3RNet Blog

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Our Cherokee Nation member, Stephanie, walks us through some highlights of one of our most unique 3RNet members. Cherokee Nation, a sovereign nation located in Oklahoma, has so much to offer health care professionals. Read on to learn more.

Name: Stephanie Wickliffe                        

City, State: Tahlequah, Oklahoma

Organization: Cherokee Nation; Cherokee Nation Health Services

How long have you lived Oklahoma? Why do you choose to live there?
Cherokee Nation, in Oklahoma is my home. I’ve lived here all my life, except early in my career, when I worked on the East Coast and in Chicago. A great place to be home, happy, and healthy! I loved raising my children here and now my grandchildren.

How is 3RNet impacting Cherokee Nation?
3RNet helps health professionals find practice opportunities in rural areas and give our organization an opportunity to highlight those opportunities.  

What are the best cultural events that happen in Cherokee Nation?
The best culture event coming up is the Cherokee National Holiday. This year it will virtual from September 4-6. https://www.facebook.com/cherokeenationalholiday/

Why should a health professional choose to work with Cherokee Nation over Sovereign Nations?
There are many reasons to Choose Cherokee Nation Health Services in beautiful northeastern Oklahoma. We are the largest tribal health system in the nation, with nine outpatient health centers and one hospital. The provider can focus on the patient because there is no payer source required for our patients. We have state of the art equipment and facilities. In the fall of 2019 our new 469,000 out-patient health center was opened in Tahlequah, OK. In the fall of 2020 the Oklahoma State University of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation welcomed its inaugural class of medical student, in Tahlequah, OK. This is a historic time to choose Cherokee Nation and even through the pandemic, Cherokee Nation has not furlough any of its employees.

What loan repayment programs does Cherokee Nation have? Anything that makes those programs unique?
Our sites are eligible for the NHSC and Indian Health Services loan repayment programs. Under the NHSC Loan Repayment Progam our sites are also eligible sites with the SUD Workforce LRP and Rural Community LRP.

Are healthcare professionals valued in Cherokee Nation? Do you have any examples?
We value our professionals at Cherokee Nation with competitive salary and benefits. We have many ways of honoring their practice throughout the year, including an annual “Our Docs Rock” at the Hard Rock in Tulsa.

In the state, lawmakers are continuing to pass a house bill that would allow doctors who practice in rural communities to claim a $25,000 tax credit for the tax year beginning in 2021.

Why do people travel to Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma?
You can have a one of a kind adventure in the Cherokee Nation. Visit the capital of Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah OK and spend the day at the Cherokee Ancient Village, Museums, enjoy the great outdoors hiking, camping, boating or floating down the Illinois river, or enjoy a resort weekend at the Cherokee Nation Hard Rock-Tulsa. Oklahoma has 11,611 miles of shoreline.

What sports teams does Cherokee Nation have?
Enjoy college sports with the University of Oklahoma or University of Oklahoma State to professional basketball with the OKC Thunder.

What is your favorite local food?
Love a local barbeque place called “Fishes Bar B Que”, it’s in an old garage hidden in the middle of Tahlequah. Order the “badwich” sandwich, you’ll be sweetening bullets.

What is Cherokee Nation best known for?
Thirty-nine native American Indian tribes call Oklahoma home today. The Five Civilized Tribes of the Cherokee, the Muscogee (Creek), the Chickasaw, the Choctaw, and the Seminole, were forcible removed from their homelands starting in the 1800s with the Indian Removal Act or “Trail of Tears”. 

Oklahoma is known also for the famous Route 66, over 200 man-made lakes, home to University of Oklahoma National Football Champions and country music stars Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, and Reba McEntire to name a few.

What is the biggest misconception about Cherokee Nation?
Many believe Oklahoma is only prairie land, just like in the musical “Oklahoma”. But with over 200 man-made lakes, Oklahoma has landscapes for everyone’s tastes.

What are the biggest industries in your area?
Aviation and aerospace make up the largest sector of employment and economic impact with the energy industry planning a significant role.

How is the weather/climate in Cherokee Nation?
In the eastern part of the state in Cherokee Nation is located in the eastern part of Oklahoma where summers are hot and humid to mild cold winters.

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