In the News | Press Releases

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 westhealth.org and follow @westhealth.

Media Contact:

Tim Ingersoll

West Health

858-412-8727

tpingersoll@westhealth.org

Grantee News: West Health Institute launches exciting research study with Meals on Wheels and Brown University

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Two-year study to take place in six cities around the country to identify extended benefits of Meals on Wheels service to vulnerable seniors

SAN DIEGO, CA; ARLINGTON, VA and PROVIDENCE, RI – May 25, 2016 – The Gary and Mary West Health Institute, Meals on Wheels America and a research group in the Brown University Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research are collaborating on a two-year research program to investigate opportunities to improve the general health and well-being of homebound seniors by integrating health and safety screenings into daily meal delivery services. The research will be taking place in the following cities:

  • Cambridge, OH – Guernsey County Senior Citizens Center
  • Fort Worth, TX – Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County
  • Raleigh, NC – Meals on Wheels of Wake County
  • San Diego, CA – Meals on Wheels of Greater San Diego, Inc.
  • Sheboygan, WI – Fresh Meals of Sheboygan County
  • Westwood, NJ – Pascack Valley Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels volunteers visit with senior clients daily and are often the only person a senior will see in a day. With 9.6 million seniors facing the threat of hunger, and 15.2 million living alone in isolation, the Meals on Wheels staff and volunteers build important relationships with meal recipients and are usually the first person to observe health status changes that could lead to more serious issues, and to routinely report any issues to caregivers or healthcare providers.

The aim of this two-year program, called More Than a Meal Phase 3, is to standardize reporting mechanisms and improve communication with healthcare providers to prevent an adverse health event. The assessment will help identify health, safety and social needs such as loneliness, depression or fall risk. By providing volunteers with simple screening tools and user-friendly technology, the study is designed to improve care coordination across the medical and home community, informing providers and caregivers of changing conditions before a potentially catastrophic health event occurs.

“Our More Than a Meal research series with Brown University continues to reinforce the holistic value of Meals on Wheels,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “It is our hope that Phase 3 will enable us to rigorously understand and continue to validate the extended benefits of crossing the threshold into a client’s home on their overall health and quality of life.”

“Meal delivery is an essential support for homebound seniors, providing a vital lifeline to the outside world for these individuals and we believe the Meals on Wheels staff and volunteers can also be a critical link into the healthcare system, bringing to light possible health, wellness and safety needs,” said Shelley Lyford, president and CEO of the West Health Institute and Gary and Mary West Foundation. “By researching how we can coordinate and extend the ability of the drivers to monitor the health and well-being of clients, we hope to identify new ways to improve the lives of seniors through the people that may be one of their only connections to the outside world.”

Meals on Wheels America has been an important collaborator with the West Health Institute and Gary and Mary West Foundation, which in February announced a $200,000 grant to conduct a retrospective review of the demographic and associated healthcare information of Meals on Wheels recipients to gain insight on the program’s health benefits to Medicare recipients as part of the More Than a Meal Phase 2 study. The Foundation has also supported Meals on Wheels of Greater San Diego to build a state-of-the-art meal center with a commercial kitchen that served more than 430,000 meals to 3,000 seniors in 2015.

“This program provides an opportunity to further analyze the impact that home-delivered meals can have on the health and well-being of older adults,” said gerontologist Kali Thomas, assistant professor (research) of Health Services, Policy and Practice in the Brown University School of Public Health. “In the data we have gathered in earlier phases we have found important benefits of home-delivered meals beyond just nutrition. As we continue this research, it is important to have the support of organizations like the West Health Institute and Gary and Mary West Foundation that understand the significance of the connection between Meals on Wheels programs and the people they serve.”

California State University Institute for Palliative Care Issues Call for Research Proposals: June 1 – August 31

Seed Grant Funding from the Gary and Mary West Foundation will Support Academic Faculty Education and Research

SAN DIEGO, CA – May 24, 2016 – The California State University Institute for Palliative Care (Institute) has received support from the Gary and Mary West Foundation to award seed grant funding worth $10,000 to academic faculty attending the Engaging the Next Generation: Academic Palliative Care Education and Research Symposium.  The event, which will be held from September 30 – October 1, 2016 on the campus of California State University San Marcos, is designed to advance education and research in palliative care among academic faculty.  Applications for grants will be accepted from June 1 – August 31, 2016, with application information provided at registration. The grants to be awarded will be announced at the symposium.

