Alumni Spotlight: Jean Pallares

Jean Pallares (USC PharmD ’84), Director of Pharmacy and Laboratory Services at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, shares advice for current and prospective pharmacy students, describes the rewards of practicing in an acute care setting, and explains the true meaning of the phrase “Trojan Family.”


Could you share a bit about your current work as Director of Pharmacy and Laboratory Services at Huntington Hospital?

Jean Pallares, PharmD ’84

I currently serve as the director of Pharmacy and Laboratory Services. I am the Pharmacist in Charge and  I oversee all of the operations within the pharmacy. We have a strong clinical program and have teaching affiliations with both USC and Western University.  We provide clinical clerkships for approximately 50 students per year.  We also employ intern pharmacists who are per diem employees and are mentored by our pharmacists through their three years with us.  We have an accredited residency program as well and employ two post-graduate year one residents and two post-graduate year two residents in the specialties emergency department medicine and infectious disease.  We are very proud of our teaching tradition.  It is part of who we are. 

How did your experiences at USC affect where you are today?

My experience at USC led me to Huntington. I applied for an intern position when I was in my first year of pharmacy school at USC. I’ve been at Huntington in different roles ever since. 

What would you say to a student who was considering attending USC School of Pharmacy?

I would strongly encourage students who are considering applying to USC School of Pharmacy to work hard in their undergraduate course work. Pharmacy has become extremely competitive and strong performance and a high GPA is required to get into the best schools.  One of the most important skills for a pharmacist is the ability to communicate well.  That is so important and it will serve them throughout their career.

What advice do you have for current pharmacy students?

I would tell current pharmacy students to get involved in extracurricular activities in the school and to get a job as an intern.  I learned so much as an intern and it is such a valuable experience.  Of course I’m biased, but I always encourage students to pursue hospital careers.  Practicing in the acute care setting can be extremely rewarding.  It is demanding but a great career choice.  I strongly advise any student to complete post-graduate training.  Residencies are tremendous opportunities for polishing,  refining and learning valuable skills.  It gives you a competitive advantage in the job market and can open many doors. It is a choice you will not regret.

Your father Oscar Pallares graduated from the School in 1955 and was a long-term supporter and member of the Board of Councilors. What does the phrase “Trojan family” mean to you? 

I grew up in a Trojan family.  My parents met at USC and it was always an important part of their lives.  Trojans stay connected with each other.  You can travel anywhere and always find a Trojan.  Being a member of the Trojan family means networking and sharing experiences.  There is always a connection that stays with you for life.

Is there anything else about your experience at USC that you’d like to share?

I had a wonderful experience at USC.  It is rewarding to watch the Trojan Family connection continue with my son who is currently in his senior year in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.  He didn’t choose pharmacy but he’s certainly proud to be a Trojan. Fight on!