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El Centro native joins San Diego cancer center

February 18, 2002

LA JOLLA — Jay Jeffcoat, a partner for more than 20 years with one of San Diego's largest law firms, now is also a senior vice president with one of San Diego's top cancer research centers, effective Jan. 1.

Jeffcoat splits his time between Gray, Cary, Ware & Freidenrich in San Diego and the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in La Jolla, where he is senior vice president of community, government and public relations.

"I am very excited about the opportunity to devote substantial time to one of the most important challenges facing humanity," Jeffcoat said recently. "Fortunately, I will be able to continue serving longtime clients with the help of the Gray Cary team."

Jeffcoat started both his legal career and community service in El Centro, where he grew up. He was president of the El Centro Chamber of Commerce, Imperial County Bar Association, Kiwanis Club of El Centro, founding member of the United Way of Imperial County and a board member the American Cancer Society.

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He lived and practiced law in El Centro from 1974 to 1988.

The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center is a private, independent research institute affiliated with Sharp HealthCare. Founded in 1990 by Drs. Allan Goodman, Thomas Shiftan and Ivor Royston, the center houses a broad range of research programs, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer and colon cancer.

In addition, SKCC recruited a new president and chief executive officer, Dr. Albert Deisseroth from Yale University.

"Dr. Delsseroth's vision for a dynamic future at SKCC directly affected Jay Jeffcoat's decision to join the team here," said Ira Lechner, chairman of the center's board of trustees. "Jay is excited by the prospects of Al's scientific emphasis and will be a key contributor to promoting SKCC and its mission."

Deisseroth succeeds Royston, who remains involved with the cancer center despite a full-time position at Forward Ventures. Royston was among the team at SKCC who recruited Jeffcoat as senior vice president overseeing community, government and public relations. Jeffcoat works closely with SKCC's development department, headed by Veronica Braun.

Jeffcoat brings to the post years of leadership experience with community and business development. Jeffcoat has served on the boards of the United Way of San Diego County, the San Diego International Sports Council and the San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program. He recently served on feasibility study committees for City Arts, the Children's Museum and Balboa Theater.

Jeffcoat was a board member of the United Way of San Diego County for eight years, serving as vice president of volunteer services and secretary to the board. Through the San Diego International Sports Council, Jeffcoat chaired the U.S. Olympic Cup, an international sporting competition staged in San Diego in 1999 as a precursor to the Sydney Olympics.

As a partner in Gray Cary's business and technology litigation Group, Jeffcoat's legal profession is distinguished by complex and often lengthy court and jury trials, commercial, environmental, title insurance and agricultural litigation. He is often required to translate complicated technical subjects into evidence that is comprehensible for a jury. Serving as marketing partner of the Gray Cary firm in the early ‘90s provided experience working in the marketing and public relations arenas.

As a new vice president at SKCC, Jeffcoat also has a personal interest in advancing cancer research: his father died from undiagnosed colon cancer in 1996.

"Unfortunately, as with so many others, our family has been impacted by the tragedy of cancer," Jeffcoat said.

Jeffcoat served as a member of the board of the American Cancer Society in Imperial County in his early legal career.

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