For Second Time in AGS History, Geriatrics Experts Award High Honor Typically Reserved for Individuals to Visionary Organization: West Health
SAN DIEGO, CA – May 13, 2022 – For only the second time in its near 80-year history, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) has awarded one of its highest honors typically reserved for individuals to West Health, a family of nonprofit organizations dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to enable older adults to successfully age in place. West Health received the David H. Solomon Memorial Public Service Award for its visionary and trailblazing work to improve healthcare and increase its affordability for America’s aging population. The award was presented during the AGS 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting (#AGS22) in Orlando, FL.
“For over 15 years, West Health has instilled real change in geriatrics by carrying out their mission to lower healthcare costs and improve care for older adults,” notes Annie Medina-Walpole, MD, AGSF and AGS board chair. “Lowering costs and enabling older people to age in place thanks to high-quality, affordable health care and support services is what community service is all about, and what the Solomon Award honors.”
West Health, which includes the Gary and Mary West Foundation, West Health Institute, and West Health Policy Center, combines the power of philanthropy, research, policy, and advocacy to fuel and foster new models of older adult-specific care, improve health and social outcomes for older people, and reduce healthcare costs.
“At a time when healthcare costs are on the rise, older adults and their families are coping with the toll of the pandemic, and agism is present in many parts of our society, this recognition from the American Geriatrics Society breathes new life into our work and affirms our mission,” said Shelley Lyford, CEO and Chair of West Health. “It is a privilege and awesome responsibility to do the work we do, and partners like AGS are critical to our success.”
Since 2006, West Health, through the Gary and Mary West Foundation, has awarded 650 grants, totaling more than $250 million, to create or support programs and research focused on aging and lowering healthcare costs. The organization has been integral in the development and implementation of California’s first Master Plan for Aging and acts as a driving force behind the growth of geriatric emergency departments and the spread of home-based care throughout the United States.
Further, the organization has developed several groundbreaking programs that have come to serve as models of care for the nation, including:
- California’s first nationally accredited, geriatric emergency department, the Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit at UC San Diego Health; more than 300 programs throughout the country are now accredited, including nearly all the emergency rooms in San Diego County.
- Gary and Mary West PACE in San Marcos, Calif., a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) that provides the necessary care, nutrition, rehabilitation, transportation, and support needed to enable seniors to remain healthy and live in their own homes.
- Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center in San Diego, CA is a nonprofit that provides high-quality, affordable dental care and a suite of clinical, wellness, and oral health education services to older adults.
On a policy front, West Health continues to actively shine a light on the devasting choices older adults and their families are making as a result of the skyrocketing cost of healthcare. West Health actively supports healthcare reforms that would lower prescription drug prices, expand value-based care, and increase price transparency.
Established by the AGS in 2002, the David H. Solomon Public Service Award celebrates the legacy of David H. Solomon, MD, AGSF, a renowned geriatrician committed to community service and advancing knowledge about the care of older individuals. It is one of several honors conferred by the AGS at its Annual Scientific Meeting. The award recipients include more than 20 healthcare leaders representing the depth and breadth of disciplines championing care for older adults. For more information, visit Meeting.AmericanGeriatrics.org.
About the American Geriatrics Society
Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has—for more than 75 years—worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.
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 westhealth.org and follow @westhealth.
About the David H. Solomon Public Service Award
The AGS created the David H. Solomon Public Service Award in 2002 to honor David H. Solomon, MD, AGSF, for his commitment to community service and the advancement of knowledge in caring for older adults. Dr. Solomon was the founding Director of the Center on Aging at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. He will forever be remembered for his excellence in research, teaching, patient care, and administration.