Who We Are

We provide investments and expertise to businesses like yours who share our mission of making high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost to all Americans.

 

Along with the Investment Fund, West Health includes the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, a nonprofit medical research organization working to create new, more effective ways of delivering care; the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center, a nonprofit resource in Washington, D.C., providing policy education and proposals; and the West Health Incubator, providing expertise and resources to young businesses that share our mission.

The Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund invests in businesses that share the mission of West Health—four organizations pioneering new and smarter technologies, policies and practices, to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost to all Americans. The Investment Fund is a for-profit venture, with all returns committed to medical research and other charitable activities.

 

About Gary & Mary West

Investment Committee

Manager

Nicholas J. Valeriani
Nicholas J. Valeriani

Manager

In his role as chief executive of the collective West Health effort, Nicholas J. Valeriani brings valuable expertise in engineering, operations, medical devices and diagnostics, entrepreneurship and non-profit leadership that make him uniquely qualified to advance the mission to pioneer new and smarter technologies, policies and practices, to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost to all Americans through the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center, the Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund and the West Health Incubator. Together, the four organizations of West Health are transforming the American healthcare experience. Valeriani is the CEO of the Institute and the chair of the Executive Committee, the coordinated leadership team of West Health.

Valeriani established 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 corporation’s executive committee as corporate vice president of human resources; worldwide chairman of medical devices & diagnostics; and as vice president of the Office of Strategy & Growth. He was instrumental in identifying the global healthcare trends that led to the creation of a new wellness and prevention business platform and pioneering opportunities in the area of digital health.

He currently serves on the board of directors for the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Valeriani has an M.B.A. from Rutgers University, Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from Rutgers University, College of Engineering.

Co-Manager

Joseph M. Smith, MD, PhD, FACC
Joseph M. Smith, MD, PhD, FACC

Co-Manager

In his role as chief medical and science officer, Dr. Joseph M. Smith brings strategic, engineering and clinical expertise to advance West Health's  mission to pioneer new and smarter technologies, policies and practices, to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost to all Americans. This is accomplished through the nonprofit Gary and Mary West Health Institute, the nonprofit Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center, the for-profit Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund and the for-profit West Health Incubator. Together, the four organizations of West Health are transforming the American healthcare experience. Dr. Smith’s role encompasses directing the West Health Institute’s medical and clinical research and is a co-manager of West Health Investment Fund.

Dr. Smith has an extensive career at the intersection of clinical medicine and engineering. Prior to joining the Institute, he was vice president of emerging technologies for Johnson & Johnson in their corporate office of science and technology. He also served as senior vp and chief medical officer of Guidant/Boston Scientific’s Cardiac Rhythm Management. Before accepting leadership roles in the industry, Dr. Smith was a practicing cardiologist for almost two decades, starting at the Brigham and Women's hospital in Boston, with sub-specialty training in clinical cardiac electrophysiology. Dr. Smith also established the Arrhythmia Institute in Fairfax, VA, which specializes in interventional cardiac electrophysiology and clinical research.

Dr. Smith was named one of "20 People Who Make Healthcare Better" by HealthLeaders Magazine in 2010. He serves as faculty at the University of Southern California and advisor to Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering, the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology, the Wellcome Trust, and a number of innovative healthcare and technology start-up companies. He has testified before Congress on the value of healthcare technology and the potential of wireless health technology to lower healthcare costs. He's also a member of the Food and Drug Administration Safety Innovation Act (FDASIA) workgroup, providing expert input on topics identified by the FDA, ONC and FCC concerning the regulation of health information technology. Dr. Smith holds a B.E.S from The Johns Hopkins University; a Ph.D. in medical engineering and medical physics from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology; and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Co-Manager

Richard Dakers
Richard Dakers

Co-Manager

In his role as chief strategy officer and executive vice president of business development, Richard Dakers oversees the strategic planning process, all business development, technology transfer and licensing activities, and the interoperability initiative. He also evaluates existing and new strategic areas of interest to advance West Health’s mission to pioneer new and smarter technologies, policies and practices, to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost to all Americans. This is accomplished through the nonprofit Gary and Mary West Health Institute, the nonprofit Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center, the for-profit Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund and the for-profit West Health Incubator. Together, the four organizations of West Health are transforming the American healthcare experience.

