West Health names CEO, launches incubator, drops "wireless"

By Brian Dolan
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West HealthSan Diego-based West Wireless Health Institute has named a new CEO, former Johnson & Johnson executive Nicholas Valeriani, and launched a new incubator open to startups that have received investments from the West Health Investment Fund. The institute's first CEO Don Casey served in that role for about two years before resigning in March of this year. Casey was also a former Johnson & Johnson executive.

The institute is also changing its name to the West Health Institute and dropping "wireless" from its moniker "to better reflect the broad work required to lower health care costs." The WHI acknowledged in its announcement that "while wireless plays an important role in lowering costs, it alone will not solve the health care cost crisis," however, "wireless will remain integral to the work of the West Health Institute as a core competency."

The WHI further stressed the continued importance of wireless health for its mission by pointing to two of its "major ongoing projects" -- the Sense4Baby wireless fetal monitor and the WHI's Medical Grade Wireless Utility architecture initiative for healthcare facilities.

The WHI's new CEO Nicholas Valeriani will oversee the entire West Health initiative, including the Institute, the Washington D.C.-based West Health Policy Center, the West Health Investment Fund and the newly formed West Health Incubator. Valeriani brings some 34 years of experience at Johnson & Johnson where over the years he served as a member of the company's executive committee as corporate vice president of human resources, worldwide chairman of medical devices & diagnostics, and as vice president of the office of strategy & growth. According to the WHI, while at J&J Valeriani "was instrumental in identifying the global health care trends that led to the creation of a new wellness and prevention business platform and pioneering opportunities in the area of digital health."

Valeriani will assume his role as the new West Health CEO on September 5th.

The new West Health Incubator offers about 10,000 square feet of space at the La Jolla campus of the Institute. The incubator will also provide early stage companies strategic guidance and access to its corporate partners.