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.”