James H. Wall ’16, PharmD, assistant clinical professor of pharmacy practice, has a goal: use his doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree to contribute to the fight against cancer.
“I want to help get us to a point where cancer is a manageable disease state,” said. Dr. Wall. “The core focus of my current work is taking complex scientific ideas, and bringing them to life in real-world practice settings, including academic institutions, smaller hospitals and community oncology clinics.”
As a student he planned on pursuing a career in oncology, either in the practice setting or within the pharmaceutical industry. “My decision became indelible during my oncology clinical rotation at the VA San Diego Healthcare System,” he said. “I was amazed by the strength and courage of my patients. They inspired me to strive to make a difference for future generations.”
After earning his PharmD, he completed a clinical oncology fellowship at Genentech in collaboration with Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He is now a global studies leader for hematology/oncology at Genentech and, in this role, he has the opportunity to be involved with international research.
He recently collaborated with colleagues in China on a lung cancer research trial. “The trip involved working with local health authorities, ethics committees, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and legal entities, in different cities around China, to secure approval of a novel treatment for first-line, extensive stage non-small cell lung cancer,” he said.
Dr. Wall with colleagues at Harbin University Medical Center in Harbin, China
His advice for students who are interested in working in the pharmaceutical industry is to get involved with Pacific’s chapter of the Industry Pharmacists Organization. He explains that connecting with professional organizations is an effective way to build one’s professional network, as a student and beyond.
Dr. Wall has kept close ties with his alma mater. “My peers at Pacific have become colleagues,” he said. “No matter where I go in the world, I know that the Pacific family is with me.” He currently teaches the pharmacy practice course Careers in the Pharmaceutical Industry. He also serves as president of the Pacific Pharmacy Alumni Association and co-hosts an annual reception for students and alumni in the San Diego area at the Mission Bay Yacht Club.
“My peers at Pacific have become colleagues. No matter where I go in the world, I know that the Pacific family is with me.”
He believes that when alumni give of their time and talent it enriches the profession overall. “We are sending students out into a rapidly changing world,” he said. He believes seasoned professionals can help recent graduates navigate the complexity of the professional landscape by sharing the wisdom they have gained from experience.
Dr. Wall’s goal is to get alumni of all ages involved in the Pacific Pharmacy Alumni Association. “Pacific has a long-standing legacy, but it is essential for young alumni to continue to give back and carry the baton for the next generation,” he said.
His hobbies include surfing, playing water polo and embarking on high-altitude adventures. He volunteers with Flying Samaritans, an all-volunteer organization which hosts free medical clinics in Baja California, Mexico.
By Anne Marie H. Bergthold