Attendees of the symposium are encouraged to submit proposals for seed grant funding to demonstrate the potential of innovative educational and research projects that improve care and enhance quality of life for serious and chronically ill patients. The symposium will bring together faculty from across the U.S. who teach and conduct research in the field of palliative care and related areas. Seed grant awardees will be invited to present the results of their work at the 2017 Symposium.

Palliative care provides those with a serious or chronic illness – from the time of diagnosis throughout the course of treatment – care that addresses not only physical needs but also their psychosocial, emotional and spiritual needs and optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing and managing suffering. It is delivered by an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists and other practitioners. According to the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, more than 90 million Americans are living with serious illness today and this number is expected to significantly increase with more than 10,000 U.S. baby boomers turning 65 every day.

“To achieve the transformation necessary for palliative care to become the standard practice across the healthcare system, we need higher education faculty and researchers to engage the next generation of professionals with palliative care,” said CSU Institute for Palliative Care Executive Director Helen B. McNeal. “These seed grants will help to foster exploration, innovation and research at the nation’s colleges and universities and help to advance the work of dedicated faculty to meet this challenge.”

“Palliative care has tremendous potential for improving the quality of life for seriously ill seniors in this country,” said Tim Lash, executive vice president of strategy and successful aging for the Gary and Mary West Foundation. “The Foundation provides outcomes-based funding to support successful aging initiatives and these seed grants will advance innovative palliative care research that aligns with our mission of enabling seniors to successfully age, living life on their own terms with access to high-quality health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence.”

Five seed grants will be awarded at the symposium. Detailed information about the application process will be provided to symposium registrants upon registration. Faculty members interested in or engaged in palliative care education and research are invited to learn more about the symposium or register by visiting csupalliativecare.org/symposium. For further information, call the CSU Institute for Palliative Care at 760-750-4006.

About the CSU Institute for Palliative Care

The CSU Institute for Palliative Care is dedicated to increasing access to and awareness of palliative care by educating current and future professionals as well as community members. It offers palliative care-focused professional development and continuing education courses that are enhancing the skills of current and future healthcare professionals across the country and around the world. Housed within the largest university system in the United States, the Institute is dedicated to ensuring the trained palliative care workforce needed to meet the growing number of chronically or seriously ill people in all care settings, today and tomorrow.

About the Gary and Mary West Foundation

The Gary and Mary West Foundation is a private, 501(c)(3) non-operating foundation solely funded by Gary and Mary West and is dedicated to helping make successful aging a reality for America’s seniors. Working with grantees such as the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center and other senior-focused national and community-based organizations, the Foundation’s outcomes-based philanthropy supports initiatives to advance home- and community-based healthcare delivery, services and supports that preserve and protect seniors’ dignity, quality of life and independence.

The San Diego-based Foundation is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2016 and accepts grant proposals by invitation only. Learn more at gmwf.org, and follow us @GMWFoundation.

CSU Institute for Palliative Care Media Contact:
Contact: Steve Dahl
sdahl@csusm.edu
(760) 750-7292

Media Contact:
Contact: Tim Ingersoll
tpingersoll@westhealth.org
(858) 412-8727

$11.8 Million in Support from Gary and Mary West to Launch Geriatric Emergency Department

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Wests and UC San Diego Health Enhance Care for Seniors

 

SAN DIEGO, CA – May 2, 2016 – Local philanthropists Gary and Mary West have provided $11.8 million to the University of California San Diego to create a state-of-the-art senior emergency care unit to be housed within the Emergency Department at the future Jacobs Medical Center. The Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit will enhance care for older adults and enable a multi-year medical research initiative in partnership with the West Health Institute to support their mission of making successful aging a reality for seniors in San Diego and the nation. In recognition of the West’s support, the broader Emergency Department will also be named the Gary and Mary West Emergency Department at UC San Diego Health.

Their support includes a $6.3 million philanthropic capital grant from the Gary and Mary West Foundation to create the Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit, the first-of-its-kind in San Diego. An additional $5.5 million in planned research funding from the West Health Institute will be used to conduct multi-year medical research for developing, evaluating and disseminating innovative care approaches for geriatric patients.

“This significant combined philanthropic and research support will help UC San Diego Health fulfill its vision to offer a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to caring for truly vulnerable members of our community,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “The Wests’ support will spur novel clinical care, research and teaching at UC San Diego, the region’s only academic health institution.”

Thanks to Gary and Mary West, UC San Diego Health in La Jolla will later this year offer enhanced emergency services designed to meet the unique needs of seniors. The services will focus on geriatric medicine, acute care screening, urgent care, case management, and social and psychiatric care. With a focus on fostering successful aging, the department will also facilitate home- and community-based care options when possible.

