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The Northern Mariana Islands: Come Practice in a Place You've Never Heard Of

Who better to speak about practicing in a certain place than, well, someone practicing there! Learn about a U.S. Territory you've perhaps not heard of, the Northern Mariana Islands, from practicing physician David Grauman. 

Name: David Grauman, MD, FACP

City, State:  Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)

Organization: Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Hospital

How long have you lived on the Northern Mariana Islands? Why do you choose to live there? Seven years. I came for adventure and to practice in an underserved yet beautiful area. I found the job I had always wanted.

How is 3RNet impacting the Northern Mariana Islands? We are in constant need of physicians and midlevel healthcare providers. 3RNet helps us find those people.

Why should a health professional choose the Northern Mariana Islands? If you ever had fantasies of living on a tropical island, making a good income and serving a grateful and underserved population, this is it.

What loan repayment programs does CNMI have? Anything that makes those programs unique?
There are two loan programs, both under the HRSA (Human Resources & Services Administration). One is NHSC (National Health Service Corps), a program for underserved areas. The Northern Marianas has a HPSA score of 17. 
The other program is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness, where a borrower’s loan is forgiven after 120 on time monthly payments on their Federal loans (10 years). The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation qualifies as “public service.”

Are healthcare professionals valued in the Northern Mariana Islands? Do you have any examples?  We are the only hospital for the Northern Mariana Islands. Our outlying clinics serve the islands of Tinian and Rota. Although resources are limited, we provide a high quality of evidence-based medical care. Even though there is no community transmission of COVID, our island population is universally compliant with COVID-19 restrictions, social distancing, and public masking. Our patients show minimal resistance to plans for vaccination, and appreciate our efforts to keep them safe.

Why do people travel to the Northern Mariana Islands? Prior to COVID, there was a thriving tourist industry from Asia of travelers who came to vacation on a tropical island.

What sports teams does the Northern Mariana Islands have? No professional teams. Many unofficial groups compete in races throughout the year pre-COVID.  

What is your favorite local food? Every type of Asian cuisine 

What is CNMI best known for? Tropical weather, snorkeling and diving.

What is the biggest misconception about the Northern Mariana Islands? Aside from the fact that no one knows we exist, it is that we are not a part of the United States.

What is the biggest industry in the Northern Mariana Islands? Tourism.

How is the weather/climate in the Northern Mariana Islands? We hold the world record for the most constant temperature on Earth. Daytime temperatures 85 to 89 degrees F, nighttime about 75 degrees every day of the year. Fairly constant island breezes.