West Health’s Shelley Lyford Receives American Society on Aging Award

NEW ORLEANS – April 13, 2022 – Shelley Lyford, Chair and CEO of West Health, a family of nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to improve aging in America, today received the American Society on Aging (ASA) Award, an honor given for outstanding contributions to aging-related research, administration, and advocacy. The ASA Award was presented here at ASA’s On Aging 2022 (#OnAging2022), the largest annual conference on aging in the United States.

“We are truly excited to recognize Shelley with the ASA Award this year,” said Peter Kaldes, Esq, President & CEO, American Society on Aging. “The work she has done throughout her career has directly benefited countless individuals and their families, while also helping to shape and influence the national dialogue around improving aging in this country. Her commitment to finding new and innovative approaches to promote policies that support aging with dignity made her truly deserving of this award.”

At West Health, Lyford guides successful aging strategy, high-impact initiatives, and grantmaking that shape aging policy and practice and fuel the development, adoption, and expansion of new models of care including geriatric emergency departments, senior dental clinics, and PACE programs. 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.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by the American Society on Aging for our work on behalf of older adults, which would not be possible without the passion, dedication, and tireless efforts of my colleagues at West Health and our grantees and collaborators in the aging community,” said Shelley Lyford. “We find common cause in working to lower healthcare costs so seniors can 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.”

During her tenure at West Health, 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; 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, a nonprofit that provides high-quality, affordable dental care and a suite of clinical, wellness, and oral health educational services to older adults.

In 2019, Lyford was appointed to a three-year term as commissioner on the California Commission on Aging, advising the state’s governor, legislature, and relevant federal, state, and local agencies on issues, policies and regulations that affect California’s seniors. She was also instrumental in convincing the state to develop its first Master Plan for Aging and serves on its Stakeholder Advisory Committee. Lyford holds a master’s degree in international relations and political economy from the University of San Diego.

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.



Aimee Brierly                                                                                     

Director of Communications                                                              

West Health