In the News | Month: September 2016

West Health Promotes Zia Agha, M.D. to Chief Medical Officer

 SAN DIEGO, CA – Sept. 8, 2016 – West Health, dedicated to enabling successful aging for our nation’s seniors, announced today that Zia Agha, M.D. has been promoted to the role of chief medical officer (CMO). In addition to the CMO role, Dr. Agha will remain as West Health’s executive vice president of clinical research and informatics and have additional responsibilities for telehealth.

Dr. Agha will serve as physician leader for West Health, which includes the West Health Institute, Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center and Gary and Mary West Foundation, ensuring its research portfolio and initiatives are translated into clinical practice, policy reform and scalable innovations that will allow seniors to successfully age in place.

“Dr. Agha has been instrumental in developing and executing West Health’s clinical strategy of applied medical research to advance new healthcare models for seniors,” said Shelley Lyford, president and chief executive officer of West Health. “He is a passionate researcher, physician and advocate who appreciates the real challenges and unmet needs of seniors and their families.”

Dr. Agha joined the West Health Institute in 2014 and leads the organization’s clinical research and medical informatics initiatives, focused on creating and advancing senior-appropriate acute and chronic care models, and improving access to long-term services and supports. He has also played a pivotal role in developing the Institute’s robust data science capabilities.

“With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, we have an incredible opportunity to research, validate and accelerate adoption of new healthcare delivery models that address the specialized needs of seniors,” said Dr. Agha. “I look forward to continuing to strengthen our current collaborations and build new ones with like-minded organizations across the country, studying ways to improve healthcare delivery and support services for seniors.”

Prior to joining West Health, Dr. Agha was director of health services research and development at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Dr. Agha has successfully led interdisciplinary teams of clinicians, researchers and engineers focused on advancing innovative, patient-centered healthcare delivery models that improve care.

An internal medicine physician and professor at UCSD, Dr. Agha earned his medical degree from Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan.  He also completed a general internal medicine residency and fellowship in health services research from the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Agha is a diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

About West Health

Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health includes the nonprofit and nonpartisan Gary and Mary West Health Institute and Gary and Mary West Foundation in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington D.C. All of these organizations are working together toward a shared mission dedicated to enabling seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality health and support services that preserve and protect seniors’ dignity, quality of life and independence. For more information, visit and follow @westhealth.

Media Contact:

Tim Ingersoll

West Health


HuffPost 50 features a blog by West Health’s Shelley Lyford on our successful aging focus for our nation’s seniors

Huffington Post: “Think bold, not old when it comes to aging”

by Shelley Lyford

August 24, 2016

“By 2030, about 20 percent of the entire U.S. population will be 65 or older, signifying one of the most profound and significant demographic shifts in American history. Little more than 15 years ago, only about 12 percent of people were older than 65. These statistics should be met with celebration for the fact that people are living longer. But living longer doesn’t necessarily mean living better. Our current system of healthcare and social and supportive services, which are already under tremendous pressure, are simply not scaled or structured for the aging of America. If we don’t do something, and something bold, getting older, particularly for lower-income Americans, may mean living longer, but not living healthier, independently or successfully. The opportunity is now.”

Please click here to read the full blog at the Huffington Post.