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Research Associate Professor Donna Benton

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology faculty member Donna Benton has been appointed to California’s Master Plan for Aging Stakeholder Advisory Committee, a group of civic leaders who will help to develop components of the state’s Master Plan for Aging. The plan will serve as a blueprint that can be used by state government, local communities, private organizations and philanthropy to build environments that promote healthy aging.

Recognizing that California’s over-65 population is projected to grow to 8.6 million by 2030, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order calling for the creation of the Master Plan for Aging and the formation of a stakeholder advisory committee. This newly appointed group will work to develop a roadmap for enabling all Californian’s to grow old safely and with dignity and independence. The plan is to be developed by October 1, 2020.

“The master plan on aging has the potential to improve long term care, wellness, health and mental health services for all generations in CA,” Benton said. “I am honored to be selected to this committee and aim to represent the voices of family caregivers. They are the foundation on which we build livable age-friendly communities.”

Benton is a research associate professor at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology and was a postdoctoral fellow at USC/Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center. She is also the director of the USC Family Caregiver Support Center/Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center and a senate appointee to the California Task Force on Family Caregiving. Benton has over 30 years of experience working with families and the community to help improve caregiver services and support, particularly for those who are caring for persons with dementia. She has served as a commissioner on the California Commission on Aging (CCOA) and served as chair of the legislative subcommittee for many years.

“This is an important recognition of Donna’s leadership, and we are thrilled that she will be contributing her skills and experience at the governmental level to help improve aging for all Californians,” said USC Leonard Davis School Dean Pinchas Cohen.

In addition to Benton, stakeholders appointed to the committee represent local governments, healthcare providers and systems, health plans, academia and older adult-related organizations. They include several people affiliated with the USC Leonard Davis School. Mercedes Kerr, president of Belmont Senior Living, serves on the school’s Board of Councilors. California Commission on Aging member.  Former CA Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown is currently enrolled as a graduate student, and Rigo Saborio, president and CEO of  St. Barnabas Senior Services, is an alumnus and former staff member at the school.

For more information on the Master Plan for Aging, click here.

Top photo: Governor Newsom signs the executive order calling for the creation of the Master Plan for Aging (courtesy West Health).

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