How many of us, when presented with three job offers, would choose the lowest paying? Not many, I suspect. But that is exactly what Rear Admiral (RADM, ret.) Thomas J. McGinnis did after graduating from pharmacy school, choosing to pass up two more lucrative offers to join the United States Public Health Service (PHS). Tom has spent his entire career in the PHS and, looking back on it, he has never regretted that decision.
Tom’s letter describes his remarkable career at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and later taking the helm of the U.S. Department of Defense’s TRICARE Pharmacy Program, which provides pharmacy care to almost 10 million members of the seven uniformed services and their families. His work has provided many interesting challenges and many opportunities to improve our citizens’ health. One of his most memorable and rewarding experiences was his deployment to storm-ravaged areas along the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Just before his retirement Tom served as Chief, Pharmaceutical Operations Division, responsible for pharmacy operations of the Defense Health Agency.
He earned his bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from Rutgers University and a certificate in general administration from the University of Maryland. He is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute.
Tom’s advice to young pharmacists is to record your observations, milestones, and lessons learned over time; build the strongest foundation of knowledge, skills, and contacts that you can; and build a strong personal foundation.