In September 2012, Union Hospital's Clay City Center for Family Medicine welcomed Family Medicine physician, Dr. Puja Sharma, to its staff. Dr. Sharma is a 2012 graduate of the Union Hospital Family Medicine Residency and the latest example of the residency's commitment to placing well-trained physicians in areas of provider shortages.

 Dr. Puja SharmaRural communities nationwide are lacking adequate healthcare. An extensive number of obstacles exist in rural areas, where only a handful of physicians choose to practice, while others choose more urban settings which typically offer higher pay. Despite the drawbacks, many physicians who have served in rural areas argue the benefits of rural practice, including a good work-life balance; more personable, friendly clientele; and greater personal reward.

For Dr. Sharma, who grew up in New Dehli, India (pop. 2 million), choosing the Rural Health Clinic in Clay City (pop. 861) offered a change of pace and allowed her to practice Family Medicine in a way that fit her family-oriented lifestyle. Her husband, Dr. Manish Gera, is practicing Internal Medicine - Nephrology in Terre Haute. They have two young daughters.

"Clay City Center for Family Medicine offered a rural practice in an outpatient setting which was best suited for my needs, allowing me to fulfill my role as a physician and as a mother." said Sharma, adding that she is proud to be serving a rural community.


Accompanying the shortage of rural physicians is the dwindling baby boomer physician population. Several Terre Haute-based physicians, many of whom have an established patient base, are nearing the age of retirement. The Union Hospital Family Medicine Residency has identified these areas of concern and is working to meet them head-on. The residency's newly developed vision includes goals for filling the voids left by retirement, in addition to its already successful rural training initiatives. The residency graduates seven physicians every year. Because of its tailor-made curriculum, residents obtain numerous skills and experiences in a variety of settings by the time they complete the program. This exposure prepares them well for their future careers, no matter where they choose to practice, but it prepares them especially for rural practice.

Dr. Sharma's advanced skills and knowledge have better-enabled the Clay City Center for Family Medicine to meet the needs of its patients. Prior to her Family Medicine training, she had completed a three year residency in obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) in Delhi. She also served as a research fellow in OB/GYN (Division of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility) at Columbia University and the Mayo Clinic.

Since its founding, Union Hospital's residency has produced over 150 family medicine physicians. Like Dr. Sharma, many of those alums have chosen to practice medicine in areas where physicians are in dire need, meeting the ever-changing health needs of their communities.

Contact Us

Kristin Busenbark
Residency Coordinator 
(812) 478-4183
Toll Free: 800-264-4717

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Professional Office Building, 2nd Floor
1530 North 7th Street

Terre Haute, IN 47807