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Archive for July, 2019

Volunteering in Peru. By Our July Student Pharmacist, Ray Chu.


I had some questions about my time in Peru after my introduction, so I wanted to share my experience with everyone about mission work!

What is the mission?

The medical mission that I have been involved with operates annually within the Ayacucho Region of Peru and is simply called Ayacucho Mission. It is organized by members of the Southern California Branch of the Peruvian American Medical Society (PAMS), and our mission is to provide evidence-based healthcare to the rural regions and indigenous populations at no cost to them.

PAMS focuses on this area of Peru because of the activities of “The Shining Path”, a terrorist group that operated in the area in the 80’s and early 90’s. The Shining Path’s goal was to overthrow the Peruvian government and they did so through brutal civil conflict. They were especially known for their violence towards peasants, trade workers, and indigenous peoples in the areas in and surrounding Ayacucho, their main area of operation. Years after they were driven out, the effects of the devastation from the conflicts can still be felt. Thousands of civilians were killed, thousands more were left disabled, and a whole generation of orphans emerged from the conflict.

The first Ayacucho mission took place in 1995, headed by Dr. Ralph Kuon. Back then, our scope was small, but focused – to repair cleft lips and palettes of children and orphans in the area.

Twenty-four years on, we have expanded greatly, providing many services including: pediatrics, family medicine, gynecology, endocrinology, urology, psychology, cardiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, dental services, and more that I’m sure I’m forgetting. We also have year-round support for mental healthcare and diabetic patients. Our surgery services include: orthopedic surgery, reconstructive plastic surgery, general surgery. Our surgeons have even put in a pacemaker.

How are you involved?

While I was still in my undergraduate studies at the University of California, I knew that I wanted to do something in healthcare, but I didn’t know what exactly. I joined a club for pre-healthcare students and learned about different medical volunteering missions that we could participant in as students. A trip to Peru was very alluring to me, especially since I would be able to rotate with many different healthcare professionals and see what they did for patients. I was able to shadow about eight different professions on my 10 days of volunteering during my first year with Ayacucho Mission. Through the Mission, I learned about pharmacy and because of my work with them I chose to go to pharmacy school.

My first trip with PAMS Ayacucho Mission was in 2009. This past June was my tenth year of involvement with the mission. I started as a general volunteer, but this past year I had the privilege to become the Director of Pharmacy for the mission. My job was to build a pharmacy team consisting of pharmacists, techs, and translators, to decide what medications we would have on hand for the mission, and to figure out where we were going to obtain the medications. During the mission, if there was a specialty medication that a patient needed that we did not have, it was my responsibility to try my best to obtain the medication for them, either through private pharmacies, the closest hospital, the capitol city of Lima, or, in the last case scenario, by asking a late arriving volunteer to buy it in the United States to bring to us in Peru.


What is a typical day like?

The volunteers all stayed in the city of Ayacucho, the largest city in the area. We woke up around 6 am to get ready and to eat breakfast. During that time, I worked in our supply room making sure we were bringing enough medications with us for the day’s clinic.

At 7 am, we loaded up on our busses and traveled to our clinic location. We had two villages we provided services to this past year; Acos Vinchos, which was 1.5 hours away, and Ocros, which was 2 hours away.

When we arrived at each location, the patients were already lined up outside the clinic waiting to be seen. Many of these people walked for hours to be seen, so we tried our best to see everybody or send them home early so they would not wait all day if we could not help them that day. Upon arrival, the different specialties immediately split off into our respective rooms or offices.


In the pharmacy, we set up our medications for the day on the shelves. Unfortunately, we could not leave the medications there overnight as the building might be broken into. Patients were first seen by triage where their basic information was taken and they were assessed for what specialty or multiple specialties they needed to visit. The patients were then seen by the providers and the last stop was in the pharmacy with me.

In the pharmacy, we looked over what medications were prescribed. I asked questions of the providers if I had any and made sure all the medications were safe to be taken with each other. The pharmacy team then filled the prescriptions. After we dispensed the medications to the patient, we told the patient how to take the medications and sent them on their way.

