Picture this: It’s your day off, and you’re itching to get outside for fresh air and adventures. Now picture you have countless outdoor activities at your fingertips. When you live in Buffalo, New York; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Tulsa, Oklahoma; or Denver, Colorado, you can work with a physician practice in the great outdoors.

Buffalo, New York

Lovely seasons and outdoor activities galore, look no further than Buffalo, New York. As the state’s second-largest city with a population of more than 275,000, Buffalo has big-city amenities with a close-knit community feel. It is the City of Good Neighbors, after all.

Located right on Lake Erie and not far from Lake Ontario, Buffalo has all the lake activities you’d expect, including boating and fishing. Canalside (known as the “Inner Harbor”) is a waterfront park with year-round activities for all ages. Think concerts, outdoor yoga, skating, curling and ice biking. The nearby Outer Harbor has biking, fishing, hiking, kayaking and water biking. And Niagara Falls has hiking, ziplining, sightseeing and more on both the u.s. and Canadian sides.

Buffalo also has several farmers’ markets, museums and parks. The zoo and botanical garden offer family- friendly fun. Sports fans are in good company, too. Buffalo is home to the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits. And for snow sport enthusiasts, there’s no shortage of skiing and snowboarding in western New York.

“The quality of life in western New York surprises people,” says Mary Lynn Candella, director of provider recruitment with General Physician, pc in Buffalo. “The schools, the sports, the beautiful landscapes, the friendly, supportive people in the community — people are pleasantly surprised at just how wonderful it is to live and practice here.”

The weather is also a pleasant surprise. Many people don’t realize the city offers four distinct seasons. “Buffalo is known for snow,” Candella acknowledges. “We might have five significant snow events in the winter, and travel is restricted for a couple of days.” But winter doesn’t represent the whole picture.

“We have nine other months of the year that are beautiful here,” she goes on. “We have amazing, beautiful summers. People travel from all over, and those who grew up here come back in the summer to enjoy all the festivals, music, boating, outdoor activities that our glorious summers allow for.”

It’s easy to see how Buffalo’s offerings entice newcomers to plant roots and compel locals to stay. The strong sense of community is the cherry on top. That’s how Richard Charles, M.D., feels. Now the chief medical officer for General Physician, PC, he’s spent most of his adult life in Buffalo. He attended the State University of New York at Buffalo for college, medical school and residency. From a young age, he knew he wanted to care for people and support his community.

“I always enjoyed helping people through life experiences like volunteering at a soup kitchen my aunt ran downtown. I had a calling to help others,” Charles says. “The social determinants of health inequities of inner- city people has been apparent to me since a young age. I wanted to help others and make the community better.”

Charles mostly practices in inner-city Buffalo. There, he’s able to care for an underserved population. In fact, his practice is just three blocks away from the soup kitchen he grew up working at. Helping those individuals access care and navigate social, environmental and financial challenges has been a rewarding part of his time with General Physician, PC.

General Physician, PC is an employed physician group for the Great Lakes Health System. The Great Lakes Health System is the largest health care network in western New York. It’s comprised of the University at Buffalo, Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo, Erie County Medical Center and Kaleida Health, which includes several state-of-the-art facilities. For example, the nationally-recognized Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute is the area leader for stroke and cardiac care.

When Charles started, General Physician, PC was a small 30-provider network. It has since grown to hundreds of providers.

“The depth and breadth of what we’ve been able to do while working with the health system has been an accomplishment of a lifetime for me,” Charles says. “I’ve enjoyed it more than I ever imagined I would. It’s been truly wonderful working to grow and provide a foundation for care here. My goal is to leave the community better.”

Charles recalls ESPN’s Chris Berman saying, “Nobody circles the wagon like the Buffalo Bills.” And Charles says it’s not just true of the team. It’s the city’s whole culture. “There’s a real sense of togetherness, working with each other,” he says. “It’s an incredible small-town city.”

General Physician, PC is currently recruiting for hematology/oncology, non-invasive cardiology, EP cardiology, primary care and OB/GYN.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

LIFE IN A BEACH TOWN DOESN’T HAVE TO COME with year-round sizzling temperatures. Four-season living happens close to the ocean in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Enjoy warm summer days basking in the sun. Go kayaking, fishing, surfing, parasailing or jet-skiing in the Atlantic Ocean. And don’t miss the International Sand Sculpting Contest.

Of course, oceanside activities don’t stop at the end of summer. Take a stroll or bike ride along the boardwalk any time of year. There, you can enjoy the ocean view while stopping in at shops and restaurants along the way. You can even take in the landscape riding horseback by the ocean.

Virginia Beach also boasts many local and state parks. Head to First Landing State Park or False Cape State Park for hiking, biking and camping. Or for more thrills, try the ziplines and aerial ropes courses at The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium or Adventureworks Wetland Zipline Park.

