MedPro International is placing foreign-educated healthcare professionals in exciting positions throughout the United States. This week we take a closer look at Northeast Arizona, including Ganado, Chinle, and Fort Defiance.
In the Northeast corner of Arizona is Navajo Nation, the largest Native American Reservation in the United States and encompassing the towns of Ganado, Chinle, and Fort Defiance. This rural, tight-knit community goes back many generations. Anthropologists believe the Navajos, or Dine as they refer to themselves, migrated to the Southwest between 800 to 1,000 years ago. The U.S. government recognized Navajo Nation in 1868, and the tribal government was established in 1923.
Today, the rugged desert landscape’s natural beauty and reputation attract visitors and new residents from all over the country. Though Navajo Nation is small in population, it covers 27,413 square miles and the corners of four states, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico, providing full-time and temporary residents with a unique experience. Nurses who have worked in the area attest to the kindness of the people and the positive experience they had treating patients on the reservation. Working in Ganado, Chinle, and Fort Defiance provides healthcare professionals an opportunity to get to know and be part of an often-underserved community.
The Navajo government is the largest employer in Ganado, Chinle, and Fort Defiance. The service industry, retail, and transportation/communication/utilities also employ a large number of residents. The area appointed its first-ever full-time economist in 2021 and is optimistic about the tribe’s transition from a coal-centered economy.
Local Medical facilities
Navajo Nation is served by Navajo Health Foundation-Sage Memorial Hospital, Tséhootsooí Medical Center, and the Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility.
Quality of Life
- Residents enjoy an extremely low cost of living in this area but also contend with the limitations of a rural community.
- Population: Ganado (905), Chinle (4,291), Fort Defiance (4,209), based on the 2020 Census
- Median housing unit value: Ganado ($44,500), Chinle ($31,600), Fort Defiance ($33,700)
- Median Household Income: Ganado ($39,844), Chinle ($30,667), Fort Defiance ($38,598)
- Per Capita Income: Ganado ($14,129), Chinle ($13,662), Fort Defiance ($20,076)
- Live below the poverty line: Ganado (28 percent), Chinle (53.5 percent), Fort Defiance (33.2 percent)
- Median Age: Ganado (31.2), Chinle (22.8), Fort Defiance (36.3)
- Average commute time: Ganado (27.4 minutes), Chinle (16.2 minutes), Fort Defiance (15.5 minutes)
- Overall grade: Ganado (C-), Chinle (C-), Fort Defiance (C-)
- Student-Teacher ratio: Ganado (14 to 1), Chinle (14 to 1), Fort Defiance (15 to 1)
- Serving elementary (PreK, K-2), Intermediate (grades 3-5), Middle (grades 6-8), High school (grades 9-12)
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site The oldest continuously operating trading post in the American Southwest, visitors can purchase authentic, high-quality craftworks by Native artisans. Navajo rugs, jewelry, and more are available.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument A vast desert park on Navajo tribal lands, Canyon de Chelly is a popular spot for hiking and site seeing. Spider Rock spire, an 800-foot tall sandstone spire named after a key figure in Navajo lore, is one of the most photographed attractions at the park.
Window Rock Tribal Park and Veterans Memorial Among the park’s many attractions is the sandstone formation, which the city of Window Rock was named, and the Navajo Nation Code Talkers World War II memorial. The memorial honors the many Navajos who served in the military, including soldiers who used their native Diné language to talk in a code the enemy never broke.
Navajo Nation Museum Located in nearby Window Rock, the museum features exhibitions and events such as the Keshmish Arts Market throughout the year.
Gallup, New Mexico Just a 36-minute drive from Fort Defiance is Gallup, a small city with shops, restaurants, hotels, and museums.
Red Rock Balloon RallyThe first weekend Of December, 200 balloons from around the world take flight for the second-largest balloon event in the U.S. at the Red Rock Balloon Rally in Gallup.
Grand Canyon National ParkIt’s a three-hour drive from Ganado, but it’s well worth the time to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Take in the view from the overlooks, go on a hike, or experience a helicopter tour.
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