Dr. Vicki Holmes (MD'73). Photo by: Memories by Mandy.

Dr. Vicki Holmes: A career of caring

Dr. Vicki Holmes (MD'73) is now retired from her medical career and is taking advantage of her free time by spending it with family, golfing and painting. Although she describes her retirement life as “nothing exceptional,” her 43-year career was just the opposite.

By Taryn Riemer

Holmes completed her education at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) in 1973 and then moved to Winnipeg for two years to work at Misericordia Hospital. She and her husband returned to Saskatoon in 1975 and she went into a private practice as a family physician.

“The nice thing about family medicine is you can have all these areas that you develop an expertise in, in addition to your basic training that you can pursue and still be within your family medicine area,” said Holmes.

Holmes also was involved with training medical students, residents, nurses, allied health professionals and the public on topics related to women’s health, palliative care and menopause. She went through various stages of her career where she was involved in different areas of medicine, such as obstetrics and palliative care.

But one of Holmes’ biggest passions was the Women’s Mid-life Health Program. She worked on this program with Sarah Nixon-Jackie, a superlative nurse. Holmes said that Saskatchewan was missing a resource for mature women’s health at that time.

“We were one of the few provinces that didn’t have a menopause clinic,” said Holmes. “The goal of the program was to develop the expertise to investigate all of the things that are happening for women at this stage and to become a resource for the other health-care workers and the women in the community.”

In 2000, Holmes participated in a multi-disciplinary committee that developed a program for women in Saskatchewan. However, once they finished the plan, the health district didn’t have the money to fund the program.

“By that time, I was really committed that this was an excellent idea,” said Holmes. “There was a few of us that went ahead to try and find funding for this outside of the traditional medical world.”

The committee initially received funding from pharmaceutical companies, but when that wasn’t able to continue, they decided to put on an annual art show and banquet that was held from 2003-2011.

“The Art Auction is basically what kept us going. The generous artists, the wonderful volunteers and community support are what made it happen,” said Holmes.

They operated out of St. Paul’s Hospital until 2011 when the health district decided it would fund the program to become part of the women’s centre at City Hospital. Because of the work she did with the program, Holmes was given the Regional Achievement Award of Excellence in the central region in 2011, by the Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Canada.

Holmes split her time with the program and family medicine until 2013 when she left family practice and worked exclusively with the Women’s Mid-life Health Program. Along with her work with the program, Holmes was a board member of the Canadian Menopause Society.

Holmes retired from the program in 2017 and officially entered her retirement stage, but keeps busy with her medical column for Refine magazine and is still an active board member of the Canadian Menopause Society.

“I really feel that I’ve put in a 43-year career and gave it my all every step of the way, but I don’t really feel I need to accomplish anything anymore. It’s quite an interesting stage to be at,” said Holmes. “It was a very exciting career and I truly enjoyed it.”