“Gary and Mary West share our goal of implementing new ways to enhance the quality of care and improve the overall experience of our senior patients,” said Patty Maysent, CEO, UC San Diego Health. “This future senior Emergency Department and research initiative will be the first-of-its-kind in San Diego and represent the kind of innovative, compassionate care offered throughout UC San Diego Health.”

In 2018, UC San Diego will add 8,500 sq. ft. of dedicated space for the senior emergency care unit, which will serve as a clinical, research and training hub, and become a leading site for medical education and workforce training to advance senior care.

“Mary and I are committed to helping seniors age successfully with dignity, quality of life and independence,” said Gary West, co-founder of the West Foundation and the West Health Institute. “We believe health care specifically tailored for seniors, especially geriatric emergency care, is critical to achieving these goals.”

“We are delighted to partner with UC San Diego, a leader in aging initiatives, to create an innovative environment for delivering outcomes-based senior emergency care,” said Shelley Lyford, president and chief executive officer of the West Foundation and the West Health Institute. “This model will serve as a catalyst for broader adoption of improved senior emergency care here and across the nation.”

According to the San Diego County Senior Health Report 2015, the number of local seniors aged 65 years and older is projected to double by 2030; those aged 85 years and older are projected to increase by approximately 41 percent. Last year, patients 65 and older represented 24 percent of total Emergency Department visits at UC San Diego Health.

“With more than 10,000 U.S. baby boomers turning 65 every day, seniors are one of the largest populations of patients impacting the health care system,” said Ted Chan, MD, chair of Emergency Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “We’re excited to collaborate with Gary and Mary West and the West Health Institute to engage in specialized and coordinated clinical care research, as well as provide a whole host of behavioral, urgent care and other vital programs for seniors.”

Gary and Mary West are pioneering philanthropists who established the West Foundation in 2006. To date, the Foundation has issued 367 grants totaling $162 million and created nonprofit organizations to provide outcomes-based funding to enable seniors to age on their own terms, preserving and protecting their dignity, quality of life and independence.

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About the Gary and Mary West Health Institute

The Gary and Mary West Health Institute is a 501(c)(3) medical research organization dedicated to helping seniors successfully age in place on their own terms. The Institute focuses on applied medical research and advocacy to advance home- and community-based healthcare delivery, services and supports that preserve and protect seniors’ dignity, quality of life and independence.

The San Diego-based Institute, which is solely funded by Gary and Mary West, collaborates with the Gary and Mary West Foundation and nonprofit, nonpartisan Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington D.C. on senior-centered healthcare policy and payment reform. For more information, visit westhealth.org and follow @westhealth.

About the Gary and Mary West Foundation

The Gary and Mary West Foundation is a private, 501(c)(3) non-operating foundation solely funded by Gary and Mary West and is dedicated to helping make successful aging a reality for America’s seniors. Working with grantees such as the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center and other senior-focused national and community-based organizations, the Foundation’s outcomes-based philanthropy supports initiatives to advance home- and community-based healthcare delivery, services and supports that preserve and protect seniors’ dignity, quality of life and independence.

The San Diego-based Foundation is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2016 and accepts grant proposals by invitation only. Learn more at gmwf.org, and follow us @GMWFoundation.

Media Contacts:
Jackie Carr, 619-543-6163, jcarr@ucsd.edu
Jade Griffin, 858-822-5309, jadegriffin@ucsd.edu
Tim Ingersoll, West Health Institute, 858-412-8727, tpingersoll@westhealth.org

Meals on Wheels America Grant from Gary and Mary West Foundation to Explore Healthcare Benefits of Meal Delivery for Homebound Seniors

Arlington, VA, and San Diego, CA, February 25, 2016 – Meals on Wheels America has been awarded a grant from the Gary and Mary West Foundation to conduct a retrospective review of the demographic and associated healthcare information of Meals on Wheels recipients to gain insight on the program’s health benefits to Medicare recipients.

Through its grant, Meals on Wheels America is commissioning researchers at the Brown University Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research to leverage data from local Meals on Wheels programs with Medicare health claims information to study the health impacts of receiving home-delivered meals compared to seniors who are non-Meals on Wheels recipients. Called More Than a Meal Phase 2 – Medicare Claims Analysis Study, this project builds on the More Than a Meal pilot study released in March of 2015 and for which Brown University also led the research.

“We hope this research will reinforce the value of nutrition and the importance of Meals on Wheels  services to vulnerable seniors,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “Ultimately, we hope to show that the Meals on Wheels delivery system – the nutritious meals, along with the daily social contact and routine safety check – has considerable impact on the health and well-being of seniors.”

