Pat Gulbrandson headshot

Pat Gulbranson ’02
Major: Business with a concentration in Healthcare Administration

Tell us about Family HealthCare and your work as CEO.

Family HealthCare is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing people access to affordable, quality primary healthcare in the Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, and Valley City regions. We’re governed by a volunteer board of directors, many of whom are patients of Family HealthCare. As the chief executive officer, I have the privilege of helping guide the organization in achieving the purpose of Family HealthCare, which is to provide people access to great medical and dental care.

What is the best part of your job?

The people. Getting to know and interact with our patients and staff is a rewarding experience. Everyone has their own story and being able to hear someone’s story gives me a glimpse into how Family HealthCare can positively impact their lives.

How do you live out Family HealthCare’s mission, both as an organization and an individual in a leadership role?

Healthcare can be complex, confusing, expensive, and scary at times. Family HealthCare’s team does an excellent job making healthcare comfortable and welcoming to anyone, which puts our mission into action on a daily basis. Kindness is at the core of our purpose and, as a leader, I’m a firm believer in treating others with kindness. Instilling kindness through my daily interactions with others helps me live out Family HealthCare’s mission successfully.

Why do you believe this mission is important?

Good health is important to all of us. I’ve been intrigued by the importance of healthcare from an early age as my mom battled cancer on several occasions throughout her life. Without good health, we struggle to fulfill our purpose in life and positively impact the lives of others. I’m fortunate to be a part of an organization that aligns well with my personal values and emphasizes the importance of providing healthcare to all.

Can you share the history of Family HealthCare and where you see it heading?

Our modest beginnings started back in 1990 in the basement of the Salvation Army in downtown Fargo; we provided healthcare to those experiencing homelessness in our community. Family HealthCare has grown considerably since its early years and currently provides care to more than 16,000 patients throughout the region with a staff of approximately 180 team members. The future is bright for Family HealthCare as the need to provide people access to affordable, quality primary healthcare in our communities continues to grow. Family HealthCare plans to continue bringing healthcare to the people, meeting them where they are, such as in neighborhoods, schools, and homes.

Additionally, can you share your personal history and your journey to this position?

The good Lord always has a hand in guiding where life takes me, oftentimes where I least expect. I grew up in Lamberton, a small Minnesota town, and attended Concordia College. Alicia, my wife (and a Dragon may I add – a testament that a Cobber and Dragon can get along once in a while), and I have made Moorhead our home ever since coming here to attend college and enjoy raising our family in the community. I graduated from Concordia College with a concentration in healthcare and long-term care administration and completed an internship with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota after graduation, which rolled into a decade-long career with them. In 2012, I had an opportunity to join Family HealthCare as their chief operating officer and was promoted to my current position of CEO in 2014. Time flies by and I’m blessed to be part of something much larger than myself.

Pat Gulbrandson sitting at conference table

What is something you are proud of that Family HealthCare has accomplished? And professionally, for yourself?

I’m proud that the Family HealthCare team lives out the mission of providing affordable, quality healthcare day in and day out, helping people in our community by improving their lives. Personally, I feel fortunate and proud to be part of such a great team and organization that improves our community on a daily basis. Family HealthCare does great work advancing our community.

When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing? 

Alicia and I enjoy chasing our three kids, Luke, Katelyn, and Jacob, around to their various activities and time at the lake with family and friends. I also enjoy fishing, hunting, and watching sports when time allows.

What do you wish you knew in college that you know now? 

Long ago, my dad provided me advice on a piece he made for my desk that states, “The ability to laugh at one’s little goofs goes a long way!” As I get older or perhaps I should say wiser, I recognize more often that my dad was right. We shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously; I wish I realized this more in college.