive with numerous juried papers, presentations and workshops at state, regional, and national forums. She has been a recipient of major grants and contracts in collaboration with such organizations as the National Alzheimer's Association, Association of Gerontology in Higher Education, Mississippi Department of Human Services, and the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. O'Quin has been an active participant and supporter of SGS, its members, and mission starting in the mid 1980s. Her record includes frequent presentations of conference papers, workshops, and posters; extensive committee work; serving as editor and co-editor of the SGS newsletter; and membership on the Board of Directors.
Her academic accomplishments coupled with her community and professional service have resulted in recognition as one who has provided significant improvement in the care and well-being of older citizens in general but especially patients, families, and caregivers who must navigate and manage the multiple dimensions of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Her efforts have included projects to establish adult day care in rural areas of the state of Mississippi, training for culturally relevant mental health services, education to pharmacy students, nursing home administrators, psychologists, social workers, and physicians on assessment, care needs, and management of patients with dementia. She has organized and facilitated the Alzheimer's and Related Disorders monthly support group since 1985 and the Caring for Aging Relatives Effectively (C.A.R.E.) Education and Support Group since 2000. She co-founded "Memory Makers," a non-profit Alzheimer's day respite program in 2011 and serves as Board President.
In summary of Jo Ann's accomplishments, a nomination letter recommending her for the GRITS award concluded: "She has shown her determination, passion, and commitment to improving the care and service provided to individuals confronted and living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias."
In her teaching, research, and service she has focused on the very tough issues of caregiving and decision making centered on end-of-life issues. Dr. O'Quin brings scholars and everyday people into the dialogue concerning the care and management of individuals with memory difficulties. She has initiated and continues to push nurses, doctors, lawyers, social workers, pharmacists, nursing home administrators, home care, and adult care providers to strive for the best in compassion and care for those patients and caregivers with a chronic disease. She is an angel, who watches over the many who have struggled with the care and management of a terrible disease – Alzheimer's. Her quiet reserve and dedication gives courage to the hundreds of caregivers to cope daily."
The committee would also like to acknowledge and express our sincere thanks and appreciation to her husband Dr. Ken McGraw and her sons Jake and Taylor (frequent SGS attendees over the years) for allowing us to tap into her many talents and her support for SGS and the older adults of Mississippi and beyond its borders.