Press Release

West Health Names Marie Kennedy Chief Communications Officer

3 min
October 16, 2019

SAN DIEGO, CA – October 16, 2019 – West Health, a family of nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations focused on lowering the cost of healthcare to enable successful aging, has named Marie Kennedy as its chief communications officer. Kennedy was most recently vice president of communications and public relations at Dignity Health, the fifth-largest health system in the nation and one of the largest hospital providers in the state of California.

“We are excited Marie has joined West Health and will support our efforts to intensify the spotlight on successful aging and issues affecting seniors,” said Shelley Lyford, president and CEO of West Health. “She is passionate about our work and has a long track record of success in strategic communications, making her an important asset to West Health as we continue our critical work to lower the cost of healthcare to transform aging in America.”

“It is a privilege and an honor to join this team of inspiring leaders dedicated to the vision of West Health’s founders, Gary and Mary West,” said Kennedy. “Many seniors face difficult choices because of the high cost of healthcare, while caregivers are facing an overburdened system limiting access to high-quality, affordable care for their loved ones.”

Kennedy will be a member of West Health’s executive management team and lead communications, media and public affairs strategies in support of its mission and the activities of the Gary and Mary West Foundation and West Health Institute in San Diego, and the West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. She will guide strategic communications and support the organization’s work to shape California’s first Master Plan for Aging; and create awareness of both scalable, sustainable and more affordable healthcare delivery models and common-sense public policy that lowers healthcare costs and enables successful aging.

Prior to her position at Dignity Health, Kennedy held leadership positions at Genentech, Baxter International, Amgen, and the Amgen Foundation, where she served as president. She continues to serve as a board member for several nonprofits, including California CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), an advocacy organization for children in foster care; The Lily Project, which works to improve the health and well-being of girls and women in Nicaragua through a women-centered model of development and care; and the Council on Accreditation, an international human service accrediting organization. She was also on the board of directors of the National Association of Social Workers Foundation. Kennedy received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from San Jose State University.

About West Health
Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health is a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations including the Gary and Mary West Foundation and Gary and Mary West Health Institute in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. West Health is dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. Learn more at and follow @westhealth.

Tim Ingersoll
Director of Communications

Sofia Kosmetatos
Director of Public Affairs