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Essentia names new East Market president

Dr. Bill Heegaard has been president of Essentia's West Market, which covers eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, since April 2020.

Dr. Bill Heegaard.
Contributed / Essentia Heath

DULUTH — Essentia Health has named Dr. Bill Heegaard as its East Market president. Heegaard, who currently serves as Essentia's West Market president, will replace Dr. Jon Pryor, who is retiring.

Heegaard will begin transitioning to the new position in the coming weeks and officially assumes the role April 1, Essentia announced in a news release Monday morning.

Essentia Health leaders selected Heegaard from a national search.

“Dr. Heegaard’s extensive qualifications, positive energy and dedication to delivering on our mission all contributed to the highest recommendations from those involved in the rigorous selection process,” Essentia Health CEO David Herman said in the news release.

Heegaard has worked for Essentia since April 2020. He was previously chief medical officer and chief clinical officer at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, where he practiced adult and pediatric emergency medicine. He has regularly worked at Essentia emergency departments in Fargo, North Dakota, and Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, in the past three years.


Heegaard received his medical degree and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Minnesota. He also earned a master’s degree in business administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He serves as chair of the North Dakota Hospital Association Board of Directors.

Essentia's East Market covers a large part of the Northland, from Brainerd, Minnesota, to Ashland, Wisconsin. The West Market spans central North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, including Fargo-Moorhead.

West Market Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Vetter will serve as interim West Market president as a national search for this position begins.

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