Local philanthropists Gary and Mary West have provided $11.8 million to the University of California, San Diego to create a senior emergency care unit at the future Jacobs Medical Center.

The donation includes a $6.3 million philanthropic capital grant from the Gary and Mary West Foundation and an additional $5.5 million in planned research funding from the West Health Institute. The research funding will be used to conduct shared, multiyear medical research for developing, evaluating and using new health 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 in a statement. “The Wests’ support will spur novel clinical care, research and teaching at UC San Diego, the region’s only academic health institution.”

Thanks to the donation, UC San Diego Health in La Jolla will offer enhanced emergency services designed to meet the needs of seniors later this year. The services will focus on geriatric medicine, acute care screening, urgent care, case management, and social and psychiatric care. The new department will also facilitate home- and community-based care options when possible, according to a UCSD news release.

In 2018, UC San Diego will add 8,500 square feet of dedicated space for the senior emergency care unit, which will serve as a clinical, research and training hub, and become a site for medical education and workforce training to advance senior care, the release said.

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.

In recognition of the Wests' support, the broader Emergency Department at UCSD will also be named the Gary and Mary West Emergency Department at UC San Diego Health.