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Ad For Huntsman Cancer Institute Asserts Separation From University

Erik Neumann
Huntsman Cancer Institute

On Friday, Jon Huntsman Sr. published a two-page ad in Salt Lake City’s biggest newspapers highlighting achievements of the Huntsman Cancer Institute and distancing it from the University of Utah.

Huntsman published the ad in the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, the latter of which is owned by his son Paul Huntsman. In large letters the ad says that HCI is “wholly owned by the citizens of the state of Utah.”

The ad also includes a financial report detailing contributions to HCI from a variety of sources over the past two decades. They include $182 million from the Utah State Legislature, $100 million from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and $434 million from the Huntsmans, their family foundation, and other donors. It also alleges a $54 million unpaid balance owed by the University of Utah.

Chris Nelson, a spokesperson for the University, told KUER that HCI is a part of the University, so it would be inaccurate to say they owe money to themselves.

In a statement representatives from the University said “we will work with key stakeholders to strike a balance between HCI’s autonomy as a self-directed research institute and its collaboration and integration with our entire University health system.”

Huntsman’s ad is the latest move in a month-long dispute between the cancer center and the University of Utah Health Sciences division that resulted in staffing changes at both organizations. The dispute prompted a preliminary audit by the Legislature’s Auditor General and what Nelson called a financial review by the University of Utah to clarify funding sources between the two.

Correction: A previous version of this story said staffers were fired at both organizations. Huntsman Cancer Institute CEO Mary Beckerle was initially demoted from her position and later rehired. Vivian Lee resigned from her role as CEO of University of Utah Health. 

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