Benchmark Senior Living Taps Leading Public Health Experts To Advance COVID-19 Response

Coronavirus Advisory Council Promotes Physical and Mental Wellness Among Residents and Staff

Graphic with Benchmark Senior Living's Covid-19 advisory council

Benchmark Senior Living, a leading provider of senior living services in the Northeast, today announced it has expanded its team of consulting medical and scientific experts with the creation of the Benchmark Coronavirus Advisory Council. As part of its ongoing commitment to the health, safety and well-being of its residents and associates, Benchmark will benefit from additional expert advice and insights to help guide long-term strategy and response to the pandemic.

The council’s esteemed members include a former U.S. Surgeon General, a former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a nationally known geriatric psychiatrist, a leading infection control preventionist and other experts.

“Since the pandemic began, we’ve relied on leading experts to help guide our response. I am pleased to say that our response has earned us praise from our residents, their families and our associates,” said Tom Grape, Benchmark’s founder, chairman and CEO. “Now, by formalizing additional relationships with a larger group of experts that includes some of the nation’s top public health minds, we can ensure that our infectious disease prevention and containment protocols are consistent with leading-edge thinking on COVID-19. Our goal is to continue to Be the Benchmark for senior care, and this is one of the many ways we are setting that standard.”

The Benchmark Coronavirus Advisory Council consists of physicians and nurses with expertise in infectious disease mitigation, geriatrics, as well as physical and mental health. Many are affiliated with some of the nation’s leading medical, research and academic institutions. They will use an evidence-based approach to try to stay ahead of COVID-19 developments and address residents’ holistic needs at Benchmark’s 63 independent living, assisted living, memory care and continuing care retirement communities throughout the Northeast.

The Benchmark Coronavirus Advisory Council members include:

• Dr. Alice Bonner, PhD, GNP, RN, FAAN – Bonner previously served as Massachusetts Secretary of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and was the Director of Health Care Quality for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. She is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Center for Innovative Care in Aging, a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

• Dr. Richard Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS – Carmona served as the 17th Surgeon General of the United States. He is a Distinguished Professor of Public Health, Health Promotion Sciences & Community, Environment and Policy for University of Arizona’s College of Public Health and Chief of Health Innovation for Canyon Ranch.

• Dr. Brent P. Forester, MD, MSc – Chief of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry for McLean Hospital; Medical Director, Behavioral Health Integration, Quality & Patient Experience for Mass General Brigham; and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

• Dr. David Ives, MD – Ives is the Medical Director of a large primary care practice in Lexington, Massachusetts, and the Director of Special Projects for Beth Israel Lahey Health’s Primary Care Group. He holds a faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School and has more than 30 years of extensive experience and clinical interest in infectious disease.

• Dr. Michael R. Jaff, DO – Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Clinical Affairs, Innovation and Technology at a major international medical device manufacturer and former CEO of Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

• Dr. Timothy Johnson, MD, MPH – Former Chief of Emergency Services at Union Hospital in Lynn, Mass, and Medical Editor for ABC News. Dr. Johnson served as a Fellow at Harvard Medical School and was Founding Editor of the School’s Health Letter. He and his wife are members of Benchmark’s The Commons in Lincoln community in Lincoln, Mass.

• Dr. Roger Schutt, DO – Geriatrician for more than 34 years and executive lead for Post-Acute Care at Beth Israel Lahey Health.

• Steve Schweon, RN, MPH, MSN, CIC, FSHEA, FAPIC – Board-certified infection preventionist with more than 25 years of experience in acute, long-term care and behavioral health settings.

• Dr. David Shulkin, MD – Served as the ninth Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; President and CEO of Mount Sinai Beth Israel; and Vice Dean, Chief of Medicine and Chief Quality Officer for Drexel University School of Medicine.

For more information regarding Benchmark’s response to the global pandemic, visit

About Benchmark Senior Living
Based in Waltham, Mass., Benchmark Senior Living is a leading provider of senior housing in the Northeast. It has 63 communities across Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, Vermont and Maine. Benchmark employs nearly 6,000 associates within its communities and corporate office. Founded in 1997 by Tom Grape, Benchmark offers independent living, assisted living, memory care and continuing care retirement communities that are guided by Benchmark’s core values – Called to Care, Better Together, and Be the Benchmark, and are committed to transforming lives through human connection. Click here for more information.

Press Contact:
David Levesque
Benchmark Senior Living
(401) 639-4938