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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

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The Ideal Candidate

Three women in discussion

Working for an IHS/Tribal/Urban Indian Program (I/T/U) requires a clinician with a unique personality and mindset. Not everyone is cut out to live or work in a Tribal community. Because each Tribe, clinic, hospital and health station — as well as its surrounding community — is unique, an ideal IHS candidate is someone who seeks a recreational lifestyle but also appreciates a slower, more relaxed pace; who keeps an open mind when meeting new people and experiencing new environments; and who is open to living in remote locations. In fact, many of these locations offer varied recreational pursuits and are oftentimes among the most beautiful destinations in the country. Never underestimate what the power of natural beauty coupled with a lifestyle full of adventure and recreation can mean to some candidates. We live in an age that pushes individualism and personal lifestyle choice; this is a major selling point.

IHS Ambassadors will not only need to know who to look for as candidates, but where to find them. While there is no requirement for IHS personnel to be American Indians or Alaska Natives (AI/AN), medical students from these communities are great pools in which to look.

Ambassadors should look at the following resources when searching for candidates.

Indian/Tribal Associations on Campus
If there are AI/AN associations or clubs on your campus, these are great places to seek out potential recruits. Many of these students have likely grown up on Tribal lands and, being part of an AI/AN identity group, would be open to serving the AI/AN community.

Advocacy Groups on Campus
Someone with a desire toward helping underserved populations, such as someone involved with an advocacy group, would be a good candidate for an Indian health career.

College Professors
College professors are often immersed in campus life beyond the classroom. They would be a great source for identifying individuals who might be interested in pursuing a career with IHS.

Lunch-and-Learns
A mainstay program, Lunch-and-Learns are unique opportunities for prospective clinicians to learn about Indian health career opportunities. Attendees can also learn about the Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) offered through IHS and the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), as well as the IHS Scholarship Program, depending on the audience. Since students attending these events have already shown an interest in learning about IHS, Lunch-and-Learns are fertile grounds in which to find recruits.