Findings from this project may signal whether any differences in healthcare utilization can be attributed to the different meal delivery modalities as compared to a matched population of Medicare beneficiaries /non-Meals on Wheels recipients, and will be important information for decisions made at the federal, state and local levels about the availability of nutrition services.

“Homebound seniors depend on organizations like Meals on Wheels to live. Studying the health impacts from delivering these meals is essential to expanding the reach of these services,” said Shelley Lyford, President and CEO of the Gary and Mary West Foundation. “Improving the quality and coordination of care for our nation’s older adults through innovative community-and home-based models is critical to helping our seniors age successfully.”

For more information, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/research.


About Meals on Wheels America

Meals on Wheels America is the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network exists in virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.

About the Gary and Mary West Foundation

The Gary and Mary West Foundation is a private non-operating foundation solely funded by Gary and Mary West dedicated to helping make successful aging a reality for America’s seniors. Working in collaboration with the flagship Gary and Mary West Health Institute and related Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center, these organizations use applied medical research, policy and advocacy initiatives with outcomes-based funding from the foundation. Collectively, they work to enable seniors to age in place, on their own terms, preserving and protecting their dignity, quality of life and independence.

The foundation, which accepts grant proposals by invitation only, is based in San Diego and is celebrating its 10 year anniversary in 2016. Learn more at gmwf.org, and follow us @GMWFoundation.

The Gary and Mary West Foundation Receives Generations United Leadership Award for Outstanding Support of Intergenerational Programs

SAN DIEGO, CA and HONOLULU, HI (JULY 23, 2015) – Washington, D.C.-based Generations United proudly announced today that the Gary and Mary West Foundation of Solana Beach, CA is the recipient of the Generations United Leadership Award for Outstanding Support of Intergenerational Programs. This award, given today at the Intergenerational Action on a Global Scale conference in Honolulu, HI, honors a funder whose support has led to significant advances in the intergenerational field.

“We are honored to present the Gary and Mary West Foundation with the Generations United Leadership Award for Outstanding Support of Intergenerational Programs,” said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United. “The foundation has been particularly instrumental in supporting the development of intergenerational programs in San Diego, such as Serving Seniors through the creation of their flagship Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center, which has been recognized internationally as a model for successful aging.”

The Gary and Mary West Foundation was created in 2006 to make a significant impact on the quality of life in the community and in our country. Two of the foundation’s central areas focus on improving the quality of life of low-income older adults and helping urban youth who are not going on to college find employment. Because of this intersection, the foundation has paid particular attention to funding a variety of intergenerational programming. The foundation is also focused on creating a healthcare delivery system that provides high-quality, more accessible care at a lower cost.

“This distinguished award honors the innovative and invaluable philanthropic support the Foundation has given to intergenerational programs over the years that build bridges between young and old individuals in San Diego County, valuing their unique strengths and contributions,” said Shelley Lyford, president and CEO of the Gary and Mary West Foundation. “This recognition is a result of the unwavering commitment of Gary and Mary West – the hard work and dedication of our exceptional employees at the Foundation – and all of our grantees making successful aging a reality for seniors and their loved ones.”

Other 2015 recipients of Generations United’s leadership award are: Dr. Robert Putnam, Michelle Singletary, Dr. Matt Kaplan, Dr. Alan Lai, Family Education & Support Services of Olympia, WA, ‘Iolani School, Sweet Readers, Elouise Frank, Taylor Hamai, Sandy Kraemer and Dr. Nancy Henkin.

Please click here to learn more about other award recipients.

 

About Generations United

For nearly three decades, Generations United www.gu.org has been the catalyst for policies and practices stimulating cooperation and collaboration among generations, evoking the vibrancy, energy and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together. We believe that we can only be successful in the face of our complex future if generational diversity is regarded as a national asset and fully leveraged.

About the Gary and Mary West Foundation

The Gary and Mary West Foundation is the second-largest private, 501(c)(3) non-operating foundation in San Diego, California and was established in 2006 by successful entrepreneurs and philanthropists Gary and Mary West. Their greatest passions are improving care for our nation’s seniors, enabling them to age successfully and transforming high-quality healthcare delivery to make it more accessible and affordable for all Americans.

The Gary and Mary West Foundation funds nonprofit organizations primarily based in San Diego, California and Omaha, Nebraska with a proven record of achieving measurable and meaningful results. Grantees share Gary’s and Mary’s commitment to enabling seniors to live their lives on their own terms with access to high-quality healthcare and supportive services that preserve and protect one’s dignity, quality of life and independence. We’re passionate about creating a healthcare delivery system that provides high-quality, more accessible care at a lower cost.

