Heartland Dental Launches Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

Dentistry Today


Heartland Dental is launching new diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives including the implementation of a new DEI policy, enhanced training for team members, employee resource groups (ERGs), and hiring new DEI leadership.

“At Heartland Dental, we have given purposeful thought to how we can better lead from a diversity, equity, and inclusion standpoint,” said Patrick Bauer, president and CEO.

“While we are guided everyday by our core values to honor, collaborate, and respect each other, we are equally deeply committed to a generous list of initiatives that we are backing with a financial investment to solidify our work,” Bauer said.

“Through these initiatives, our goal is to create and sustain a work environment where all individuals feel valued and represented and have the opportunity to excel,” said Bauer.

For example, the enhanced training and education initiative will enhance the company’s training for recruiting and hiring purposes and for team members throughout the company, Heartland Dental said.

A three-part recruiter training program includes assessing the company’s efforts to identify opportunities for deepening partnerships with a broad range of colleges and universities. Also, company-wide training for all employees is being updated to help team members better understand and avoid unconscious bias in the workplace.

Heartland Dental also will begin offering ERGs, which are voluntary groups led by and comprising employees who share common interests, backgrounds, or demographic factors such as gender or ethnicity.

The ERGs also will provide personal and professional development opportunities, allow employees to connect and share ideas, and increase visibility of groups within the company.

Heartland Dental said additional efforts are underway to continue a culture of inclusiveness as well, highlighting the company’s core values of collaboration, balance, and celebration. Its focus includes:

  • Helping to create and sustain a culture of inclusiveness
  • Better understanding supporting doctors’ and team members’ experiences while developing strategies to help achieve a healthy work-life balance
  • Promoting gratitude and recognition for supported doctors and team members
  • Encouraging career growth and development while fostering a strong culture of diversity, inclusion, and excellence in patient care

Heartland Dental also has named Nick Hornsberry its DEI manager to lead its work in this area. He will be responsible for developing and implementing DEI strategy across departments and work processes and providing guidance to the company’s DEI Committee.

“I see my role not as telling people what diversity should look like but helping to create a culture where everyone feels comfortable bringing as much of themselves into the workplace as they like,” said Hornsberry. “When all of our perspectives are represented, we achieve our best work as a company.”

With more than 10 years in nonprofit management and political advocacy work across the Midwest and South, Hornsberry has grassroots expertise in project management, team building, and strategic implementation, Heartland Dental said.

Most recently, Hornsberry served as a practice manager of operations for Heartland Dental. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago.

“We’re excited about the work underway to live out our full potential and be the best company we can be,” said Bauer. “We look forward to working alongside our supported doctors and team members to ensure that all of the talented and diverse perspectives within our Heartland Dental family are heard.”

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