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November 18, 2002

Rosalynn Carter inducted into Women's Hall of Fame

Jon Moor is associate director for public information at the Carter Center

Last month, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, vice chair of the Carter Center, was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y.

“I am privileged to be included with such a prestigious group of women and honored by this recognition,” Carter said. “I will continue to do all I can to help those in need.”

Widely recognized for her advocacy work on mental health issues over the last 30 years, Carter has galvanized key partnerships in the campaign to eliminate stigma against those with mental illness, to achieve parity in mental health insurance coverage, and to screen youth early for mental and behavioral disorders.

“Her lifelong work on behalf of women, children and the mentally ill is a living testament to her vision and character,” said Marilyn Bero, president of the National Women’s Hall of Fame. “In this day and age, Mrs. Carter’s ongoing dedication to making our country a better place for all is indeed a great and worthy achievement.”

A full partner with her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, in all of the Carter Center’s activities, the former first lady also founded and chairs the center’s Mental Health Task Force, an advisory body that promotes positive change in the mental health field. She also heads the center’s Mental Health Program which, under her leadership, plays an important role in calling attention nationally and globally to critical mental health issues. And she has spearheaded the annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy.

In addition, she has chaired the World Federation for Mental Health’s International Committee of Women Leaders for Mental Health since its establishment. As first lady, Carter served as honorary chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health. The year-long commission assessed the current system and made recommendations for new legislation by undertaking a series of public hearings across the country. The result was that, in September 1980, Congress passed the Mental Health Systems Act.

A mother of four, Carter has maintained a lifelong dedication to issues affecting women and children. In 1991 along with Betty Bumpers, wife of former U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers of Arkansas, Carter helped launch “Every Child By Two,” a nationwide campaign to publicize the need for early childhood immunizations.

Carter has received many honors in the health and mental health fields and is the author of four books: First Lady from Plains, Everything to Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life, Helping Yourself Help Others: A Book for Caregivers, and Helping Someone With Mental Illness: A Compassionate Guide for Family, Friends, and Caregivers.

Carter is only the third first lady ever inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining Abigail Adams and Eleanor Roosevelt. Other living inductees this year included Althea Gibson, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Barbara Holdridge and Emily Howell Warner. Lucille Ball, Katharine Graham and Mercy Otis Warren were among those inducted posthumously.