3RNet Blog

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Our members know their states! Learn more about exotic Alaska in our latest blog post from our member, Eric.

Name: Eric Peter

City, State: Juneau, Alaska

Organization: Alaska Division of Public Health

How long have you lived in Alaska? Why do you choose to live there?
I have lived in Alaska all my life, going now on over six decades. I could not imagine living anywhere else. The state’s history, natural beauty, diversity of cultures, and diverse regions makes Alaska a fascinating place. 

How is 3RNet impacting Alaska?
In Alaska 3RNet allows candidates to network and see the opportunities available in the state’s diverse locations. Even if the specific jobs they’re looking aren’t available, I encourage them to contact the hiring managers to relay their professional interests. 3RNet is instrumental in bringing the state together to develop the healthcare workforce.

What are the best cultural events that happen in Alaska?
Throughout the year cultural events take place that celebrate the pioneer history of Alaska, the Days of ’98, its gold prospectors and fur trappers. The indigenous peoples of Alaska hold cultural celebrations. Petersburg, Alaska, located on the Southeast Panhandle, with its Norwegian heritage, holds a Little Norway Festival every year. In Anchorage the Fur Rendezvous “Rondy”, Alaska’s premier winter festival, is a part of history and tradition. Throughout the year and throughout the state there are cultural events including the Alaska State Fair in Palmer, the Alaska World Arts Festival in Homer on the Kenai Peninsula, the Alaska Folk Festival, Celebration (a gathering of indigenous peoples), and of course the famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Why should a health professional choose Alaska over surrounding states?
Health care professionals choose Alaska for the opportunity to serve underserved populations in often remote settings where their presence is vitally important. Health care providers choose Alaska because it has long been their dream to work here. Also, they choose Alaska because of the abundance of natural beauty and wilderness.

What loan repayment programs does Alaska have?
In addition to National Health Service Corps loan repayment programs, the SHARP Program is Alaska’s state loan repayment program. SHARP-1, Alaska’s foundation loan repayment program, requires eligible sites to have a HPSA score. Unlike NHSC, there is no eligible threshold for the HPSA score, so any site with a HPSA qualifies. An application cycle for SHARP-1 will open in May. A new component of the SHARP Program, SHARP-3, will open this year. SHARP-3 will not require a HPSA score and so more sites will be eligible.

How is the J-1 Visa Waiver program utilized in Alaska?
Alaska has a very non-competitive, under-utilized J-1 Visa Waiver program. While many other states place a priority on primary care physicians to fill waiver slots, Alaska’s waiver physicians tend to be specialized hospitalists working in Anchorage hospitals.

Are healthcare professionals valued in Alaska?
Health care professionals are very valued in Alaska because of remoteness and the distance between communities. In many cases healthcare providers intenerate from the medical hubs in the larger communities to smaller village clinics. 

Why do people travel to Alaska?
People travel to Alaska for the abundant natural beauty. They travel to Alaska for the chance to go sport fishing and observe wildlife. They come to Alaska to see America’s true last wilderness.

What sports teams does Alaska have?
Alaska doesn’t have any major sports teams, but regionally Alaskans have their favorites. In communities of Southeast Alaska basketball is traditionally the favorite sport because it is played indoors. Every year the Gold Medal Tournament held in Juneau brings together these small community teams. The University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Fairbanks host popular teams. The Seawolves in Anchorage have basketball, skiing and hockey teams. The Nanooks in Fairbanks have basketball, cross country, ice hockey, skiing, swimming and volleyball.

What is your favorite local food?
Alaska is famous for its seafood. The abundant fishing grounds off coastal Alaska produce salmon, halibut, cod, rock fish and sablefish.

What is Alaska best known for?
Alaska will always be best known for its stunning natural beauty.

What is the biggest misconception about Alaska?
One popular misconception about Alaska is that the average Alaskan is a rugged outdoors person who hunts, traps, and lives in a log cabin. While these things are abundant in traditional Alaskan lore, the average Alaskan if fairly urbanized and lives a lifestyle similar to the “Lower 48.”

What are the biggest industries in Alaska?
The biggest industries in Alaska are oil, tourism, commercial fishing, timber, and mining.

How is the weather/climate in Alaska?
The weather and climate in Alaska are diverse and depend on if the location is coastal, inland, and how far north. Alaska’s Gulf Coast is often moderate due to the Pacific Ocean, while points north are known for bitter cold during the winter. The lowest temperature ever recorded was −80 °F in Prospect Creek in 1971. The highest temperature of 100 °F was recorded in Fort Yukon in 1915. Both locations are in interior Alaska. Because of its northern location, in the summer many parts of the state are known as the Land of the Midnight Sun because of their long days.

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