Dr. Andrew Moore, a member of the charter class at the VTC School of Medicine, said it’s unusual for doctors to choose to practice in the city where they attended medical school.

“All of the data really says that people end up practicing where they did their residency or where their mother-in-law lives,” he said.

After finishing medical school in Roanoke, Moore headed off to Chicago for his residency and then spent a few years in Portland, Oregon, nearer to where he grew up on the West Coast.

But when he began looking for opportunities in academic emergency medicine, Moore found himself once again drawn to Roanoke. It checked all of his boxes professionally in that he could be involved in an emergency medicine residency program and work with medical students, plus it offered the outdoor activities important to Moore, who was a ski patroller for a few years before attending medical school.

“There’s not a lot of level 1 trauma centers that you could technically mountain bike to work at,” Moore said. But Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital is one of them.

So last year, Moore, 38, moved back to the area with his family. He likes Roanoke’s small-town feel and working in a large academic hospital setting that’s still walkable and the kind of place where people know their neighbors.

Plus, Moore said, the patients he treats in Southwest Virginia are always so nice. The latest batch of residents even commented on it.

“We’re in the ER, so we’re generally seeing people on what’s probably considered the worst day of their lives and when they’re still friendly and patient and understanding of the crowding in our emergency department, it just makes life so much easier,” he said. “It’s very fulfilling to take care of the patient population down here.”

Moore said he understood officials hoped establishing the medical school in Roanoke would bring more physicians to the area. At the time, he was skeptical of that plan. But now, with several members of the charter class back in the region, he’s been proven wrong.

“This place has a magnetic pull,” Moore said. “It’s an amazing place to live and practice medicine.”