"It is truly an honor to serve those who have served us ..."
Alumnus Jonathan R. McFall (2012 Pharm.D.) sees his work as a chance to serve a higher purpose, which he does through both his civilian role on Fort Jackson and his service in the Army Reserves. When the first wave of COVID-19 hit last year, he was mobilized to help bolster the fight. Jonathan is married to fellow pharmacist Sara McFall (2012 Pharm.D.)
Tell us about what you do:
I am the Supervisor for Outpatient Pharmacy Services at Moncrief Army Health Clinic where we process over 40,000 prescriptions monthly for Active Duty soldiers, retirees, and other beneficiaries. I'm a Pharmacy Officer for U.S. Army Reserves serving in a Troop Medical Clinic focused on providing sick call services and readiness functions.
How did you originally get interested in your field?
I took a year off after completing my undergraduate degree in search of what I wanted to do. My late father (Mike Edwards) and uncle (Eddie Garrett) were graduates of UofSC College of Pharmacy Class of 1977. Following in the family line made sense, so I took the PCAT and applied to pharmacy school. The rest is history.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Naval aviator like Maverick in Top Gun.
Who has been a mentor to you?
Beginning with Community Pharmacy Lab, Mrs. Kathy Quarles Moore set the tone for how I would practice community pharmacy. We should always put ourselves in the patient’s shoes and apply that mindset to how we should act.
Dr. Betsy Blake has shown and encouraged me and my wife, Sara, on how to stay involved in the pharmacy school community. As alumni, our best gift to the school is to give back.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Two career achievements stand out to me: First, having the ability to take care of veterans and active duty soldiers at Fort Jackson gives me great joy. It is truly an honor to serve those who have served us.
Second, I was mobilized last year at the beginning of the pandemic with the Army Reserves to help backfill in a hospital in New Jersey during the first wave of COVID-19. The sense of relief and appreciation that the hospital staff expressed to us as we arrived and their respect as we departed was a humbling experience.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
World War II. It would be awe-inspiring to witness our greatest generation truly in action, as well as learning and gaining wisdom.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Don’t take anything for granted, nothing in life is guaranteed. Appreciate what you have each day, smile, and put your best foot forward daily.
What do you do to relax?
Run. My wife and I have been able to put a focus on running to help with stress and work-life balance. I’ve run four half-marathons in the last two years. Having a way to burn off energy while accomplishing goals helps me tremendously.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Bobby Flay (so he can cook), my Dad, President Lincoln, President Kennedy, Colin Powell, Morgan Freeman.
What is your favorite memory from pharmacy school at the University of South Carolina?
Meeting my wife, Sara. We started dating during P2 year. Our wedding ending up being a huge pharmacy school reunion.
What is your advice for current students / future pharmacy professionals?
Be innovative and forward-thinking. We should always fight for the profession and its expansion. If we don’t have a seat at the table, we will be left out and left behind. For current students, I encourage them to look at rotations outside of their comfort zone. Pharmacy rotations are the only 30 day free trial on a job that you can get and be able to walk away at the end with no consequences if you don’t enjoy that area of pharmacy.
What would your superpower be?
The ability to make anyone smile.