Heartland Community Health Center announces Julie Branstrom as new CEO

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Lawrence’s safety net clinic has selected an internal candidate, Julie Branstrom, as its new permanent CEO.

Branstrom previously worked as executive director of the Douglas County Dental Clinic, which merged with Heartland in August 2020. Since then, she has overseen Heartland’s capital campaign and new building project at 1312 W. Sixth St., according to a Wednesday news release from the organization.


She’ll start her new role on Jan. 1.

“I am thrilled to serve as the next CEO at Heartland and could not be more excited about the team I’m working with. There are great opportunities that lay ahead of us as we build on the momentum of our mergers and acquisitions and the move to our beautiful new facility,” Branstrom said in the release. “My commitment to Heartland’s mission is strong, and in a time when the services that Heartland provides are needed in our community more than ever, we will be creative problem solvers and strong community partners.”

Brad Koehler, chair of Heartland’s board of directors, said the board is honored that Branstrom accepted the position.

“As a Board, we say with utmost confidence that Julie brings extensive experience in Federally Qualified Health Center leadership to our providers and staff, steadfast dignity and respect to our patient population and an unwavering dedication to Heartland’s mission – welcoming all who need care,” he said, according to the release.

“As a Heartland patient myself, and as a proud member of our community, I know that the comprehensive candidate search our Board recently completed has revealed that the best person to care for our community is ultimately someone that already knows our community. Julie Branstrom will continue to elevate Heartland and identify exceptional possibilities for our community moving forward.”

Heartland in recent years has seen turnover in leadership and was recently operating under an interim CEO, but that hasn’t slowed its growth: “The new location provides family medicine, dental, and mental & behavioral health services under one roof and features 36 primary care exam rooms, 14 dental treatment operatories, six behavioral health rooms, a lab and a new pharmacy with a drive-thru window, slated to open in the first quarter of 2022,” according to the release.

In addition to its merger with the dental clinic, Heartland acquired Panda Pediatrics in January 2021.

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