DignityMA in government

Attorney General’s Elder Justice Council

In August of 2023, the MA attorney general, Andrea Campbell announced the new Elder Justice Unit. DignityMA has stepped up to the challenge with several members serving on the Attorney General’s Elder Justice Council. (see all Council members below)

“The Unit will convene existing resources to protect and promote the safety and well-being of elders through enforcement actions, legislative advocacy, and community engagement and education.”

“By creating this Unit, we are prioritizing the rights of elderly residents to live with dignity – free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. My office will continue to serve as a dedicated resource for older adults, address their most-pressing needs and advocate for and implement solutions.” 

Specifically, the Elder Justice Unit will work with staff from the Attorney General’s Criminal, Public Protection and Advocacy, and Health Care and Fair Competition Bureaus to: 

  • Convene internal and external elder justice groups to listen to priorities and ongoing issues 
  • Enhance the existing work of the office to prosecute the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable older adults, including in the areas of long-term care, financial exploitation and scams 
  • Work with the AG’s Community Engagement Division to conduct intentional outreach to elders 
  • Advocate for state and national policy that aligns with and advances the work of the Elder Justice Unit “

Members of the Elder Justice Council

DignityMA members include an email address.

    • Director: Mary B. Freeley – Since 2015, Mary has served as Deputy Chief of the AG’s Health Care and Fair Competition Bureau where she helps oversee the Office’s Antitrust, False Claims, Health Care, Medicaid Fraud and Non-Profit/Charities Divisions. She will continue in that role in addition to directing the office’s elder protection work.  
    • Frank Baskin is a licensed social worker and elder advocate. A social worker for more than five decades, Frank has worked directly with older adults, their families, and providers in nursing homes, other congregate facilities and within the community. He has been a line social worker and an independent geriatric care manager and has collaborated with many attorneys on behalf of marginalized older adults. Frank is a member of Dignity Alliance Massachusetts and chairs its Behavioral Health Work Group.
    • Betsey Crimmins is the Executive Director of Mass Home Care, an organization that supports 19 protective service programs in Massachusetts. Betsey has more than 30 years of experience advocating for older adults through her work with Greater Boston Legal Services and Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services.
    • Dr. Moses S. Dixon is the President & CEO of the Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging, Inc (CMAA). Dr. Dixon has extensive experience in the non-profit sector in Central Massachusetts and brings more than a decade of experience working for local and state governments in Massachusetts and the federal government. In February of 2023, Dr. Dixon was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Maura T. Healey to serve on the Governor’s Council on Black Empowerment for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts along with 30 other black leaders from across Massachusetts.
    • John J. Ford, Esq. is Director of the Elder Law Project at the Northeast Justice Center in Lynn and has served as director since 1977. John is past President of the Massachusetts Chapter of NAELA and the Massachusetts Guardianship Association and is a member of the Massachusetts Guardianship Policy Institute. John has taught at the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and is a frequent contributor to publications and programs on elder law issues.
    • Valerie Frias is the Chief Executive Officer of Ethos, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the elderly and disabled the best home and community-based care. Ms. Frias is responsible for providing vision, leadership, and direction for the organization’s programs, services, and activities for older adults and disabled individuals.
    • Wynn Gerhard is the Elder Justice Fellow at Massachusetts Guardianship Policy Institute and Guardian Community Trust, working on education and policy advocacy to strengthen due process protections in guardianship, and to improve oversight of guardians and conservators. From 1987 to 2020, she was Senior Attorney and Managing Attorney of the Elder, Health and Disability Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS). She also worked for Legal Services of Cape Cod and Islands, and Neighborhood Legal Services in Buffalo NY.
    • Arlene Germain is co-founder of Dignity Alliance Massachusetts and chair of the Facilities Work Group. Arlene also co-founded and was executive director of the Massachusetts Advocates for Nursing Homes (MANHR). MANHR, founded in 2000 by grassroots volunteers, was the only statewide consumer group advocating for improvements in the care, dignity and quality of life for MA nursing home residents for over 20 years. In 2022, MANHR transitioned to become an educational program of Dignity Alliance Massachusetts in order to continue advocacy for MA nursing home residents.
    • Former state senator Hon. Richard T. Moore is part of the leadership team of Dignity Alliance Massachusetts and chairs its Legislative Work Group. He also serves on the Leadership Council of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. As a health policy expert, environmental leader, social policy advocate, and educational administrator, he has served in numerous elected and appointed positions in local, state, and national governments and the non-profit sector over a fifty-year career.
    • Barbara Minkwitz is Vice President, Corporate Security Investigations at Eastern Bank. She is the New England chapter President of the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators (IAFCI). She is a certified fraud examiner with expertise in elder fraud and exploitation investigations, among other areas.
    • Kathleen Lynch Moncata is a private attorney with an elder law practice in Natick, Massachusetts. She is a member of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (MassNAELA) and is Co-Chair of the Long-Term Care Committee. She has advocated for the rights of older adults in Massachusetts, including the rights of residents of assisted living facilities.
    • Clarence Richardson, Esq. is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (MassNAELA), a non-profit organization established to serve the legal profession and the public with a mission to educate, inspire, serve, advocate, and provide community to attorneys with practices in elder and special needs law. Prior to becoming Executive Director, he practiced elder law at a private law firm.
    • Liane Zeitz is a private attorney with an elder law practice in Waltham, Massachusetts. Prior to entering private practice, Liane worked as a legal services elder attorney in Boston and Worcester, during which time she was lead counsel on litigation to enforce state compliance with Federal law granting nursing home residents a right to a fair hearing prior to transfer or discharge. She is certified as an elder law attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation, the only national organization accredited by the American Bar Association to certify attorneys in elder law (Massachusetts does not recognize legal specialties for certification). She is a long-time member of MassNAELA, has served on its board and is Co-Chair of its Long-Term Residents Rights Committee. Liane has advocated for the rights of older adults in Massachusetts, including those residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.