Local philanthropists Gary and Mary West have provided $11.8 million to the University of California San Diego to create a state-of-the-art senior emergency care unit to be housed within the Emergency Department at the future Jacobs Medical Center. The Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit will enhance care for older adults and enable a multi-year medical research initiative in partnership with the West Health Institute to support their mission of making successful aging a reality for seniors in San Diego and the nation. In recognition of the West’s support, the broader Emergency Department will also be named the Gary and Mary West Emergency Department at UC San Diego Health.
Philanthropists Gary and Mary West have provided $11.8 million to UC San Diego to create a state-of-the-art senior emergency care unit. Photo courtesy of West Health
Their support includes a $6.3 million philanthropic capital grant from the Gary and Mary West Foundation to create the Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit, the first-of-its-kind in San Diego. An additional $5.5 million in planned research funding from the West Health Institute will be used to conduct multi-year medical research for developing, evaluating and disseminating innovative care approaches for geriatric patients.
“This significant combined philanthropic and research support will help UC San Diego Health fulfill its vision to offer a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to caring for truly vulnerable members of our community,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “The Wests’ support will spur novel clinical care, research and teaching at UC San Diego, the region’s only academic health institution.”
Thanks to Gary and Mary West, UC San Diego Health in La Jolla will later this year offer enhanced emergency services designed to meet the unique needs of seniors. The services will focus on geriatric medicine, acute care screening, urgent care, case management, and social and psychiatric care. With a focus on fostering successful aging, the department will also facilitate home- and community-based care options when possible.
“Gary and Mary West share our goal of implementing new ways to enhance the quality of care and improve the overall experience of our senior patients,” said Patty Maysent, CEO, UC San Diego Health. “This future senior Emergency Department and research initiative will be the first-of-its-kind in San Diego and represent the kind of innovative, compassionate care offered throughout UC San Diego Health.”
In 2018, UC San Diego will add 8,500 sq. ft. of dedicated space for the senior emergency care unit, which will serve as a clinical, research and training hub, and become a leading site for medical education and workforce training to advance senior care.
“Mary and I are committed to helping seniors age successfully with dignity, quality of life and independence,” said Gary West, co-founder of the West Foundation and the West Health Institute. “We believe health care specifically tailored for seniors, especially geriatric emergency care, is critical to achieving these goals.”
“We are delighted to partner with UC San Diego, a leader in aging initiatives, to create an innovative environment for delivering outcomes-based senior emergency care,” said Shelley Lyford, president and chief executive officer of the West Foundation and the West Health Institute. “This model will serve as a catalyst for broader adoption of improved senior emergency care here and across the nation.”
According to the San Diego County Senior Health Report 2015, the number of local seniors aged 65 years and older is projected to double by 2030; those aged 85 years and older are projected to increase by approximately 41 percent. Last year, patients 65 and older represented 24 percent of total Emergency Department visits at UC San Diego Health.
“With more than 10,000 U.S. baby boomers turning 65 every day, seniors are one of the largest populations of patients impacting the health care system,” said Ted Chan, MD, chair of Emergency Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “We’re excited to collaborate with Gary and Mary West and the West Health Institute to engage in specialized and coordinated clinical care research, as well as provide a whole host of behavioral, urgent care and other vital programs for seniors.”
Gary and Mary West are pioneering philanthropists who established the West Foundation in 2006. To date, the Foundation has issued 367 grants totaling $162 million and created nonprofit organizations to provide outcomes-based funding to enable seniors to age on their own terms, preserving and protecting their dignity, quality of life and independence.
The Gary Mary West Health Institute is a 501(c)(3) medical research organization that conducts applied medical research to advance innovative care delivery models that enable successful aging. Additionally, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington D.C., is focused on senior-centered healthcare delivery and payment policy.