3RNet Blog

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Our members know their states! Hear how North Dakota will warm your heart from our North Dakota member, Stacy!

Name:  Stacy Kusler 

City, State:  Grand Forks, North Dakota

Organization:  North Dakota Center for Rural Health

How long have you lived in North Dakota? Why do you choose to live there?
I came to North Dakota from Minnesota in 2001 to attend college at the University of North Dakota. I met my husband through athletics at UND, and although we swore we were leaving after graduation, we became involved in the community here and decided to stay. We continue to choose to live in North Dakota for many reasons. We have wonderful friends and family connections here, we love the small and safe communities in our state, and we love that, no matter where we go if someone says they know someone from North Dakota, chances are that we know them too!

How is 3RNet impacting North Dakota?
3RNet has offered a platform for us to assist our rural and underserved communities with gaining a broader reach of candidates, so they can have the opportunity to not just tell candidates how great we are, but to invite them here so we can show them.

What are the best cultural events that happen in North Dakota?
You can’t say North Dakota without mentioning great hunting and fishing, which can be found in all four corners of the state!  Our state is also known for Medora, a small and beautiful town located in the badlands and features the “Medora Musical” throughout the summer.  Fun Fact: Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota is 180 miles long, and has more shoreline than the California Pacific Coast!

Why should a health professional choose North Dakota over the surrounding states?
North Dakota is a friendly state where healthcare professionals are respected members of the community. Great partnerships exist between healthcare facilities, which makes providing care to your patients easier and more efficient. Additionally, great partnerships exist between healthcare facilities and the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, which houses medical, physician assistant, occupational therapy, physical therapy, medical lab sciences programs, and more. This partnership with UND provides healthcare facilities a recruitment tool, as well as a way for their existing healthcare workforce to stay connected and engaged with new professionals.

What loan repayment programs does North Dakota have? Anything that makes those programs unique?
North Dakota offers a state healthcare professionals loan repayment program, and also participates in the State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) as well as National Health Service Corp.  While the two federal programs incentivize many health professionals to choose a rural or underserved practice, our state healthcare professionals program “fills in the gaps” by offering more flexibility in profession and location.

How is the J-1 Visa Waiver program utilized in North Dakota?
Our state uses 12-15 waivers each year.  We accept applications for flex areas and use all 10 flex spots each year.  We encounter a lot of subspecialists seeking waivers in ND, and not many primary care.  Many of our rural and underserved locations aren’t able to support the volume most subspecialists require.

If any state has an abundance of waiver applications, but no spots left, please refer them to North Dakota! 

Are healthcare professionals valued in North Dakota? Do you have any examples?
Healthcare professionals are extremely valued in our state, especially in rural areas. While our state’s population may not be large, there are many areas where travel time and distance for patients would become impossible if they didn’t have access to local care. North Dakota citizens recognize and appreciate the extreme value of keeping care close to home.

Why do people travel to North Dakota?
Tourist attractions include the geographic center of North America, located in Rugby, North Dakota; the world’s largest buffalo in Jamestown; Medora, located on the edge of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and the Enchanted Highway; 32 miles of two-lane highway featuring eight scrap-metal sculptures. 

What sports teams does North Dakota have?
North Dakota does not have any professional sports teams, but if you ask any North Dakotan, the University of North Dakota Hockey team holds high popularity here.  The North Dakota State University Bison Football team also has an astonishing college football record and has won eight national championships in nine years.

What is your favorite local food?
Lefse or Lahvosh! Lefse sort of looks like a crepe, but it’s made with potatoes. It’s usually eaten with butter and sugar sprinkled on top.  Lahvosh is like a pizza, but with a cracker-like crust and Havarti cheese instead of pizza sauce. 

What is North Dakota best known for?
Lewis and Clark spent the most time in our state. We get a lot of comments about the movie “Fargo”! Theodore Roosevelt is a product of North Dakota. And, our number one industry is agriculture. We produce almost half of the nation’s wheat. Farm acres take up nearly 90% of the state! 

What is the biggest misconception about North Dakota?
The biggest misconception is that it is cold and that there is nothing to do. I counter that with “cold noses, warm hearts”, and only boring people are bored in North Dakota.

What are the biggest industries in North Dakota?
Agriculture and oil.

How is the weather/climate in North Dakota?
The summers are spectacular!  Winters are cold, yes, but there are many unique winter activities and festivals to experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

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