The Coast News Group

West Health’s Shelley Lyford named to state aging commission

ENCINITAS — Shelley Lyford, CEO of nonprofit West Health, was appointed to the California Commission on Aging on May 8 by the Senate Rules Committee.

“I am honored to join the Commission to advocate for seniors across California and help create the state’s first Master Plan for Aging,” Lyford said. “We are at a pivot point in our history when, for the first time, seniors will soon outnumber children. We need to act now to improve our healthcare and social services to prepare for this important generational shift.”

Shelley Lyford

Lyford, of Encinitas, has been the chief executive at West Health for four years and has led Gary and Mary West’s philanthropic endeavors to lower healthcare costs and improve care for seniors since its inception in 2006.

She has worked to advance a combination of applied medical research, policy, advocacy and philanthropy.

Lyford led West Health’s development of several innovative models for senior healthcare, including launching the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center for low-income seniors in 2016.

Lyford also helped opened the Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Department at UC San Diego Health in 2019.

Under her guidance, the Gary and Mary West Foundation awarded 518 grants totaling more than $211 million for healthcare research and social services for seniors and their caregivers.

Lyford also serves as vice chair of the board of directors for Civica Rx, a generic pharmaceutical company that plans to address drug shortages and lower prices of medications.

West Health has advocated for senior-focused issues and spearheaded the “We Stand With Seniors …Will You?” nonpartisan public awareness campaign.

In partnership with the with the SCAN Foundation, the campaign called on policymakers and gubernatorial candidates’ to pledge to develop a Master Plan for Aging in California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his plan to create a Master Plan for Aging at his 2019 State of the State address.

California is home to more than 5.1 million seniors now, making up 13 percent of the state’s residents — a percentage that is expected to grow to 19 percent of the population by 2030, creating an even greater demand for senior-appropriate health and supportive services.

The California Commission on Aging was established in 1973 and is comprised of 25 commissioners representing diverse fields related to aging.