Erica Kretchman, D.O., was inclined to practice in her home state of Michigan. She has degrees from Michigan State University, with medical training at Des Moines University followed by training and internship in Mount Clemens, Michigan.
"But when I signed on for PracticeLink," she explains, "Amy Powell (an in-house physician recruiter at Reid Hospital in Richmond, Indiana) was the first person to contact me - almost immediately. This area was outside -my-box thinking, but I went down for what was going to be a practice interview." The rest of the story: "She really sold me on the job, the opportunity and the area." In 2012, Kretchman became the first endocrinologist to practice at Reid Hospital. Since then she has added a nurse practitioner and is seeking another specialist.
The hospital, opened in 1905, was named in honor of the deceased wife and son of wealthy industrialist Daniel G. Reid. A total remake came to pass with a new facility that opened in 2008 and now has a 217-bed capacity, plus numerous satellite locations. Reid’s total service area covers some 280,000 people in seven Indiana and Ohio counties. "We’re pretty unique," says Powell. "We’re in a more rural setting, but our hospital is not typical of a rural area." Among its kudos, in 2015 it was ranked among the best U.S. facilities for infection control by the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.
The city itself dates to 1805 when some 300 Quakers from North and South Carolina began arriving in search of a place with cheap, fertile land for farming where slavery was prohibited. As nearby towns also grew, Quaker meeting houses sprouted around the county, as well as a boarding school that became today’s Earlham College. In the 1920s, the city became the "cradle of recorded jazz," attracting musicians in the next three decades including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Tommy Dorsey.
As for the modern-day medical scene, Kretchman says, "I was somewhat nervous about coming into an area that had never had an endocrinologist and not knowing how busy my practice would be. But they promised to do some research" to determine the potential. It was given a thumbs up.
"They were right on with their prediction," she says. "As soon as I got here, the patients were waiting. People were intimidated about going to Indianapolis, so a lot of the initial cases I was seeing were ones who had always wanted to be local." The possibilities were also encouraging, thanks to a city population of some 36,000 and a total of 130,000 in the nearby communities.
She and her husband, Jason, have discovered more and more reasons for enjoying their new hometown, including many activities for their daughter, 5, and son, 3.
Thanks to the local YMCA and the parks and recreation department, their daughter especially is able to participate in sports at a very young age. There are dance clinics and teams, plus other arts opportunities, especially at the library with its almost-constant array of programs. Kretchman enthusiastically describes lively characters showing up at the Story Book Café in the city, as well as at various stores, and in the summer, there are more experiences along the city’s fairy trail.
For big-city getaways, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Dayton are no more than an hour-and-a-half away. "But here it’s perfect," she notes, "because they’re without the perpetual crowds, which means no waiting in line for an eternity to enjoy rides, and there’s no worry about losing the little ones."
There’s also the appeal of much lower housing prices, as opposed to their last location in the Detroit area, not to mention lower taxes - and ease of getting around. "We’re never more than 10 minutes away from anything in this town," Kretchman says.