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Archive for the ‘PCD Staff’ Category

Please Welcome Our Student Pharmacist for August, Christine Stearns.


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

Christine will graduate in May 2020 and will then take the test to become a registered pharmacist. Christine will be with us throughout August, so please stop by and meet her while she is in the store.

Here is what Christine tells us about herself:

Hi, everyone! My name is Christine Stearns, and I am a fourth year pharmacy student at The Ohio State University. I will be completing a rotation with Meghan at Plain City Druggist during the month of August, and I am excited to get to know you all throughout my time here.

I was born and raised in Marietta, Georgia and came to Ohio after being accepted into The Ohio State University. Both sides of my family are originally from Ohio, so it felt like a natural choice since I was raised as a Buckeye!

Before I became interested in pharmacy, I started my undergraduate career at Ohio State as an engineering major. I realized after my first year that I wanted to pursue something more personal and potentially in the healthcare field.  I enjoyed the chemistry classes I was taking, but I wanted to work in a field where I could provide face-to-face care to people. Later in the year, my friend allowed me to tag along with her to an OSU pharmacy club meeting where we had the opportunity to hear directly from a consultant pharmacist. I quickly learned about the wide variety of opportunities pharmacists have in the healthcare industry, and my passion was lit from this point forward. I changed my major to pharmaceutical sciences the following week and have been pursuing this career path ever since.

Over the past six years, I have gained the majority of my experience interning in a community setting at Meijer Pharmacy in Dublin, Ohio. I began with the company as a pharmacy technician and have been there throughout my pharmacy career because I truly feel as though I make the biggest impact in this setting. My patients do not have to make any appointments to see me and have the opportunity to seek my advice on their medications and overall health. I love the ever-evolving dynamics of community pharmacy because there is always something new I can learn about, whether that is a recently approved medication, changes in PBM reimbursement legislation, or updated pharmacy laws. In the future, I hope to continue working within a community practice setting and pursue a clinical services management position.

During my free time, I enjoy sketching, reading, and listening to podcasts on current social issues! I also have a cat named KJ who is four years old and loves attention. However, my biggest passion is fitness. I started competing in NPC bodybuilding competitions in 2016 within the figure division and have made a healthy diet and lifestyle an everyday thing for me. Since then, I have competed in a total of five competitions including a national qualifier show in 2018 where I won the overall figure title and my IFBB professional status. I plan to begin training for my professional debut in 2020, and my hopes are to eventually win a professional show and participate in the Olympia (which is basically the Olympics for us bodybuilders). Health and fitness are a huge passion for me, so feel free to ask me any questions throughout the month!



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.


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.

Andris Grinvalds is Our Student Pharmacist at Happy Druggist in West Jefferson for June. Please Make Him Feel Welcome!


This month, we are joined in the pharmacy in West Jefferson by Andris Grinvalds, a fourth year pharmacy student from The Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy. We are very fortunate to have a pharmacy student at each of the three stores this month. Steve McVey is here in Plain City. Stephanie VanHouten, who we introduced you to earlier in the week, is at Karl Road. And now, we are happy to introduce Andris who will be doing his rotation with Paul and the staff in West Jefferson.

Andris will graduate in May 2020 and will then take the test to become a registered pharmacist. Andris will be in West Jefferson throughout June, so please stop by and meet him while he is in the store.

Here is what Andris tells us about himself:

Hello, my name is Andris Grinvalds and I am a fourth-year pharmacy student at The Ohio State University. I will be interning at Happy Druggist in West Jefferson with Paul Westervelt. I have had two community rotations in the past, but neither were at an independent pharmacy. So far, my first impressions of the people who work here have been great, and the community has been so welcoming. After meeting the team, I can tell it will be an enjoyable month.

I am not sure which field of pharmacy I want to pursue yet, but I am interested in hospital pharmacy, industry, and research. I am keeping an open mind while on rotations and hope to figure out where I want to end up. I currently work at The James Cancer Hospital and have been there for three years. I am planning on applying to a residency after graduation, but that may change depending on my experiences during rotations.

I first became interested in becoming a pharmacist in high school. I had a great chemistry teacher who inspired me to pursue a career related to chemistry and I wanted to combine that somehow with healthcare. I began studying chemistry at Michigan State University with the end goal being pharmacy school after graduation. In my junior year, I decided to switch my major to biosystems engineering, because I really liked math and thought engineering was a perfect combination of both math and science.

