West Health’s CEO, Shelley Lyford, Reappointed to California Commission on Aging

SAN DIEGO, CA – JUNE 9, 2022 – Shelley Lyford, CEO and chair of West Health, a family of nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations dedicated to lowering health care costs to improve aging in America, has been reappointed to the California Commission on Aging (CCoA) by the Senate Rules Committee. The Commission is the principal advocacy body for older Californians. Lyford has served as a commissioner since 2019; this will be her second term.

“It is a tremendous honor to serve alongside some of California’s most talented aging experts and advocates on the Commission on Aging,” said Lyford. “In recent years, the work of this body has helped inform the development of the state’s first Master Plan for Aging and has drawn attention to the needs of older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am grateful to Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and the Senate Rules Committee for the chance to continue serving on the Commission as we emerge from the pandemic and advance policies that will make California an even better place to age.”

At West Health, Lyford guides successful aging strategy and grantmaking that shape aging policy and practice and fuel the development, adoption and expansion of new models of care. Under Lyford’s leadership for the past 15 years, the Gary and Mary West Foundation has awarded more than 650 grants totaling nearly a quarter billion dollars to nonprofit organizations that conduct research or provide direct care and services to seniors, their families and caregivers.

Among her many accomplishments, Lyford led the development of 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. Today, 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 to enable seniors to remain healthy and live in their own homes. West Health is actively working to grow the PACE program nationwide.
  • Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center in San Diego, a first-of-its-kind nonprofit dental center that provides high-quality, affordable oral care and a suite of clinical, wellness and oral health educational services to older adults.

Lyford was integral in the development of California’s Master Plan for Aging and was appointed by Governor Newsom to the Stakeholder Advisory Committee responsible for the plan’s development. As a member of both the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and CCoA, Lyford provided substantive input on policy issues to be addressed by the Master Plan for Aging. In 2022, Lyford received the American Society on Aging Award for outstanding contributions to aging-related research, administration and advocacy.

The California Commission on Aging was established in 1973 by the Older Californians Act and is comprised of 25 appointees. Members of the Commission are consumers and providers of aging services, as well as researchers and academicians from the field of aging. Commissioners are volunteers who serve up to two three-year terms, appointed by the governor, the speaker of the assembly, and the Senate Rules Committee. The organization is responsible for advising the state’s governor and legislature, along with federal, state and local agencies, on issues, policies and regulations that affect California’s seniors. It works closely with public, nonprofit and private-sector institutions to address emerging challenges and opportunities fundamental to ensuring healthy, purposeful and dignified longevity for all Californians.