Pine Crest Alumni Family Works to Transform Senior Care in the Face of COVID-19

Posted by Pine Crest School on June 10, 2020 at 2:30 PM

“The pandemic brought enormous change for everyone at ChenMed,” said Gordon Chen, M.D. ’97, Chief Medical Officer. “Our social norm has changed drastically.”  

Gordon and his brother, ChenMed Chief Executive Officer Christopher Chen, M.D. ’94, are senior administrators of this physician-led, family-oriented organization committed to bringing superior healthcare to moderate-to-low income senior adults. 

Christopher and Gordon’s father James Chen, M.D., Ph.D., and mother Mary Chen co-founded ChenMed in 2004 extolling the values of love, accountability, and passion. Today, the company provides care for senior adults in 73 ChenMed centers across 10 states, with more than 50% of the patients representing minority populations. 

A 17-member executive team advances the company’s vision to be America’s leading primary care provider transforming the care of the neediest populations. Members of the team include Stephanie Chen, Esq. who serves as Chief Legal Officer, and Jessica Chen, M.D., Chief Health and Quality Officer.

Studying COVID-19, how it is transmitted, and how it affects various populations, the Chens took action when they saw their patient base as being the most at risk of severe complications or death from the virus. It became increasingly clear that adults aged 65 and older may have atypical symptoms. In early February, ChenMed launched Healthy, Happy, and at Home (H3), empowering ChenMed center leaders to check on patients by telephone or video call, buy them groceries, and supply their medication as needed. This is a virtual touch that Gordon refers to as “love calls.” 

Chris notes the effects of COVID-19 have also been far-reaching for their staff. ChenMed instituted “Kincare” for its employees, ensuring they are supported and acknowledged for time spent to care for family members. Kincare provides flexibility for ChenMed employees to temporarily work from home, taking into consideration the need to care for children or other family members.

For members of the Pine Crest family who are caring for older loved ones and seniors in their communities, the Chens have this advice: COVID-19 is a serious threat that can be completely preventable. Practice “SAFE” measures:  Social distancing, Avoid touching your mouth or face, Frequently wash your hands for at least 20-seconds, and Engage frequently with your doctors and care team. 

The Chens’ legacy at Pine Crest carries on. Stephanie and her husband Chris have two sons at Pine Crest, John ’25, and Christopher ’22. Stephanie has served Pine Crest School as a member of the Ambassadors Council. Jessica and Gordon have four children — the eldest Nathan ’25 is in Middle School with his cousin John. The entire family is committed to social justice by addressing racial inequalities and disparities in healthcare; in fact, both Gordon and Chris met their wives doing medical mission work.  

After graduating from Pine Crest, Christopher earned his degree from the University of Miami’s Honors Program in Medicine and completed his medical training at Beth Israel Deaconess, Harvard University’s teaching hospital in Boston. His clinical skills and research accomplishments led to a specialty position at Cornell University Medical College where he studied cardiology. Gordon holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Brown University, and he was awarded a scholarship to the University of Miami School of Medicine for his internal medicine and cardiology training. 

Christopher and Gordon are very grateful for their time at Pine Crest, saying, “At the end of the day, it’s not about being the smartest student, it is about being that student with the drive to make this world a better place.”  

Are you or a fellow Pine Crest graduate working on the front lines through your profession or volunteer service? If so, please share your story.

Topics: Alumni, 2020, COVID-19