3RNet Blog

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Our members know their states! This week brings us expertise from our Indiana 3RNet Member, Sarah Blessing. Sarah shares with us what she knows and loves about her state. 

Name: Sarah Blessing

City, State: Indianapolis, Indiana

Organization: Indiana Primary Health Care Association, Center for Workforce Sustainability 

Why do people choose to live in Indiana?

People choose to stay because it is full of culture and community. There is so much to do and see in Indiana, just the changing of the seasons is incredible. Indiana is a great place to have roots: to live, work, and play. It’s also a great place to raise a family.

How is 3RNet impacting Indiana?

3RNet provides our program with an affordable, targeted way to connect our member community health centers with excellent provider talent.

What are the best cultural events that happen in Indiana?

Indianapolis is home to outstanding museums and events that reflect our state’s deep history and culture. These include the Indian Market and Festival at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art; Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration (which also includes a health and wellness fair); Circle City IN Pride Week; and Latino Expo.

Elsewhere in the state, one will find a multitude of community festivals that reflect each area’s cultural history. Among these are the Three Rivers’ Festival in Fort Wayne; the Covered Bridge Festival in Parke County; and the Lucille Dillon Amish Quilt Auction in Daviess County. More information about Indiana’s festivals can be found at the Indiana Festivals Association website.

Why should a health professional choose Indiana over surrounding states?

Indiana offers the second lowest cost of living in the nation, high value on healthcare professionals, and plenty of opportunity to grow. While the state seems very rural, the population is only 6.6 million – smaller than New York City’s 8.5 million – meaning one is never far from a major metropolitan area.

What loan repayment programs does Indiana have? Anything that makes those programs unique?

Indiana participates in the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program with over 275 currently approved sites. Many of our FQHCs have scores above the Loan Repayment minimum in Primary Care, Behavioral Health, and Dental. Indiana was recently awarded the State Loan Repayment award through the NHSC that will be utilized to focus on the Behavioral Health Workforce, but will be open to all applicants. This program is in the planning stages but is expected to be up and running in 2019.

How is the J-1 Visa Waiver program utilized in Indiana?

Indiana has filled all 30 J-1 Visa Waiver slots through the Conrad 30 Program consecutively for 10 years. We prioritize primary care for the first four months of the application cycle and often close after this time period. A majority of the applications received in Indiana are specialists, but the state hopes to increase the number of primary care applications in the upcoming years.

Are healthcare professionals valued in Indiana? Do you have any examples?

The growing need for healthcare professionals in Indiana has raised their value immensely. There is a large community of Hoosiers in need of healthcare services; due to the shortage of healthcare professionals, there are several areas of the state that have gaps in coverage. As such, many of our community health centers offer outstanding benefit packages that rival those found in some of the state’s largest health care systems: competitive salaries, sign-on bonuses, tuition reimbursement, paid health insurance premiums, flexible hours, and other unique features designed to enhance work-life balance for providers. 

Why do people travel to Indiana?

Indiana is home to an array of diverse museums, including the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and The Indianapolis Children’s Museum (the world’s largest children’s museum). State parks, such as Brown County State Park, are popular among those who enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, and all things nature.

Many also visit Indiana during the autumn months to see the colorful leaves as the seasons change. Beginning with the Pan American Games in the early 1980’s, Indianapolis pursued and attained the title of “Amateur Sports Capital of the World.” As such, the city constructed facilities for a variety of Olympic trials (swimming, diving, track and field), and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship games. Because of the city’s proven expertise in sports, it was no surprise that the NCAA relocated their headquarters to Indianapolis in 1997 after residing in Kansas City for more than 45 years. 

What sports teams does Indiana have?

Professional sports teams include the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever, Indianapolis Indians, Indy Fuel, and Indy Eleven. Indiana is also home to many NCAA teams including but not limited to the Indiana University Hoosiers, Butler University Bulldogs, University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Purdue University Boilermakers, Ball State University Cardinals, University of Evansville Aces, Indiana State University Sycamores, Valparaiso University Crusaders, and the University of Indianapolis Greyhounds.

What is your favorite local food?

The state of Indiana experienced a large influx of Hispanic families in the early 2000’s. As a result, the Mexican food to be found in Indiana is among the best! Local Amish families in Northeast and Southwest Indiana are also known for their fabulous home-cooked comfort food. As a state heavily settled by Germans at the turn of the 18th century, excellent German food can also be found in many part of the state. Not to be excluded are Indiana’s Irish, Italian, Jewish, African-American, Chinese, Thai, Indian, and recently, Burmese, populations who so graciously share their cuisine with the rest of us!

What is Indiana best known for?

As noted above, many would say that Indiana is best known for sports, both amateur and professional. The racing industry continues to grow, with the annual Indianapolis 500 every Memorial Day weekend, NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 in late summer, stock car and drag racing, as well as motocross. In addition to a strong agricultural base, manufacturing in Indiana has held a strong presence. Currently, Toyota in Gibson County, Honda in Decatur County, and Subaru in Tippecanoe County employ thousands of Hoosiers. Famous Hoosiers include; Larry Bird, John Mellencamp, Michael Jackson, Bill Blass, Red Skelton, David Letterman, Jane Pauley, James Dean, Giil Hodges, Hoagy Carmichael, Ernie Pyle.

What is the biggest misconception about Indiana?

That Indiana only has cornfields. 

What are the biggest industries in Indiana?

In addition to the large Chemical Manufacturing Industry, Indiana also has influences in Life Science, Agriculture, Auto Manufacturing, and Transportation. 

How is the weather/climate in Indiana?

Weather in Indiana flows with the seasons. The winter months, November to February can range from 10-30 degrees while Spring through Autumn can vary from 50 to 90 degrees with July and August being the warmest months.

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