SVMC Appoints Dr. Mark Donavan as Chief Medical Officer

For Immediate Release
14 June 2010
Media Contact: Kevin Robinson

BENNINGTON – A local physician with extensive leadership experience, both as a hospital chief executive and a medical leader, has accepted the position of chief medical officer at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC). The hospital has tapped Dr. Mark Donavan, a lifetime resident of Bennington, to take the post beginning June 28.

Dr. Mark Donavan recently accepted the post of Chief Medical Officer at SVMC.

“I am extremely pleased to have Dr. Donavan joining SVMC as chief medical officer,” said Thomas Dee, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer (CEO). “Health care is changing in Vermont and across the country. We need strong leadership to adapt successfully to these changes and to continue to deliver the high quality care we are known for. Dr. Donavan has the breadth and depth of experience that we need during these challenging times.”

Donavan lives in Bennington, and many community members may remember him from his private medical practice. He is board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. From 1976 to 1988, he provided primary care and medical oncology at his Bennington practice, serving for a time as SVMC’s medical staff president. In 1989, he left private practice to take a leadership position at the Leonard Hospital in Troy, N.Y. Since then, Dr. Donavan has held several positions in senior management, most notably as the president and CEO of Seton Health System, also in Troy.

“SVMC is a very special hospital to me,” Donavan said. “It is my community hospital. I began my medical career in Bennington, so I was excited by the opportunity to come full circle. I share the goals of SVMC’s physicians, nurses, and other staff of providing the safe, efficient, reliable care our communities deserve.”

At Seton Health, Donavan led the health system to several notable achievements. Seton was named one of the Capital District’s best employers, and it improved its patient satisfaction scores by more than 12 percent, earning it a Compass Award from Press Ganey, a national patient satisfaction surveying company. He also oversaw major renovations, the reopening of the hospital’s maternity unit, and significant growth in revenue and patient volume.

In 2003, Donavan became a surveyor for the Joint Commission, an independent, national organization that certifies hospitals. Joint Commission accreditation is America’s gold standard for hospital quality. As a surveyor, Donavan visited hospitals nationwide to assess their quality and performance. In 2007, he opened his own consulting firm dedicated to helping hospitals with medical staff credentialing and governance as well as meeting the standards set by the Joint Commission.

"I knew Mark Donavan when he practiced internal medicine and medical oncology here in Bennington," said Dr. Richard Guerrero, MD, chair of the SVHC Board of Trustees. "He is an outstanding physician with a wealth of leadership experience. On behalf of the board of trustees, I welcome him back to our medical staff. Board members are very pleased that the SVMC leadership team found such a highly qualified physician leader."

Donavan grew up in Bennington and attended the old Bennington High School. He graduated from Williams College, and his medical degree is from the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and a fellowship in medical oncology at Albany Medical College.

“SVMC and I go back to at least 1966, when I worked there during the summer,” he added. “I did a variety of jobs to give others time off for vacation. I worked in the hospital’s research lab, provided transport and clean up in radiology, and worked in the storeroom. During medical school, I did a rotation at SVMC.”

Donavan is married to Suzy Donavan, who retired recently from a career as a reading teacher in the Bennington schools. They enjoy cross-country skiing, biking, and golf. They have two grown daughters, Margaret and Emily, and three grandchildren. Donavan’s brother, Peter Donavan, and sister, Sally Goodrich, also live in Bennington, and his brother Jed resides in Hoosick Falls.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center provides high quality medical care to Bennington County and western Windham County in Vermont and the surrounding communities in New York and Massachusetts. SVMC is Vermont’s third largest hospital and part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, which includes the Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of SVHC, and the Centers for Living & Rehabilitation, Vermont’s only Eden Alternative nursing home and four-time winner of the Vermont State Quality Award. More information about the SVHC family can be found at