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Journal of ASPR - Summer 2013 - Meet your Arizona ASPR colleagues
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From north to south and in between!

Meet your Arizona ASPR colleagues

By Lori Jackson Norris, FASPR, senior physician recruiter, Dignity Health/Arizona


In anticipation of the Arizona conference in August, here’s some background and a bit of advice offered from some of my other Arizona ASPR members who plan to attend.

Maggie Lewis, Flagstaff, AZ (North)
Maggie Lewis is a physician recruiter/medical affairs manager for Flagstaff Medical Center. Flagstaff, where she has lived for just over seven years, is in the northern part of Arizona and surprisingly to most people, sits at about 7,000 feet in elevation. Lewis moved to Flagstaff from Pasadena, CA, where she lived for five years. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, she grew up in Virginia Beach, VA, before returning to Pittsburgh to attend college and graduate school. “The blue sky and mountains brought us to Flagstaff after coming to a wedding here,” she said.

Where is your favorite place to take visitors to AZ? “Sedona, AZ. If you haven’t seen it, it’s unlike anywhere else.”

How do you spark interest among recruits to come to AZ? “I tell them it’s often sunny here in Flagstaff, but we still get an average of 120 inches of snow per year!”

Katie Harris, DASPR, Phoenix, AZ (Central)
Katie Harris is a physician recruiter/scientist recruiter for Mayo Clinic. Originally from Ohio, she moved to Arizona “for this great job” nine years ago. Her favorite part about living in Arizona is “the resort-like weather we experience for a large part of the year and the variety of activities from hiking in the wilderness to big-venue concerts in downtown Phoenix,” she said.

How do you spark interest among recruits to come to AZ? “I tell them there is something for everyone here. It’s family-friendly and diverse, with a great cost of living, offering a variety of activities.”

Jennifer McCalla, AASPR, Phoenix, AZ (Central)
Jennifer McCalla, AASPR, is physician recruitment manager for Valley Baptist Medical Center, an affiliate of Abrazo Health Care. McCalla, originally from Miami, FL, has lived in several states during her Air Force career. She has only lived in Arizona for about five months, but already knows where to take family and friends when they visit. “We can go skiing up north, and then hit the Grand Canyon,” she said.

What is your advice for ASPR members coming to the conference in Tucson in August? “Hydrate, moisturize and wear sunscreen!”

Kara Balliet, AASPR, Phoenix, AZ (Central)
Kara Balliet is a senior physician recruiter for St. Joseph’s Medical Group. Originally from upstate New York, Balliet came to Tucson, AZ, about 13 years ago with a friend who was moving there. Her favorite part of living in Arizona is the “sunshine, the sky and the weather, minus the heat!” She shares this with potential recruits, and also tells them about Arizona’s “professional sports teams, and the quick flights to San Diego and its beaches!”

Where is your favorite place to take visitors to AZ? “In Tucson, my favorite place to bring friends is the Desert Museum - http://www.desertmuseum.org/.”

Paul Charkowski, FASPR, Tucson, AZ (South)
Paul Charkowski is physician network manager for Tucson Medical Center. Originally from Michigan, he credits the climate for bringing him to Arizona, where he has lived for the past eight years. Charkowski is a member of the ASPR Education Committee and has been assisting the committee with local input for the annual conference.

Where is your favorite place to take visitors to AZ? “Mount Lemmon, Old Tucson Studios and Sabino Canyon.”

Melissa Gruenwald, Tucson, AZ (South)
Melissa Gruenwald is physician recruitment director for Northwest Healthcare in Tucson, AZ. She is a native Arizonan, although she has lived in other parts of the country. “I always come home because I Iove Arizona,” she said. Gruenwald has been working in healthcare in Tucson for about 20 years. “I love the fact that I can be outside almost any time of the year. In the winter, it’s best to be outdoors in the middle of the day. In the summer, you can still do your outdoor activities in the early mornings and evenings. It’s the best of both worlds since I love to hike and horseback ride in the desert and mountains surrounding Tucson.”

Where is your favorite place to take visitors to AZ? “I love the Desert Museum because it is so unique to our area. Also, I think we have the best Sonoran-style Mexican food in the country.”

How do you spark interest among recruits to come to AZ? “I tell them we have the amenities of a big city with a small town feel. Everyone is very friendly in Tucson, and I think some of the recruits from the east coast notice it right away.”

What is your advice for ASPR members coming to the conference in Tucson in August? “Drink plenty of water and avoid direct sunlight in the middle of the day. Enjoy the food and culture if you get some time away from the conference. Try to see the Desert Museum if you have the time.”

Martha Vasquez, Yuma, AZ (South)
Martha is a physician recruiter for Yuma Regional Medical Center. Originally from southern California, Martha has been in Arizona for 21 years. She came to the area “because of family, the good cost of living and a friendly and welcoming community.”

Where is your favorite place to take visitors to AZ? “Mt. Lemmon is amazing and typically much cooler than Tucson itself. It’s a steep ride up the winding road, but well worth the trip. Yuma also has a lot to offer. We often enjoy the Colorado River and lakes that surround us. It’s a great way to stay cool as the heat intensifies, but lots of water and sunscreen are a must!”

Pam Orendorff, Yuma, AZ (South)
Pam is a physician recruiter for Yuma Regional Medical Center. Born in Rhode Island, She relocated at age 2 to Arizona 36 years ago. She now is married with two children. “As the daughter of a naval officer, we moved several times before settling in Arizona. My favorite parts of living here are the people, genuine relationships and a passion for the area,” Pam said.

How do you spark interest among recruits to come to Arizona? “There is nothing like the amazing weather — the ‘dry heat’, and the wonderfully kind people.”

Journal of ASPR - Summer 2013

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