3RNet Blog

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Our members know their states! This week we hear from Idaho 3RNet member, Chris, about what makes this northwestern state such a gem.

Name: Christina J. Cordova

City, State: Boise, Idaho 

Organization: Bureau of Rural Health & Primary Care, Division of Public Health, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

How long have you lived in the Idaho? Why do you choose to live there?

I have lived in Idaho for two and a half years. After many years living in Las Vegas, I wanted to make a change to live under clean, open skies in a state with four seasons. After I watched a documentary about the Grand Tetons along the border of Idaho and Wyoming, I was sold on the majesty of this beautiful state.

How is 3RNet impacting Idaho?

A significant portion of Idaho is home to rural and frontier communities. 3RNet allows job seekers access to a one-stop-shop for Idaho’s rural healthcare employment opportunities, and rural employers connect with highly qualified candidates from across the country. 

What are the best cultural events that happen in Idaho?

Idaho’s cultural events are growing rapidly, with two in particular that have a long history. Every September, Julia Davis Park in Boise is home to Art in the Park, a 3-day event , showcasing handmade artwork and crafts by artists throughout the nation. Additionally, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, currently in their 42nd season, is a regional repertory theatre located in Boise. The Shakespeare Festival provides quality, educational theater including five plays per year by William Shakespeare and others, both contemporary and classical. The Festival also brings theater-arts programming to schools in 39 of Idaho’s 44 counties.

Why should a health professional choose Idaho over surrounding states?

Freedom from big-city life attracts many health professionals to Idaho. Boise, Idaho’s capital and largest city, embodies a small-town feel with culture. Southwest and southeast Idaho offer large open spaces, clear rivers and peaceful surroundings North and north central Idaho are home to beautiful mountain ranges, and some of the best hunting and fishing in the world. Idaho is also home to opportunity and growth. The State made SmartAsset lists of the Best States for the Middle Class and the Best States for Homeowners. Pocatello, the largest city in Bannock County, made SmartAsset list of the Top 10 Cities for Career Opportunities in 2016.

What loan repayment programs does Idaho have? Is there anything that makes those programs unique?

There are three state-administered loan payment programs in Idaho; the Rural Health Care Access Program, the Rural Physician Incentive Program and the State Loan Repayment Program. Learn more about these programs by visiting rural health.dhw.idaho.gov.

The Rural Health Care Access Program (RHCAP)

The RHCAP provides opportunities for Idaho public and non-profit organizations located in federally designated shortage areas to assist rural and underserved Idaho communities by improving access to primary medical and dental health care. RHCAP awards may support clinician loan repayment, recruitment and retention activities, or telehealth work. RHCAP awards up to $35,000 are available on a competitive, annual basis.

Rural Physician Incentive Program (RPIP)

The RPIP offers an opportunity for medical education debt repayment to rural physicians who practice in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) in Idaho. Primary care physicians may qualify for up to $100,000 in loan repayment over a four-year period.

State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)

The SLRP program provides loan repayment to clinicians working full-time in a nonprofit or public organization located in a federally-designated HPSA.. Loan repayment is provided through a federal grant and every award must be matched dollar-to-dollar with funds provided by the practitioner’s employer. SLRP awards range from $2,500-$25,000 per year, depending on the matching employer contribution. 

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

The J-1 Visa Waiver program is underutilized in Idaho, with an average of one J-1 Visa Waiver application per federal fiscal year. In 2017, however, the Idaho Legislature approved a limited number of flex and specialist slots and interest in the program has increased significantly. Idaho is looking to implement findings from a program evaluation conducted in 2018 to improve program participation.

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

In rural Idaho, doctors and healthcare providers are often the cornerstone of a community. Medical professionals are key economic contributors, highly valued, and sought after in many Idaho communities. 

Why do people travel to Idaho?

Rivers, mountains and farmland dominate Idaho’s landscape. Here you can find everything from emerald green hillsides, timbered mountains and pristine lakes, to jagged peaks and irrigated farm lands, to vibrant cities rich with culture. Outdoor recreation opportunities are available year-round, and scenic vistas can be found around nearly every turn.People traveling to Idaho discover spectacular scenery, and friendly, welcoming communities.

What sports teams does Idaho have?

Idaho is home to the minor league Idaho Steelheads ice hockey team and Boise Hawks, playing home games in Boise, Idaho. Additionally, Idaho numerous universities, including Boise State University, Idaho State University, and the University of Idaho offer collegiate sports year-round.  

What is your favorite local food?

With agriculture being one of Idaho’s main industries, there is no shortage of fresh, organic and local produce, dairy, meats, including an array of artisanal products. Here you will find many restaurants striving to use locally sourced food for their culinary creations.

What is Idaho best known for?

Idaho is world renowned for its famous Idaho potatoes! Grown in rich soil, it is no surprise that Idaho is the top spud-producing state in the nation.

What is the biggest misconception about Idaho?

A common misconception is that Idaho is in the Midwest! Situated in the Pacific Northwest, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming all border Idaho. 

What are the biggest industries in Idaho?

Agriculture, tourism and manufacturing are major industries in Idaho. The top manufacturing product is electrical equipment, specifically computers and computer components produced by Micron Technology. The healthcare industry in Idaho is also growing rapidly, with health organizations serving as some of the Idaho’s largest employers.  Health care in Idaho has seen an increase in revenue by 46 percent over the past 10 years, with its projected growth to exceed an additional 36 percent in the coming years. This ranks Idaho as second in the nation for growth in the healthcare sector. 

How is the weather/climate in

The weather in Idaho is much milder than most may think. Idaho’s climate is diverse and influenced by weather patterns off the Pacific Ocean. Generally, the northern part of the state receives more precipitation than southern Idaho, which has warmer summer temperatures. Idaho’s average low temperature in January is only a few degrees below freezing, while summers boast an average high around the low 90s. 

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