If there was a medication that I did not have, we asked the patient to return the next day if I thought I could get it in Ayacucho or if I had to order it from other places.

Those patients requiring surgical interventions were recommended to go to the city of Ayacucho where our surgical team stays.

This process repeated for all the patients we could fit in the span of a day until we left around 3 pm. We left at three, because we did not want to be on the road when it was dark. We arrived home by 5 or 6 pm where the team then met to debrief and talk about how the clinic went that day; if there were any issues that came up and anything good that happened. Afterwards, the team split off for dinner and rest until the whole process started over again the next day.

How can I get involved?

Have I sparked your interest, or would you like to know more? I am happy to answer any questions you may have! You can visit me at Happy Druggist – West Jefferson from Monday to Friday, 9 am-6 pm (usually) or email me at chu.447@osu.edu.

Ayacucho Mission also has a website at www.AyacuchoMission.org if you’d like to go to the website directly.


70th Annual Miami Valley Steam Show will Feature Oliver!


The 70th Annual Meeting of the Miami Valley Steam Threshers will take place from Thursday, July 18 to Sunday, July 21 in Pastime Park in Plain City. This year, the 2019 show will feature Oliver Equipment.

As always, the Grand Parade through downtown Plain City will take place on Friday, July 19 at 6 pm. Watch for the Plain City Druggist van in the parade.

The Smokin’ Ham Band will perform Friday night at 8 pm by the pool. Find out more about them on Facebook HERE.

There will  be lawnmower pulls and truck and tractor pulls on Saturday night.

General admission is $5 at the gate. Thursday is $2 admission for senior citizens. Children 12 and under are admitted FREE with an adult. Annual membership is $20 and includes two show passes.

Gates open at 7 am Thursday through Saturday; 8 am Sunday. The show closes at 9 pm each day except Sunday when the show ends at 1 pm.

For information, visit the Miami Valley Steam Show web site HERE.

For a complete schedule, go HERE.

You can also LIKE the Miami Valley Steam Threshers on Facebook and keep up with all the latest news by going HERE.

Additionally, please visit the Plain City Lions Club booth at the Steam Show for their sausage sandwiches and bratwursts. The Lions stand is a huge charitable money maker for the Plain City Club and allows them to carry out their good deeds throughout the year. All of the money raised at the Steam Show goes back into the local community.

The Lions Club Stand is open from 6 am to 10 pm and they also serve breakfast.

Music in the Park Features the Counterpoint Acoustic Duo on July 7.


Plain City’s Music in the Park continues this week with the Counterpoint Acoustic Duo on Sunday, July 7 at 7 pm. Featuring Christopher James in a duo with accompaning guitar and vocals, this is sure to be a relaxing evening of easy listening music.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket and meet in the Gazebo area of the park. You can make a voluntary donation to the Plain City Music in the Park program at intermission.

Here is a listing of the schedule for rest of the season with two new dates added on August 4 and 18!!

August 4, Sunday, 7 pm, Dublin Cornet Band–founded in Dublin OH in 1879, this historic group performs a variety of music in the small brass band tradition, including New Orleans style, Celtic and Oktoberfest. Directed by Dr. Pat Herak, former member of the OSU Marching Band. Find out more about the band HERE.

August 11, Sunday, 7 pm, Shriners Jazz Band–enjoy dance, Big Band, and Swing music presented by the Shriners.

August 18, Sunday, 7 pm, Steve Bumgarner–local musician from Marysville who resides in Plain City.

August 25, Sunday, 7 pm, Lower London Street Dixieland Band featuring 1920’s and Dixieland music. This is our friend Ernie Sparks’ band. He is the pharmacist in London and plays the drums.

For more information, you can also visit the Village of Plain City’s web site HERE or visit the Plain City Parks and Recreation Facebook page HERE.

Welcome Our Student Pharmacist, Ray Chu, to Happy Druggist in West Jefferson for the Month of July!


This month, we are joined in the pharmacy in West Jefferson by Ray Chu, a fourth year pharmacy student from The Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy.

