Nonprofit CEO: ‘Health care will help us diversify our economy and attract new industries’

Doug Geinzer is CEO of Las Vegas HEALS.

In 2010, Doug Geinzer sold a media business he had built in Las Vegas and pivoted toward his passion for health care. He volunteered to serve as CEO of the organization that would become Las Vegas HEALS, and still serves in that role today. The nonprofit organization, whose name stands for Health, Education, Advocacy, and Leadership in Southern Nevada, is devoted to improving access to and quality of health care in the area.

Do you have news you’d like to share?

Las Vegas HEALS recently moved its offices and is now co-located on the Summerlin campus of Roseman University. This gives the organization a more professional work setting and access to a 98-seat auditorium, where we can host our “Join the Conversation” events. Another big development is that the co-authors of the Regional Strategic Plan for Health & Wellness Travel were invited to Washington, D.C., to present Las Vegas’ success at the World Health Congress.

How many people are on your staff and what is your management style?

Las Vegas HEALS has just two employees. We outsource everything that we are not experts at, including: accounting/payroll, public relations, marketing, legal, event planning, etc. I like to empower those around me, identifying and leveraging their strengths, not improving their weaknesses. Companies are only as good as the people they employ.

What advanced or experimental health care is trending in the valley?

Las Vegas has several centers of excellence in the areas of fertility, brain health, cancer treatment and orthopedics. We successfully recruited Bonati Spine Institute, one of the most globally recognized, minimally invasive spine surgeons, to expand his practice in Las Vegas. His practice focuses on destination medicine, which aligns with our goal of becoming a medical tourism destination.

What do you think will be the next big thing in health care?

In Las Vegas, sports medicine will be the next big thing. Las Vegas is now home to professional hockey, soccer and women’s basketball in addition to Triple-A baseball, with football arriving in the next couple of years. We have already been treating some of the top athletes and performers in the world, including world-class performers on the Las Vegas Strip.

I also believe in the advancement of personalized medicine. No two bodies are the same, nor should they be treated the same. Las Vegas has an opportunity to play a major role in this space, as we have access to our local population of 2.2 million, but more importantly, the 42 million people who visit Las Vegas each year.

Are you involved with UNLV’s medical school? If so, do you think the recent departure of President Len Jessup will have an effect on the school’s progress?

I have been personally involved with the UNLV School of Medicine from the beginning and am a member of its community advisory board. I am a fan of President Jessup and all that he did to position UNLV to become a top-tier university. His departure is a loss to our community, but I am confident that the School of Medicine will thrive under the leadership of Dean Barbara Atkinson.

You’ve been an entrepreneur from a young age. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I do not know how to be anything but an entrepreneur. I have been running my own businesses since I was a young child, building and selling successful enterprises all along the way. I had early aspirations to be an attorney but am glad I never pursued that career path.

What has been your most exciting professional project?

Developing the nurse residency program in Las Vegas that brought a lot of federal workforce training dollars into health care was exciting. But applying the knowledge gained during that process to the expansion of graduate medical education (physician residencies) will probably be the most rewarding when I look back in 20 years.

What’s the biggest issue facing Southern Nevada?

Health care. It is not only important to the families that live in Las Vegas, but health care will help us diversify our economy and attract new industries. Education is another issue that we need to focus on. If we followed an “eds and meds” strategy like Pittsburgh, Pa., did, we could become a truly remarkable city.

Where’s your favorite place to explore in Las Vegas?

I love the outdoors. Las Vegas has so much to offer, whether it is Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead or Mount Charleston. Although our summers are hot, we have nine months out of the year that are ideal to explore the great outdoors.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

Somewhere in the tropics. I love Central and South America. I don’t see myself settling down in one place, but rather having a few residences so I can continue to travel.

Whom do you admire?

I am a Richard Branson fan. He lives life to the fullest while continuously building successful brands.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

People who do not live up to their word. Our word is the only thing that we really have in life. Where I come from, a handshake has more power than a 30-page contract.

What is something people might not know about you?

I come from a presidential bloodline. My great grandfather, John Tyler, was the 10th president of the United States.