With more than 10 million visitors each year, the city has all the shopping, restaurants and live entertainment you could want. It also offers access to nearby amenities. Norfolk is a 20-minute drive away, and you can easily reach Richmond or Washington, D.C., by train.

Virginia Beach isn’t just a great place to call home. It’s also a wonderful place to practice. So says Robin Anderson, M.D., a Virginia native who has been practicing in the city for the last 18 years. Anderson is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Eastern Virginia Medical School. She serves as the executive director of medical operations for the southside region of Sentara Healthcare.

Sentara is a physician-led not-for-profit health system with more than 1,300 providers. Eleven of its 12 hospitals are in Virginia, including two in Virginia Beach and three in the Norfolk area. The twelfth is in North Carolina. In 2021, IBM Watson Health named Sentara one of its top 15 health systems. In 2020, Forbes recognized Sentara as one of the best employers for women. And nine of Sentara’s hospitals have Magnet Recognition.

On top of these tremendous accolades, Sentara prioritizes its providers. From her first interview, Anderson felt comfortable and supported. She chose to start her practice with Sentara because of its strong culture and stability.

“Sentara is an organization that is financially stable and really cares about its employees,” Anderson says.

Sentara’s physicians also enjoy a remarkable degree of autonomy and administrative support. “We really work to allow the clinical staff to work at the top of their licensure,” says Holli McConnell, executive director of provider recruiter and onboarding. “That enables a significant portion of admin work to be shifted from the physician, and that allows the physician to focus on seeing patients.”

As an executive director, Anderson sees her role as easing burdens and improving physicians’ day-to-day lives. This ethos is shared amongst administrators. For example, McConnell says Sentara prides itself on giving physicians flexibility.

“We have practices where physicians work three 12-hour days instead of a traditional five-day week,” she explains. “We’re working to meet physicians’ needs where weare able to do so.”

Anderson agrees. She’s appreciated being able to make changes in her own practice. She thinks this freedom would pleasantly surprise other physicians.

“Say, for example, I don’t like a particular workflow. I’ve always felt empowered to say, ‘Let’s try something else,’” she explains. “As long as it doesn’t go against a regulatory guideline, the answer is probably yes.”

On top of her leadership role, Anderson still sees patients. She’s remained passionate about patient care since she first pursued family medicine.

“The continuity of relationships we develop with patients and their families is what makes family medicine such a great specialty to get into,” Anderson says. “I love that I have the time to build relationships, and I feel those relationships are what allow me to help improve their health. I look at my role in family medicine as being a physician who helps people be as healthy as they can be and live their best life.”

When patients live their best lives, physicians can, too — especially in Virginia Beach. Over her career, Anderson has lived in a few parts of town. She says it’s incredible to have the ocean or a state park right in your backyard. A gorgeous beach plus great schools, sports, activities and entertainment make this the perfect city to live and practice.

Sentara is currently recruiting for primary care, hospital medicine, cardiology, psychiatry, palliative care, neurology, pediatric critical care, gastroenterology, rheumatology and anesthesiology.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

TULSA, OKLAHOMA, IS KNOWN for its cowboy culture, art deco landmarks and rich Native American history. But that’s just the start of its appeal. It’s also home to an abundance of outdoor activities

Tulsa River Parks offer 26 miles of paved trails along the Arkansas River. From there, you can also get to the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness. Spanning 300 acres, it boasts trails perfect for hiking, mountain biking and running.

The River Parks trails also lead to Gathering Place, a riverfront park on nearly 100 acres of land. Made possible by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, this community space has themed attractions for all ages. Skywalk Forest is a wonderland of slides and climbing structures, and Volcanoville is a padded play area for infants and toddlers. There’s also Charlie’ Water Mountain with tunnels, dams, streams, a spray area and more. And the PSO Reading Tree hosts educational programming and songs.

No matter what you’re into, there’s always something to do in Tulsa. If you want to get active, you’ll find fitness classes, basketball and volleyball courts, a skate park, BMX tracks, and running and biking trails.

And when you’re ready to relax, choose from concerts, movie nights, dining and more.

Tulsa is also home to one of the largest city parks in the country: the 3,300-acre Mohawk Park. There, you can go hiking, watch wildlife, play golf or disc golf, enjoy equestrian trails or explore the Tulsa Zoo. The park also houses the 800-acre Oxley Nature Center and its 600- foot boardwalk.

In other words, there’s no shortage of things to do in Tulsa. And with fast-growing companies like Core Clinical Partners, there’s also no shortage of opportunity.

A national hospital-based physician services company, Core has a distinctive model. They work to help health systems and physicians align compensation to quality metrics.