Ray will graduate in May 2020 and will then take the test to become a registered pharmacist. Ray will be in West Jefferson throughout July, so please stop by and meet him while he is in the store. You may have met Ray last year when he spent time in Plain City as a third year student.

Here is what Ray tells us about himself:

My name is Ray Chu. I am a fourth year pharmacy student completing my second APPE Rotation this month. I moved to Ohio from southern California for pharmacy school to escape the heat and drought and to experience a real winter. 

Growing up, I made up my mind early to go into the healthcare profession, but I had not decided a specific field. To obtain exposure to different health fields, I decided to go on several different medical mission trips abroad to South America during my undergraduate years. One of these trips was with the Peruvian American Medical Society and, as the same would suggest, I joined them on a medical mission trip to the rural Andes in Peru. My first year with them, I was a general volunteer who helped out wherever I was needed, including in the pharmacy as a technician. I enjoyed my time with them so much that I developed a passion for volunteering and returned the next year.

During my second year with the Peruvian American Medical Society, we did not have a pharmacist and since I was the only volunteer who had the most experience helping in pharmacy, I was tasked with managing the pharmacy with the help of a nurse as the clinical expert. I found that I really enjoyed pharmacy. I saw the need from the patient side as well as the health team side and saw myself doing pharmacy work as a career. That was back in 2009 and I am proud to say I have been with this mission for the past 10 years. I owe them for showing me pharmacy and I hope to give back to them as a pharmacist as long as I am able.

I am still not certain what I want to do as a pharmacist in the future. Certainly, I would like to continue to volunteer in my mission and I would also love to precept students in the future. My dream has been to one day have my own independent pharmacy and that was a major deciding factor in my choosing to have a rotation with Happy Druggist West Jefferson. Additionally, having recently had a rotation with a Chronic Care Pharmacist, I am very interested in integrating that type of pharmacy into an independent pharmacy, as well.

Besides volunteering abroad, another one of my passions is cooking. The longer and more complex the process, the more excited I am about trying out a new dish. Whenever I am asked what profession I would choose if I didn’t pick healthcare, I immediately and confidently answer that I would have opened a cafe or small restaurant. Something small enough that I could cook right in front of my customers.

I guess either way, as a chef or a pharmacist, I would be able to see and serve many people each day.

Have a Safe and Happy Fourth of July!


We want to wish everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July. Please remember that the pharmacy will be closed on Thursday to celebrate the holiday.

Don’t forget that festivities will get underway for the holiday at Pastime Park beginning at 12 pm. There will be food trucks, games, and bounce houses for the kids.

The parade through Plain City begins at 3 pm with the line up starting at 2 pm. Anyone can be in the parade. If you are interested, you can fill out a parade form by going HERE. Return the form to Ashley McKnight at amcknight@plain-city.com or to Linda Granger at lgranger@plain-city.com. You may also drop off the forms at the municipal building located at 213 S. Chillicothe Street in Plain City.

The Grand Marshal for the parade this year will be the members and coaches of the State Champion Lady Pioneers Softball Team! What a great way to honor these amazing young women and their coaches.

Live music begins at 6 pm in Pastime Park and ends with the Dublin Symphony performing patriotic music during the fireworks which begin at 9:45 pm.

For more information on the July 4th Festivities in Plain City, please visit the village web site HERE.


The Plain City Farmers Market will also return for its 9th Year beginning on July 4 and continuing through October 3. The hours for the Market are 4:30 pm to 7 pm at the corner of South Chillicothe and Main Street. For more information, visit the UPCO Site HERE.

If you have an emergency and need to reach a pharmacist over the holiday weekend, please call the after hours number at 614-873-0020.

We will reopen on Friday, July 5, at 9 am, and will be open regular hours (until 6 pm).

Please have a safe and enjoyable holiday!

Remember: Please keep your pets inside where they will not be scared by the area fireworks. More dogs get lost and escape from their owners at firework events or from backyards at this time of year than any other. The local shelters are inundated by lost pets who are scared by all the loud noises.