“I have the opportunity to become a real part of my patients’ and their families’ lives.”
Born and raised in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Dr. Jane Anne Howard attended St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) in her hometown before completing medical school at Dalhousie University and then residency in Moncton, New Brunswick. She says the pull to come home was strong, “I always knew I wanted to work in Antigonish, or a place like it, where there was a community-feel in your life and at work.”
A family physician who splits time in her community practice and working hospital shifts at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, Dr. Howard is enthusiastic how the many ways her location enriches her practice. She credits the support that she and her colleagues receive from their peers across the province and how this cohesion makes it feel like everyone is in it together. With the help from, and easy access to, physicians and specialists who work locally and in tertiary care centres, she is able to provide “big” small-town care.
“We are always there for each other. We strive to provide excellent care, sustainably.” The physicians of the area stay connected through the year through organized social events for families and spouses, including a spring lobster boil and a holiday party.
Dr. Howard is able to optimize her time with her family and friends by practicing medicine in a small community. In between her children’s sports and extra-curricular activities, you can find her and her family relaxing at one of the many warm water beaches nearby or hiking through Keppoch Mountain—the region’s haven for outdoor multisport enthusiasts of all abilities and skill levels.
Only two hours from the capital city, she credits her own town with providing a vibrant and fulfilling lifestyle. A University town, Antigonish’s population doubles with students each year and this creates opportunities to take in night life, live-theatre and myriad sporting events.
“We are never more than five to 10 minutes away from something fun,” she says. “It is a small town with a city feel while at the same time surrounded by natural beauty.”
Ultimately, Dr. Howard believes that Antigonish is a great place to practice. “Due to my hospital’s support and local support, I feel I am able to make an impact in my community.”