Dr. Janice Fordham never thought about living in Montana. But after a visit here, she and her husband decided they loved what the Treasure State had to offer. She is a family medicine physician at St. Vincent Healthcare.
You’re originally from Georgia. What made you choose to locate in Billings?
I attended a medical conference a few years before we moved. We loved the quality of life- that you can sneak away on the weekends in an hour and be at the mountains, fishing and camping. We love the work-life balance. We said we better move before we started our family and sure enough I signed my contract and we found out we were expecting. Now we have three girls and really love the family aspect of this town.
What aspect of medicine do you enjoy the most?
I really love treating the entire family. I have a family with four generations that I see. I love getting to know each of them and understanding their family dynamics. It really makes coming up with a treatment plan easier when you understand the family and where they are coming for.
What is the most challenging aspect of your career?
Delivering bad news.
What do you do to relax?
a. Ha, relax -- not much with the three kiddos. We try to camp a few weekends a month during summer. We have a new goal to find a new campground each time to experience all of Montana and the West, and in the four years we’ve been here, we’ve barely made a dent.
You work in Laurel. Why did you choose to work there?
I really enjoy that we are removed from the main hospital campus that we get to practice full-spectrum family medicine. I get to save people a trip into Billings to do some of their skin biopsies, fracture management, women’s health and pediatrics. It’s nice to work in such a welcoming community.
How did you get involved with Moms of Multiples?
While I was pregnant with my twins, an acquaintance sought me out to give me info and attend a few meetings. I attended several “mom’s night out” where we’d have informal dinners and then a few meetings with speakers. It’s been such a great experience, these ladies were such great support during pregnancy and early infancy with the twins and continue to be some of my dearest friends, but now as my kiddos get older it’s nice to be able to return the favor. As I’ve become more involved with the club (hospitality chair), I am able to help organize meals for new moms, help with planning social events for moms to get together, attend meetings.
If you weren’t a doctor, what other career do you believe you would have pursued?
My parents always to this day thought I would be a vet. I grew up around horses, went to college at the University of Georgia where I was on the equestrian team. Several of my friends from the team did pursue careers in veterinary medicine, but for some reason I was always drawn to people.
What person helped you achieve success?
I’d say my parents, they were firm believers in education. We came from modest upbringing, but my parents put our education before anything else. They took out loans to help my brother and I attend school, and neither of my parents ever attended college- so I admire their dedication to our education.
Who was your greatest teacher?
My grandmother. She was the matriarch of our family. She was a firm believer in education, especially for females. She went to school to be a social worker and got her master's in the days when many females didn’t go on to get higher education. She taught about life lessons of perseverance and the importance of family.
Were there any experiences you had that you originally thought were bad but actually turned out to be very good learning opportunities?
In residency, I received feedback that I was “too close to my patients.” Another faculty member caught wind of the feedback and coached me to never stop advocating for my patients. To this day I follow that advice.