Dermatologist thrives by giving her all to the specialty, research and to flowers

August 1, 2012

Janet Gratner Hickman, M.D., may have retired from full-time private practice more than a year ago, but life since has been anything but leisurely. For Dr. Hickman, the close of three decades in dermatology practice meant more time for giving back to the specialty, to research and to her beloved daffodils.

Key Points

For Dr. Hickman, the close of three decades in dermatology practice meant more time for giving back to the specialty, to research and to her beloved daffodils.

Dr. Hickman took office as president of the Women's Dermatologic Society last March. It isn't her first presidency; she founded and served as president of the Women's Dermatologic Society Foundation in 2004.

Dr. Hickman also served as president of the Virginia Dermatologic Society, and she was the first woman to preside over her local medical society, the Lynchburg Academy of Medicine.

Making connections

Dr. Hickman says making the yearlong commitment to WDS seemed logical. She says she has benefited from the networking, mentoring and friendships that flourish in the organization.

"Being in private practice in a small city, I wouldn't have had the connection to all the leaders in our society and in our specialty without the WDS. That has been a common thread, where I've been able to connect with so many different people in different parts of the country, different parts of the world, different ages, different subspecialties. And I've met them and gotten to know them through WDS," she says. "I think that strengthens my enjoyment of dermatology and also strengthens the specialty."

As president, she has been focusing on expanding WDS volunteerism beyond sun protection education and sun screening to include such things as acne and women's self-image.

Dr. Hickman also keeps up with the specialty through research. She is a clinical investigator at the Education and Research Foundation, an independent research facility in Lynchburg, Va. She conducts clinical trials for pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies.

Love of daffodils

Dr. Hickman has many hobbies outside her work life, but her favorite is everything that has to do with daffodils. She recently completed testing to become qualified as a daffodil judge with the American Daffodil Society.

To become a daffodil judge, the dermatologist took several tests, including one in which she had to identify 40 types of the flower.

Dr. Hickman says her fascination with the flowers stems from the fact they appear early in the year, bringing hope for the spring, and they are not eaten by the many deer in her yard. And fellow daffodil enthusiasts are engaging, fun people, she adds.

An eye to the future

Dr. Hickman says she has plans to redirect her busy life when her run as WDS president ends March 2013.

The dermatologist, who also is a volunteer teacher at the Lynchburg Family Medicine Residency program, where she coordinates and presents a dermatology curriculum for residents, plans to spend more time with her grandchildren.

She'll continue her research, she says, as well as devote more time to judging daffodil competitions.

Janet Hickman, M.D.

Born:
Mankato, Minn., 1946

Internship:
Duke University Medical Center Durham, N.C.

Residencies, internal medicine and dermatology:
Duke University Medical Center

Hobbies: Beading, gardening (especially daffodils), cooking, reading (especially cozy mysteries, in which there are lots of interesting characters but nobody suffers)

Family: Husband, Robert Edward Hickman, M.D., a gastroenterologist; three sons; two daughters-in-law; and two granddaughters

In Her Own Words: What is the best professional advice you ever received?

Dr. Hickman: "Be true to what you want to do, and be true to your own definition of success."