The Uncertain Future of Nevada Cancer Institute

Michael Yackira, Chairman of the Board, NVCI


This past week, we've lost another one of our home-grown entities. And this time, it impacts something our state has never been looked upon favorably for: healthcare.
This past week the Nevada Cancer Institute filed for bankruptcy and announced that it will be taken over by the University of California at San Diego Health System. Despite the fact that this marks a financial failure of the once-autonomous institute, its Chairman of the Board, Michael Yackira, appeared completely unphased by the aquisition on Wednesday's program.
“When we found that the economy had gone bust…we sought an alternative,” says Michael Yackira,  Chairman of the Board for the NVCI. “That alternative was a bankruptcy filing.”
He then went on to describe that there was a simple beauty of the US bankrupcy system: They could still keep their doors open.

The institute opened auspiciously during boom times with the goal of creating an independent, world-class cancer research center in Nevada. It was viewed as filling a gap for cancer patients. Instead of having to fly to, say, San Diego to get treatment, they could say right here in the Las Vegas Valley.
But the with philanthropic dollars dwindling and medical costs rising, NVCI’s future seemed uncertain. Until now, that is, when it will be aquired by UCSD.

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Yackira says that despite the change and bankrupty filing, the NVCI has still been a success. It did, after all, initially attract researchers and clinicians to work in Nevada, he says.

“The vision is the same,” he says of the institute’s goals. “Our desire was to move Nevada forward.” And move forward they did, Yackira says.

With fewer resources and layoffs within the past couple of months, however, the research aspect of the center may have to take a back seat for a bit.

“I think it might be a little slower to come to fruition,” Yackira says of the research aspect of the institute. “We still have a desire to have research in this state…it’s not as robust as we had hoped.”

Despite the NVCI’s mission and its new status as part of UCSD, however, Yackira admits that there are still aspects of the institute that will remain uncertain in the near future.

“I’ve never been with a nonprofit that’s been through this before,” he says.
Erin Dostal
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