Benchmark Senior Living Taps Leading Public-health Experts to Advance COVID-19 Response

WALTHAM — Benchmark Senior Living, a leading provider of senior-living services in the Northeast, 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 its long-term strategy and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The council’s 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.”

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

Members include Dr. Alice Bonner, former secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs; Dr. Richard Carmona, former U.S. surgeon general; Dr. Brent Forester, chief of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry for McLean Hospital; Dr. Michael Jaff, chief medical officer and vice president of Clinical Affairs, Innovation and Technology at a major international medical-device manufacturer; Dr. Timothy Johnson, former chief of Emergency Services at Union Hospital in Lynn; Dr. Roger Schutt, geriatrician and executive lead for Post-Acute Care at Beth Israel Lahey Health; Steve Schweon, board-certified infection preventionist; and Dr. David Shulkin, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and president and CEO of Mount Sinai Beth Israel.