It wasn’t until Dr. Robert Brown did his training in Baltimore that he realized Roanoke, where he attended medical school as part of the charter class, might be the right place for him to land.

While Baltimore was a great place to train in emergency medicine and he loved the people, Brown said he felt less sure of his ability to make a difference there. The landscape wasn’t quite right either, he said, noting “it felt sad to stand in the shadows of buildings.” Nothing compares to the rejuvenation of a walk in the wilderness, which he can take rather easily in Roanoke.

“Everywhere you go here, thank goodness for the geography, it’s not covered with people. It’s not developed to the hills. It’s not a concrete jungle,” Brown said. “It is just beautiful.”

So last year, he moved back to the Roanoke Valley.

Brown, 38, also said it’s uncommon for doctors to end up practicing in the cities in which they attended medical school, largely because they go off to do their residency afterward, generally someplace else. But several of his classmates have returned to Roanoke.

“They’ve welcomed us back,” he said. “We can go and we can do our training in other places and we can come in with a different perspective.”