Another San Juan County native has returned to join the ranks of providers at Utah Navajo Health System, Inc.
Dr. France Nielson, DDS, has fertile roots in San Juan County as a Blanding native and 1999 graduate of San Juan High School. Dr. Nielson is the son of the late Dorothy and Preston Nielson, of Blanding. He has been living away from San Juan County since 2001, and he said he's very happy to be home.
Dr. Nielson and UNHS CFO, Jimmy Johnson share some common experiences as classmates at San Juan High School. Both played on San Juan's 1998 State 2A Football Championship team. They also came close to winning the 1999 State 2A Basketball Championship, losing to Gunnison 72-65 in the title game.
Following high school, Nielson served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Thailand, and later graduated from Brigham Young University, where he served as the student body president for one year. After graduating from BYU, Nielson attended Dental School at Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, Virginia. While in dental school Dr. Nielson married his wife, Lindsay, a native of Spokane, Washington. He said he met Lindsay at BYU, where she was studying Communications, but they didn't get around to saying 'I Do' until he was in Dental School. The couple has two sons, Sam, age 3, and Bennett, age 1.
After Dental School, Dr. Nielson enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he served as a dentist for four years. He was stationed at Travis Air Force Base, in California, and Mountain Home Air Force Base, in Idaho.
"I liked it," Nielson said of his time in the Air Force. "It was a really good learning experience. I didn't know much about the military because I didn't have much exposure to it. It was really good. There are a lot of good people in the Air Force. For me it was a patriotic thing. That's why I wanted to serve."
When his enlistment was up, he and Lindsay considered moving their family to Spokane, until he learned about an open position with UNHS, and their plans changed. After getting a call from UNHS officials, Nielson decided to move home.
"We found out about this opportunity and it's worked out great. I think it was Donna Singer that called me first and then I called them. It feels really good to be back," Nielson explained.
Dr. Nielson started working for the Dental Department at the Montezuma Creek Community Health Center on June 16, and he said he's glad to be working at UNHS, and being back home.
We're glad to have Dr. Nielson working with the UNHS family. He joins his brother Dr. Josh Nielson, who works with UNHS and Blue Mountain Hospital. When you see him, please say hello and welcome.