Alumnus shows gratitude to The Gator Nation by giving back

Herb McReynolds, MD '78, is a true Gator doctor.

By: Christine Boatwright
Collage of photos of Herb McReynolds

Photos courtesy Herb McReynolds, MD ’78

Herb McReynolds, MD ’78, first tuned into The Gator Nation as a 12-year-old listening to Gator football games on the radio in Vero Beach, Florida. The University of Florida continued to reach out to him throughout high school, so it was no surprise when McReynolds decided to spend his undergraduate years in Gainesville in the fall of 1970.

Returning home for the summer, he landed a position as an orderly at Indian River Hospital. McReynolds soon was asked to be an autopsy assistant by the hospital’s pathologist.

“I was game to learn anything, and I loved the interaction with the patients on the floors,” McReynolds said.

Following that summer, McReynolds focused on pre-med classes and ultimately attended the UF College of Medicine. Although he has spent the majority of his career in Tucson, Arizona, he feels a strong connection to UF. He works with current UF medical students, serving the people of the Dominican Republic through UF Global Health Outreach trips, and returns to campus for class reunions and football games.

“Medical school was the best decision, and I never regret it,” McReynolds said. “It’s why I stay involved with the University of Florida — to thank them for taking a chance on me.”

McReynolds started his career in 1982 as an emergency medicine physician at Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital, a 300-bed hospital in Tucson, Arizona. He became medical director of emergency services and department chair in 1994. Today, McReynolds is chief of staff elect and will become the first emergency physician at St. Mary’s to serve as chief of staff beginning July 2015.

“I think of myself as a patient’s physician and physician’s physician, and those are not mutually exclusive,” he said.

McReynolds shares his office with fellow Gator doctor and current emergency department chair Andrea Herbert, MD ’93, and the office sports a Gator flag, displaying their Gator pride.

While in Gainesville for a medical school reunion in 2008, McReynolds spoke with medical students who were planning a global health outreach trip to Nicaragua. Their physician staff was complete, but he received a request to serve as an attending physician for a trip to the Dominican Republic.

“It’s great working with these enthusiastic, excellent students. We can teach them early medical decision- making and help them lay a foundation for critical thinking skills for their upcoming clinical years,” McReynolds said. “These trips highlight the bottom line: It’s still a physician-patient interaction.

“For me, it’s giving back to The Gator Nation.”