I graduated from Michigan State with a Bachelor of Science degree in biosystems engineering with a concentration in biomedical engineering and a minor in brewing, distilling, and wine making.

After I graduated, my interest in pharmacy was still there and I decided to pursue a PharmD. I had some friends in the pharmacy program at Ohio State and they only had great things to say about the program. The following Fall, I only applied to one school, Ohio State University, and have never looked back!

In my spare time, I like to brew beer, read, and am also an avid hockey fan. Being from Michigan, I am a big Detroit Red Wings fan, but after living in Columbus for three years, the Blue Jackets are becoming a close second favorite team.

As for the homebrewing, I had the idea while I was taking an elective brewing class in my engineering program. I loved it and even taught my dad to brew so we could brew together. He enjoys it as much as I do and started brewing regularly, as well. We both enjoy hoppy beers and generally only make a type of beer called IPA, which is a more bitter beer bursting with flavor. My dad and I even grow our own hops at my parent’s house in southwest Michigan where I grew up. Photos of the hops we grow can be found at the end of the posting. 

I had never worked in an independent pharmacy before this rotation, but after my first day, I could tell it would be a special month. I really like the personal atmosphere everyone at Happy Druggist has with the community. There is a great connection that I did not experience while on my previous rotations at larger chain pharmacies. I know I will learn a lot from Paul and the team and am looking forward to a great month at Happy Druggist Pharmacy!




Meet Our Student Pharmacist, Steve McVey, for the Month of June at Plain City Druggist.

This month, we are joined in the pharmacy by Steve McVey, a fourth year pharmacy student from The Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy. We are very fortunate to have a pharmacy student at each of the three stores this month. Steve is here in Plain City. Stephanie VanHouten, who we introduced you to earlier in the week, is at Karl Road. Later this week, we’ll introduce you to Andris Grinvalds, who is rotating through at Happy Druggist, West Jefferson.

Steve will graduate in May 2020 and will then take the test to become a registered pharmacist. Steve will be with us here in Plain City throughout June, so please stop by and meet him while he is in the store.

Here is what Steve tells us about himself:

My name is Steve McVey and I am a fourth year pharmacy student at The Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy and will graduate in May 2020. I am excited to be spending my June rotation at Plain City Druggist and getting to know all of you! I’m currently working as an intern for Meijer at the Sawmill Road location in Dublin and I’ve met some wonderful people from the Plain City area.

I’m originally from Salem, UT, a small town about an hour south of Salt Lake City. I grew up playing sports all through my childhood and throughout school. I played basketball, football, and ran track for Spanish Fork High school and graduated in 2008. From 2008-2010, I completed a service mission for my church in Portland, OR serving in the Latino communities.

I graduated from Brigham Young University in 2015 with a degree in Microbiology and a minor in Spanish. While at BYU, I met my sweetheart, Andrea, and we were married in 2012. We live in Columbus with our two boys and are expecting a third.

Most of my free time now is spent with my family exploring Columbus and the surrounding areas. Our boys really love visiting COSI, the zoo, and anywhere they can run around outside. When I get the chance, some of my hobbies include golfing, playing guitar, basketball (although it’s been a long, long time), reading, and fixing up our home.

I first became interested in pharmacy in high school. One of my health teachers would bring in different healthcare professionals to speak to us about their occupations. A pharmacist she invited in shared some information about pharmacy and how pharmacists can help serve people beyond the dispensing of medication. That sounded like the right career for me. I learned early on the importance and satisfaction of serving others as a Boy Scout and that passion for service has continued with me. I’ve always tried to be active in my community and for a time served as an assistant scoutmaster for a troop in Utah and also as a youth leader for young men. Some of my most fulfilling experiences have come from helping and serving others, and I hope to be able to do that here.

I’m still unsure about the what area of pharmacy I will pursue when I graduate next year, but I’ve worked in community pharmacy for about 10 years now and really enjoy it.

After graduation, we will be moving back west to be closer to family so we’ll have to see where that leads.

I’m excited to be working with Meghan, Tayler, and all the other wonderful staff here at Plain City Druggist and Midwestern Compounding Pharmacy!