As a member of the operating committee and co-manager of the West Health Investment Fund, Dakers brings 33 years of experience to his position with an extensive career in business development and recognition as a subject matter expert in the broader medical technology industry. Most recently, he was vice president, business development and worldwide strategy for Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, a Johnson & Johnson company. He began his career at Johnson & Johnson in 1979, spending the first 10 years in positions of increasing responsibility in sales, marketing and general management in Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East. In 1991, Dakers joined Ethicon Endo-Surgery as director of marketing helping to create and establish the minimally-invasive surgery market. He then assumed business development and strategic planning roles, eventually overseeing these functions for the Medical Device & Diagnostics segment of Johnson & Johnson. In this role, he was responsible for coordinating the mergers and acquisition process, as well as leading key acquisitions for the company. Dakers has a Bachelor of Science degree, with honors, in science and social science from Edinburgh Napier University in the United Kingdom.

Chief Financial Officer

Michael M. Caponetto, MBA
Michael M. Caponetto, MBA

Chief Financial Officer

In his role as Chief Financial Officer of West Health, Mike Caponetto brings strategic financial, operating and administrative expertise to advance the unique, one-of-a-kind initiative’s mission to lower health care costs through the West Health Institute, West Health Policy Center, West Health Investment Fund and West Health Incubator.  All of these entities focus on lowering costs by creating innovative, patient-centered solutions that deliver the right care at the right place at the right time.  

As a member of the executive leadership team, Caponetto oversees investments, long-term financial strategies and day-to-day financial and administrative operations of the West Health Institute, West Health Policy Center, West Health Investment Fund and West Health Incubator.  In this role, he maximizes West Health’s resources for achieving its mission, working closely with the other members of management team to help ensure the entities are focused on opportunities with the greatest cost-savings potential.  He also helps lead investments for the West Health Investment Fund.

Caponetto has extensive experience providing strategic, financial and operational leadership to a number of successful companies in the healthcare sector and various industries. Prior to joining West Health, he was Chief Financial Officer, Director of M&A, and a senior member of the management team for two Goldman Sachs-backed companies, via the firm's Special Situations Group.  His roles included financial and accounting operations, administration, human resources, and M&A, financing and growth strategies for Business Records Management LLC, an information management services company, and NorthStar Nuclear Medicine, LLC, a multidisciplinary radiopharmaceutical company he helped found and obtain financing.

Previously, Caponetto was Senior Principal and Managing Director at Triple Tree, LLC and Vine Street Partners/Century Capital Group, respectively, where he was responsible for the origination and execution of transactions involving mergers, acquisitions and venture capital, private equity and debt financings.  He has advised companies across numerous healthcare sectors, including without limitation medical devices, healthcare information technology, medical equipment, managed care, and institutional pharmacies. Caponetto earned an MBA with concentrations in finance and accounting from the University of Chicago (Booth) Graduate School of Business.

Chief Operating Officer

Shelley Lyford, MA
Shelley Lyford, MA

Chief Operating Officer

As chief operating officer of the collective West Health effort, Shelley Lyford works with the executive leadership team to advance West Health’s mission to pioneer new and smarter technologies, policies and practices, to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost to all Americans. This is accomplished through the nonprofit Gary and Mary West Health Institute, the nonprofit Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center, the for-profit Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund and the for-profit West Health Incubator. Together, the four organizations of West Health are transforming the American healthcare experience.

In addition to leading operational efforts, Lyford works directly with the West Health Institute’s board of directors and advises management on implementing strategic initiatives, objectives and policies. She also has a leadership role in the West Health Investment Fund.

In addition to her roles at West Health, Lyford also serves as President of the Gary and Mary West Foundation, which was established in 2006 to make a significant impact on the quality of life in the community and in our country. Over the past seven years, the Foundation’s philanthropic investments have focused on efforts to lower the cost of healthcare, improve the quality of life for low income seniors and support the deployment of professionally trained service dogs.

Prior to her work with the Wests, Lyford was a director at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Joan Kroc Institute at the University of San Diego. While with the United Nations and the International Executive Service Corps, she gained experience in assessing the viability of opportunities in emerging markets. Lyford currently sits on the Governance Committee of Grantmakers in Aging. She graduated from the University of San Diego Summa Cum Laude with a M.A. in international relations and political-economy.