Inside Dentistry
May 2014
Volume 10, Issue 5

Care Extends Beyond Finding a Cure for Caries

The Diversity Foundation promotes caring, acceptance, and inclusion

Dan Fischer, DDS, founder, president, and chief executive officer of Ultradent Products, Inc., an international dental supply and manufacturing company based in South Jordan, Utah, says, “My father taught me as a young boy that it is only with an open hand to give that one has the ability to receive.”

Throughout Ultradent’s 35 years in the dental industry, Dr. Fischer hasn’t forgotten his father’s sage advice to always keep his hand open to give. Perhaps this influenced his early decision to include care as one of Ultradent’s core values. To Dr. Fischer, care extends far beyond finding a cure for caries, improving oral health globally, or promoting the practice of minimally invasive dentistry throughout the world. Care means giving to those with their hands open to receive. This focus on such an important core value has led to some very unique and personal opportunities for Dr. Fischer, through Ultradent, to truly make a meaningful difference—some in ways that hit very close to home.

Dr. Fischer was raised in a third-generation polygamous household. He left the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) religion and polygamy 11 years ago. Due to his former experience with polygamy, and stemming from his concerns over the countless headlines detailing violent acts of hate, Dr. Fischer created Ultradent’s Diversity Foundation, a nonprofit foundation committed to preventing hate crimes by promoting diversity and fostering multicultural awareness among individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life.

One of the Diversity Foundation’s primary focuses has been to help the enormous number of young people who have been kicked out, or discouraged out, of the FLDS communities in the twin cities of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah. The Diversity Foundation’s goal is to help these young men and women, who often have little to no proper education, money, or formal work experience, become happy, productive, well-adjusted members of society. To accomplish this, the foundation focuses on providing these young men and women with a college education through mentoring and financial aid. Currently, the Diversity Foundation is helping 50 young men and women get their bachelor’s degrees, and several more have gone on to various graduate programs.

Beyond the direct help provided to the young men and women who have left FLDS communities, the Diversity Foundation also seeks to foster multicultural awareness among individuals from all backgrounds. To this end, Ultradent commissioned renowned comic book artist Bill Galvan, best known for his work with the Archie and Marvel Comics, to write and illustrate a comic book called “The Scrapyard Detectives.” Ultradent, through the Diversity Foundation, distributes the comic books to elementary schools across the nation. The books’ colorful stories reach a broader audience by illustrating kids from all walks of life who must use their talents and bridge their differences to solve the caper at hand. Each set of books distributed throughout the country comes with a curriculum and discussion guidelines for teachers. After reading the books, teachers can use the curriculum to open up a dialogue in hopes of fostering a more inclusive and caring environment among their students.

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