We also support the deployment of service canines to seniors and disabled veterans of the Armed forces of the United States. By working with our grantees we are making a significant, positive impact on all seniors’ lives. The Gary and Mary West Foundation develops high-impact partnerships with its nonprofit partners to make a significant impact for seniors and accepts grant applications by invitation only.

For more information, visit www.gmwf.org and follow us @GMWFoundation.

West Health’s Nick Valeriani to Retire From Chief Executive Role; Shelley Lyford Named as Successor

SAN DIEGO, CA and WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 7, 2015 – West Health today announced that Nick Valeriani will retire from the organization’s chief executive position, effective September 4, 2015. Valeriani will remain on the Gary and Mary West Health Institute’s board of directors and will join the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center’s board. Shelley Lyford, currently the Institute’s chief operating officer and president of successful aging, will assume the role of chief executive of West Health. She also serves as president and chief executive officer of the Gary and Mary West Foundation.

Valeriani has been the organization’s chief executive since September 2012. While at West Health, he led the organization’s efforts to improve care coordination, communication and price transparency in healthcare, and was instrumental in forming the Center for Medical Interoperability, an independent, hospital-led non-profit focused on accelerating medical technology’s ability to seamlessly exchange healthcare information. His tenure at West Health culminated in the development of the organization’s successful aging strategy for our nation’s seniors.

“I am deeply honored to have led this wonderful organization in its mission to improve healthcare, which has been one of the best experiences of my 37-year career,” Valeriani said. “It is the right time for me to relinquish my day-to-day leadership responsibilities to Shelley, as we have worked to further clarify and focus our work on enabling successful aging. We have laid out a vision for West Health that builds upon our research to-date to make successful aging a reality for all seniors; it will be our North Star.”

Valeriani came to West Health after establishing himself as a visionary healthcare leader over a 34-year career with Johnson & Johnson where he led several corporate functions and was a member of the executive committee. In addition to serving on the boards of directors of the Institute and Policy Center, Valeriani currently serves on the boards of the Center for Medical Interoperability, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Edwards Lifesciences and the Reagan-Udall Foundation.

“Nick has been the right leader to shape West Health’s successful aging strategy for the future. His expertise in healthcare is second to none and we are grateful for his dedication to our organization and commitment to our mission,” said Gary West, founder and chairman of the Institute’s board of directors. “Nick’s effective leadership, counsel and stewardship have led us where we are today, and we are so pleased he will continue to support our mission by remaining on our boards.”

Lyford brings extensive experience in developing and leading world-class organizations focused on seniors. In 2007, Lyford helped launch the Gary and Mary West Foundation, which is the second largest private foundation in San Diego. In her role as its president and CEO, Lyford oversees the organization’s outcome-oriented, results-driven philanthropy, with a focus on positively impacting the health and well-being of seniors. She has led the Foundation’s senior portfolio efforts, including supporting organizations such as Serving Seniors and the flagship Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center, which is hailed as an international model for successful aging.

“Shelley is passionate about helping us change the landscape for older Americans to ensure they have access to the highest quality healthcare at the lowest cost. This is the legacy that Mary and I want to leave,” said West. “Her extensive experience in aging initiatives make her the best-qualified person to lead West Health to transform healthcare so seniors can live their life on their own terms while preserving and protecting their dignity, quality of life and independence. Our boards of directors share my confidence in Shelley’s leadership as we embark on the next phase of our mission-driven work.”

Prior to her work with Gary and Mary West, Lyford was a director at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Joan Kroc Institute at the University of San Diego. Lyford currently sits on the Executive Committee of Grantmakers in Aging and is chairperson of the newly-formed Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center. Lyford has been with West Health since its initial formation in 2009.

“I am humbled and excited to have the opportunity to lead West Health and advance our successful aging efforts. It is a true passion of our founders and will be our guiding light for the future,” Lyford said. “Working closely with the Gary and Mary West Foundation, West Health will solely focus on enabling successful aging for all seniors, building upon the learnings of our past medical research. With 10,000 people turning 65 every day, there is a growing need to ensure they have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare that meets their diverse needs, and we won’t rest until it becomes a reality.”

About West Health

Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health is dedicated to pioneering new and smarter technologies, policies and practices to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost to all Americans. Our focus is supporting and creating healthcare delivery models that enable seniors to successfully age on their own terms, preserving and protecting their dignity, quality of life and independence.

Headquartered in San Diego with an office in Washington, D.C., West Health includes the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, a nonprofit medical research organization and the nonprofit, nonpartisan Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center. For more information, visit westhealth.org and follow us @westhealth