GREENFIELD — Bijender Kumar sees a lot in common between small-town India and small-town Indiana.

He would know.

Kumar, 40, was born in Teori, a small farm town about 15 miles outside of Kurukshetra, Haryana, India. Now, he calls Indiana how, having been hired as the medical director for the hospital team at Hancock Regional Hospital in July.

He recently completed a special master’s of business administration for physicians from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. The program is designed to help doctors to improve the healthcare system, said Shane Simmons, assistant director of internal affairs at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis.

The physician recently sat down with the Daily Reporter to talk about his rural origins and his goals at Hancock Regional Hospital.

» What was school like when you were small?

It was a one-room school. My mom and dad were farmers. The teacher had a chair, but we would sit on the ground. My mother was very enthusiastic about education. We were five boys, and most families would have had us spend most of the time in the fields. My eldest brother finished 10th grade and later got his engineering diploma. I finished my further education with him. » What was your medical school experience like?There was only one med school in the area. There were 50 seats of 15,000 students reserved for scholarship. I finished my medical school in six years and spent less than $1,000. After I finished, I worked in a rural area and saw many sick people there with not much help.

» How did you end up in Indiana?

A friend of mine came to the U.S., and when he told me about the education here, I thought I can definitely come here and do it. I passed all my exams while working at a construction company in the Bronx and pumping gas in New Jersey at a full-service gas station. Then I was hired as a medical doctor at IU Health Bedford Hospital, formerly Bedford Regional Medical Center.

» What brought you to Greenfield?

In May, I got a call from Hancock Regional Hospital. Dr. Mike Fletcher is also a Kelley grad, and he asked me to come and interview. They offered me the job the day after the interview.

» What are your goals to improve the health of the community?

I’m on the hospital improvement team, and they are so passionate about the community and population health. We as a team are working on improving patient safety. Our motto is “LOVE: Living Our Values Every day.” (One) of our focuses (is) inpatient safety, which we are addressing with standardized processes in the emergency department that help people to be seen as soon as possible and moved to the next step without any wasted time. At 10 a.m. every day, doctors, case managers with safety charts, the pharmacist, dietitian, physical therapist and the charge nurse meet … to discuss our patients, and then each doctor goes to the patient rooms, … asking how we can do better for them.

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.