If you’ve been lucky enough to have a mentor along your career path, you know how valuable it is to your personal and professional success. Just ask Scott Evans, PharmD, senior vice president and CEO of Sharp Grossmont Hospital.
In honor of American Pharmacists Month, Evans talks about the mentoring opportunities he received — and has given — as a leader and licensed pharmacist.
How did you know you wanted to become a pharmacist?
Right out of high school, I enrolled in a technical program to become a pharmacy technician. I figured at that time I would work as a pharmacy technician while completing my undergraduate studies and then, hopefully, become a pharmacist. I got my pharmacy tech certification and began working in a hospital immediately upon graduation. That’s where I really began to be mentored by the pharmacists who worked there with me. They even helped me with the application process to get into pharmacy school.
Does working in pharmacy or health care run in the family?
You could say health care runs in the family. It seems all of the women in my family were in the health profession: my mother, grandmother, aunt and some of my cousins were nurses. One day, I was talking to my grandmother about what I wanted to do as a career, debating pharmacy or physical therapy. She told me at the time that she believed I would be better suited in pharmacy based upon her experience with them, so you could say she was one of my very first mentors who directed me in the direction of pharmacy school.
It was during pharmacy school at USC that I met my wife. She and I were in the same class. By the time we graduated, we were engaged.
Talk about how you got to where you are today.
After residency, I worked as a critical care pharmacist at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, ultimately becoming a clinical supervisor after a few years. I had met Richard Dobiesz when he was working as a weekend pharmacist at my first hospital job. He was a great teacher. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he was the vice president of professional services at Hollywood Presbyterian. He coaxed me to come to Hollywood Presbyterian as soon as I entered pharmacy school, and I returned there after my residency training completed. He was the first to open my eyes to the fact that pharmacists can go beyond the walls of pharmacy if they so choose.
A few years later, I took a job at USC (now Keck Medical Center of USC) as the director of pharmacy. My boss, Debbie Walsh, was a nurse and the chief operating officer. She encouraged me to take on different interdisciplinary projects. She was career mentoring me, building up my knowledge and skills, and ultimately allowed me to take on a role as an associate administrator for pharmacy, lab and radiology.
Soon after that, I assumed a leadership role overseeing the medical staff office, infection prevention and quality. A short time later, I took a huge leap and applied for the chief operating officer position that my mentor once held, as she became CEO. I got the position and it really enabled me to learn more about the role of a leader and the importance of leadership. Four years later, I was the CEO.
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After serving three years as the CEO for Keck Medical Center of USC, Evans arrived at Sharp Grossmont in 2015 where he now serves as senior vice president and chief executive officer of the hospital.
Evans now pays it forward mentoring other young pharmacists. Just ask Ali Zanial, PharmD, MHA, operations supervisor at Sharp Central Pharmacy Services.
“I have been fortunate and blessed to have Scott as a mentor,” he says. “I met Scott while I was a student in his leadership management class at the USC School of Pharmacy. During a 10-minute break, I walked up to Scott and introduced myself, and that’s how our mentor/mentee relationship started.”
“Scott helped me visualize my future aspirations, which turned out to be helping patients through pharmacy administration,” Zanial remembers. “I had the honor of completing my second year of the Hospital Administration/Masters in Health Administration residency program at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, which ultimately led to the role that I have now at Sharp.”
Like others, he says Evans is a gift to health care and the pharmacy profession. “He’s a role model to the many he taught, mentored and continues to lead in his career.”
For the news media: To talk with Scott Evans for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.