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Our members know their states! Learn more about the southern state of Alabama from our member, Rob.

Name: Rob Boyles 

City, State: Montgomery, Alabama

Organization: Alabama Office of Primary Care and Rural Health 

How long have you lived in Alabama? Why do you choose to live there? I have lived in Alabama for 51 years. I choose to live here because my family is here and my wife’s family is here. I enjoy my small community without the stress associated with large cities, and Alabama is more appropriate for me than many other places, from a political perspective.
How is 3RNet impacting Alabama? There is probably greater impact than what is known. There are a few placements made each year from 3RNet, but it can be difficult to get all feedback from those facilities which utilize the service. 

What are the best cultural events that happen in Alabama? Mardi Gras in Mobile, Hot Air Balloon Jubilee in Decatur, Hangout Music Fest in Gulf Shores, Peanut Festival in Dothan, Barber Vintage Festival (motorcycle classic show, swap-meet, vendors, seminars for vintage bikes) in Birmingham, Moundville Native American Festival in Moundville, Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, just to name a few!
Why should a health professional choose Alabama over surrounding states? There are a lot of rural opportunities with a less hectic lifestyle than larger cities provide. We have Southern culture/hospitality, a lower cost of living in comparison to other states, close proximity to UAB Medicine (a major center for clinical research) we're home to some of the top medical programs in the U.S. and have a teaching hospital for the UAB School of Medicine. Also, our proximity to the gulf coast with some of the most sugar white beaches in the world, outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, etc., Low property taxes make the housing market very affordable, and the tax structure is very business friendly. Alabama was ranked number one by IBM Services in 2018 for job creation from foreign investment.
What loan repayment programs does Alabama have? Anything that makes those programs unique? Alabama has a medical scholarship program through the Alabama Board of Medical Scholarship Awards that functions similarly to the National Health Service Corps.
How is the J-1 Visa Waiver program utilized in Alabama? The Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program is used in Alabama to fill critical vacancies in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas and Medically Underserved Areas when other recruitment initiatives have not been successful. This program is supplemented by the National Interest Waiver Program (NIW), which facilitates retention of J-1 physicians for two additional years beyond their initial three year service obligation. At any one time, there are over 70 J-1 and NIW physicians in practice throughout the state serving patients who would otherwise not have readily available access to needed health care services.
Are healthcare professionals valued in Alabama? Small communities certainly value their healthcare professionals, as rural residents develop bonds with their healthcare providers as there is interaction outside a clinical environment, such as seeing them in the grocery store, at the post office, high school ball games, church, etc.
Why do people travel to Alabama? People travel here for multiple reasons including the mild winters, world class golf courses (Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail), beaches, history, outdoor activities, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, college football, and minor league baseball.
What sports teams does Alabama have? Alabama does not have a major professional sports league franchise, but there is an abundance of NCAA Division I colleges in Alabama to include powerhouse college football teams such as the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers.
What is your favorite local food? Southern country cooking and Mexican.
What is Alabama best known for? College football, the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement, U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Southern hospitality and food, gulf coast beaches, Talladega Motor Speedway
What is the biggest misconception about Alabama? There are many misconceptions regarding Alabama which are completely unwarranted and so egregious as to omit from mention. For those interested in more urban environments, not all of Alabama is rural, with unpaved roads, as presented many times by the film industry. We, as a state, would invite you here to experience the local culture, see the hi-tech industry, manufacturing, beautiful scenery, sugar white gulf coast beaches, then form your own opinion of Alabama based on your personal experience.
What are the biggest industries in Alabama? Alabama is within the top five states in production of cars and light trucks, to include Mercedes, Honda, and Hyundai. Construction is underway for the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA partnership in the construction of a $1.6 billion joint venture assembly plant. There is aerospace manufacturing through industry leaders like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, GE Aviation and Raytheon. Airbus has a $600 million manufacturing facility in Mobile, AL. Alabama is second among states in freshwater fish production, third in poultry, third in peanut production and in the top 10 for cotton production. Alabama is the second largest producer of pulp and paper in the U.S. due to 23 million acres of timberland. Alabama has forest product companies such as Georgia Pacific, International Paper, and Weyerhaeuser. Alabama has 780 bioscience companies with about 17,870 employed in this industry, with a $7.3 billion economic impact. Alabama based companies are providing FDA approved drugs used in cancer treatment, made advances in the treatment of AIDS, polio, and mosquito-borne viruses. Amazon has committed to an Alabama based 825,000 square foot fulfillment center with a $325 million investment. Google and Facebook are building data centers in Alabama.
How is the weather/climate in Alabama? The winters are typically mild and very tolerable, with very little snow. The summers are extremely hot and humid.

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