“We are a contracted partner with the hospital. Instead of having the in-house hospitalists, they’ll have Core Clinical Partners come in and manage that service. We provide service in a range of functions in areas such as recruitment, clinical quality and process improvement,” explains Beecher Whiting, recruiter for Core in Tulsa. “We’re working on their whole process and how they function and increasing metrics and patient experiences. It’s a more well- rounded approach to it as opposed to just filling their schedule.”

Core recently expanded to Oklahoma. They’re partnering with Hillcrest HealthCare System to provide hospitalist services and management at several sites in and around Tulsa. The partnership is already off to a successful start.

“Within six months of going live for Hillcrest, we’ve met all the major quality improvement metrics that the hospital asked us to meet, and it’s really because of the strong leadership and support from our CEO, Boykin Robinson,” says Darren Thomas, M.D., who joined Core as the system medical director for Hillcrest.

Thomas attended the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Tulsa and is board-certified in internal medicine and pediatrics. Before joining Core, he worked in Tulsa-area hospitals for many years. Compared to his previous roles, Thomas says Core is nimbler.

“I have about 120 full-time and part-time physicians and advanced practice providers that work at the hospitals we cover,” he says. “I get a lot of energy from bringing people together, building high-quality, functioning teams, building careers and jobs that people love, and providing good service to our hospitals.”

Supporting physicians is also important to Core. Whiting says they aim to manage workloads, prevent burnout and achieve work- life balance. This ladders up to enjoying life more in Tulsa.

“People value work/life balance more, and Tulsa embodies that. We’re not crazy with traffic. Commutes are manageable. We have a lot of outdoor activities,” Whiting says. “People get comfortable, have everything they need and find there’s really no reason to move.”

Core is currently recruiting physicians and advanced practice providers for their large hospital medicine team in Tulsa.

Denver, Colorado

IT’S AN OUTDOOR LOVER’S ULTIMATE playground: Denver, Colorado. Situated at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is the epitome of scenic. It may not literally have 300 days of sunshine—as some like to claim—but it’s still one of America’s sunniest cities. It boasts year-round opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Hikers and bikers will delight at the hundreds of miles of trails in and around Denver. No matter where you are in the city, a trail is probably a stone’s throw away. And if you’re new to hiking and biking, fear not. Denver has options for every level, from leisurely urban strolls to extreme Rocky Mountain hikes. There’s also an array of winter activities. Go skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, ice skating, snow tubing and more.

Denver has an impressive system of parks, with more than 250 to choose from. Head to Confluence Park to picnic, hike, bike or go fishing, swimming, kayaking and tubing on the South Platte River. Check out City Park for 330 beautiful acres of land, lakes and trails— plus the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and free summer concerts. For outdoor sports and recreation, Washington Park is the place to go. Play volleyball, jog, or bike the park’s outer loop, or rent a boat to take out on one of the two lakes. You’ll even find areas for horseshoes and lawn bowling.

Outdoor adventure awaits in Denver’s surrounding towns as well. Thrill-seekers will love ziplining, white water rafting and obstacle courses at Colorado Adventure Center in Idaho Springs. And fitness enthusiasts can see if they’re up for the challenge at the Manitou Incline in nearby Manitou Springs. The incline rises 2,000 feet in elevation in under one mile. Take the Barr Trail back down the mountain and enjoy magnificent views along the way.

Visit the iconic Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater for some of the nation’s most unique concert experiences. Plus, discover rare and fascinating geological sites at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. This national natural landmark boasts 300-feet sandstone rock formations along 21 miles of trails. Explore via hiking, rock climbing, Segway tours, cycling and horseback.

Denver also has professional sports, vibrant arts and culture, great dining and much more. It’s the kind of city where it’s hard not to find something to do. With so much to experience, it’s no wonder thousands move to the Mile High City each year.

Afia Albin, M.D., first arrived in Colorado in 2014 for medical school. She wanted to study somewhere with outdoor adventures. Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine was the perfect fit.

“I realized I really love outdoors things, and Colorado is known for that, so I wanted to come here,” Albin says. “If you ask any of my friends or family, they’ll tell you I’m obsessed with Denver.”

After medical school, Albin left Denver for a residency in Seattle, but it wasn’t long before she made her way back. She’s now a family medicine physician at one of the five Mednow Clinics in the Denver area. She’s also the family medicine clerkship chair at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

A love for the outdoors drew Albin to Colorado, and a love for helping people drew her to medicine. “I’ve wanted to do medicine for a long time…” she says. “As I got older, I just realized that health is really the cornerstone of getting to be your best self in life.”

In family medicine, Albin can build strong relationships with her patients and help them live their healthiest lives.

Happy at work and in the city she calls home, Albin has no plans to leave. “I really love the balance of city life Denver has to offer,” she says. “I haven’t been to every city, but of the ones I’ve been to, this is truly the best.”