West Wireless Health Institute Established With $45M Donation
A family foundation established by telemarketing entrepreneurs Gary and Mary West today committed $45 million to help establish one of the world’s first medical research organizations to use wireless healthcare technologies. The San Diego-based West Wireless Health Institute also is supported by Scripps Health as a founding health care affiliate and Qualcomm as a founding sponsor.
The new institute is dedicated to advancing health and well being through the use of wireless technologies. Its board of directors will be chaired by founder Gary West, and include Dr. Eric J. Topol, Chief Academic Officer at Scripps Health, and Donald Jones, vice president of Health and Life Sciences at Qualcomm.
In a statement released by the Institute, Gary West says he believes “this emerging field will completely transform health care as we know it.”
“The rapid and remarkable progress in wireless sensors – continuously tracking important parameters such as blood sugar, blood pressure, all vital signs, sleep state and even caloric intake and expenditure – has the potential to change medicine in a radical and unprecedented way,” said Dr. Topol. Under his leadership the Institute “will conduct clinical research on solutions to better prevent, diagnose, manage and treat major health conditions, ranging from Alzheimer’s to heart disease to obesity.”
Gary and Mary West founded West Telemarketing in 1986, and shifted to providing computer answering services and other communication-based relationship management technologies. Their renamed West Corp. became a public company in 1996, and reached annual sales of $1.5 billion in 2005. They formed the Omaha, NE-based Gary and Mary West Foundation in 2007 after West Corp. was taken private in 2006 in a deal with Thomas H. Lee Partners and Quadrangle Group.