In the News | Month: April 2016

Health Affairs’ GrantWatch focuses on Foundation’s and West Health’s efforts to increase access to dental care for seniors

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Health Affairs’ GrantWatch blog today featured a submission from the Gary and Mary West Foundation’s program officer, Vyan Nguyen, M.D., outlining the journey to develop an innovative approach to addressing critical oral healthcare needs for low-income seniors in San Diego.

The Foundation has already invested more than $1 million to create the state-of-the-art Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center, which is scheduled to open later this year and will be an important location for the West Health Institute’s research on coordinating dental care with healthcare and social services for seniors in need. The Senior Dental Center will be integrated within the Senior Wellness Center, providing comprehensive community-based clinical, dental, and social services, all under one roof.

“Every senior visiting the Senior Dental Center will receive a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment designed to evaluate their functional ability and physical, dental, mental, and other socioenvironmental circumstances to ensure they receive the right care at the right time,” said Nguyen, program officer at the Foundation. “Our goal is to ensure that older adults receive the holistic care and services that allow them to stay healthy, regardless of their ability to pay for services.”

Please click here to read the full post in Health Affairs’ blog.


West Health Institute Applauds Reauthorization of Older Americans Act

President Obama signs bill to continue funding for critical social and nutrition services for seniors in America through 2018

SAN DIEGO and WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 19, 2016) – Recognizing today’s signing by President Obama of the Older Americans Act (OAA) into law, the Gary and Mary West Health Institute commends elected officials for honoring the nation’s commitment to nearly 12 million seniors who will continue to receive critical social and nutrition services, including dental screenings, as a result of the funding measure.

The number of seniors in the United States is projected to grow to 72 million by 2030. Originally enacted in 1965, the OAA supports a range of home and community-based programs, such as Meals on Wheels and other nutritional support; in-home, transportation and legal services; elder abuse prevention and caregivers support.

“Today’s action will help seniors, especially those who are most in need, age successfully with dignity, quality of life and independence by continuing to receive vital social and nutrition services on which they depend on a daily basis,” said Shelley Lyford, CEO of the West Health Institute and president of the Gary and Mary West Foundation. “This reauthorization includes an often overlooked, but vitally important contributor to good health – oral care screenings, which can lead to early detection and prevention and help avoid more serious health care conditions for our aging population.”

In addition to extending the Act’s core programs, new provisions in the bill strengthen elder abuse protections, direct the administration to put forward guidelines for caring for Holocaust survivors, support oral health among seniors and promote the modernization of senior centers.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan West Health Institute conducts applied medical research to generate the evidence needed for healthcare providers, policymakers and communities to adopt models of care that better serve seniors and their families. The Institute joined with the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs, Meals on Wheels of America, National Council on Aging, Easter Seals, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and other leading organizations in support of passing this important legislation.

About the Gary and Mary West Health Institute

The Gary and Mary West Health Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit medical research organization solely funded by Gary and Mary West to make successful aging a reality for America’s seniors. The Institute works in close collaboration with the related Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center and Gary and Mary West Foundation, using applied medical research, policy and advocacy initiatives and outcomes-based philanthropy from the Foundation to advance healthcare delivery models that enable seniors to age in place, on their own terms, preserving and protecting their dignity, quality of life and independence.

Headquartered in San Diego, the West Health Institute is part of West Health, and shares an office in Washington, D.C. with the nonprofit, nonpartisan Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center. For more information, visit and follow us @westhealth. Digest Innovation Spotlight featuring President and CEO Shelley Lyford


Shelley Lyford, President & CEOShelley-Lyford

West Health & the Gary and Mary West Foundation 

Shelley Lyford, President and CEO of the Gary and Mary West Foundation and West Health will be joining us to speak about Successful Aging and Chronic Care. Ms. Lyford and West Health are committed to advancing innovative healthcare delivery models that enable seniors to age successfully.

West Health is committed to making successful aging a reality. We sat down with them to learn more about their initiatives and their impact on Aging Americans.

Why is West Health participating in the Summit 2016?
To engage with key stakeholders on research, policy and advocacy initiatives that make successful aging a reality for seniors, and increase the availability of high-quality home-centered and community-based programs throughout the country.

Tell us your disruptive innovation story. What is West Health working on that changes the game for healthcare and Aging Americans?
Through a combination of applied research, policy and community-based initiatives and outcomes-based funding, the West Health Institute and its related organizations are focused on supporting or developing sustainable healthcare delivery models for seniors that treat the patient holistically, improve the quality and coordination of care, and increase affordability.

Our special focus is on lower-income seniors who oftentimes are dealing with multiple chronic conditions and lack access to high-quality healthcare and social services and support.

Please click here to read the full Innovation Spotlight: West Health with Shelley Lyford.

West Health & Successful Aging

Foundation’s oral health efforts highlighted in Health Affairs’ Grantwatch Blog

April 12, 2015

Health Affairs’ GrantWatch blog publishes a post Oral Health, Veterans’ Health: Tidbits From The Grantmakers In Health Conference highlighting program officer Vyan Nguyen’s recent presentation on the Foundation’s work to advance oral healthcare for seniors at the Funders in Oral Health Policy Group session during Grantmakers in Health’s annual conference. Read the entire post here.