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College of Pharmacy

  • Q&A with Jared Ham

Q&A with Jared Ham, '16

"Expect your interests and goals to change over time..."

If alumnus Jared Ham (2016 Pharm.D.) has learned one thing, it is that plans and interests are bound to change. As a pharmacy student - and president of the Flying Gamecocks Skydiving Club - he dreamed of a career in hospital pharmacy. Now, you'll find him studying for his Masters of Public Health degree and preparing for his next big career shift. Through it all, Jared has embraced change to find real fulfillment.


Tell us about what you do: 

I am a Medical Science Liaison Director for Pacira BioSciences and focus on non-opioid pain management.  I became passionate for substance use disorders and taking a public health prevention mindset during my time working in South Florida.  I support investigators and clinicians to design clinical trials, quality improvement projects, and new practice protocols to reduce or eliminate opioid use in favor of non-opioid agents.  

I am planning to transition to a clinical development role upon completion of my MPH in August where I will focus on the development and conduct of large, sponsored clinical trials (Phase 1-4).  My last project is my thesis for which I am currently running a prospective, cohort study investigating the implementation of an opioid-free recovery pathway for ACL reconstruction at a community hospital in Pennsylvania.

Why did you choose the University of South Carolina? 

I chose USC because I wanted to venture out on my own away from family and was looking for a place that I felt comfortable. USC felt like home as soon as I stepped on campus despite being 1,000 miles away.

How did you originally get interested in your field?

I became interested in pharmacy through a high school chemistry teacher who spent his first career as a drug development chemist in pharmaceutical organizations. He utilized pharmacology examples consistently and I was hooked.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I always thought I was going to be an engineer, as most of my family were engineers. I planned to go to Purdue since I was about 8 years old and was going to specialize in aerospace like my uncles and grandfather. I realized during my first physics class in high school that 8-year-old me was mistaken and I liked science, but not physics. 

What is your favorite memory from pharmacy school?

My favorite memory was my time living and working in Masindi, Uganda, as a fourth-year student on rotation.  Learning how to provide care despite significant limitations in the health care system was amazing.  It did make Residency Match Day particularly stressful as I was out in remote villages that day with no cell or internet service to check my results. 

Looking back, is there anything you wish you had done differently? 

I wish I had done my MPH while I was in school because I am just finishing it now at Tufts University to bolster my biostatistics and clinical trial design skills.  Additionally, I wish that I had done a bit more exploration of careers in the pharmaceutical industry and not been so focused on becoming a hospital clinical pharmacist.  The opportunities within industry are vast and I wasn’t really exposed to them until I started having colleagues take these positions. 

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Life is not going to follow the path you lay out for yourself and you must be resilient and adaptable to reach the goals you set, even after facing disappointment or a roadblock.  I didn’t match for PGY2 and had to figure out alternate pathways to get where I wanted to be, which required more self-teaching and a lot of work outside of my 'official' job. But there is no one pathway to accomplishing your goals, so be resilient if there are roadblocks and find a new way to get where you want to be.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 

I think my greatest professional achievement was being named Preceptor of the Year for the residency program at my hospital in South Florida. I wanted to instill a passion for emergency medicine pharmacy in all my residents, even if they weren’t interested themselves, and the award served as confirmation that I was able to connect and share my knowledge and passion with each of the residents. 

Who has been a mentor to you? 

During pharmacy school my mentors were Dr. Julie Justo and Dr. Brandon Bookstaver, who helped me during research and residency preparation. I've found two mentors at my current company with my Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Slonin and my VP of Medical Affairs Tracy Crothers. They were the two who encouraged me to go back for my MPH and have pushed me to advance into clinical development.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

Right now my time outside of work is spent golfing, playing with my dogs, and playing in my hockey league. I haven’t had much free time the past two years due to classes and schoolwork for the additional degree, but am looking forward to getting back into running and longer races.

What are you currently reading, watching or listening to?

I’m about to go to Scotland for a long vacation, so my wife and I are watching Outlander. While in Scotland we are going to the Eras Tour in Edinburgh so I’m listening to a lot of Taylor Swift so that I’m not lost at the concert. 

What is your advice for current students / future pharmacy professionals?

Expect your interests and goals to change over time. I never imagined myself not working at the bedside in a hospital, but I found a passion for research through my bedside work. You may expect to do one thing your entire career, but you should explore any opportunities when they present themselves to see if it’s not something that you are more passionate about.

What song always puts you in a good mood?

'Sandstorm' in the Fall always hypes me up, but year-round almost any Hootie & the Blowfish song will put me in a good mood. 

Topics: Alumni Programs, Meet Our Alumni

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