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Archive for the ‘PCD Staff’ Category

Meet Our Student Pharmacist, Alexander Schlater, for the Month of October at Happy Druggist in West Jefferson.


This month at Happy Druggist in West Jefferson, Paul and the gang are joined by Alexander Schlater, a fourth year pharmacy student from The Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy.

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

Here is what Alex tells us about himself:

Hi. I am Alex Schlater, a fourth-year pharmacy student at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio and attended Wright State University where I did my undergraduate studies in Chemistry and Psychology.

At Wright State, I cycled through what now seems like an inordinate number of career paths including education, biochemistry, neuroscience, and psycholinguistics. I began considering pharmacy for the same reasons as these other fields of study; a science heavy field focusing on how the human body is affected in different scenarios.

What set pharmacy apart was the real-life applicability of the field. Being a pharmacist was something you did, rather than something you studied and wrote about.

From there, I got a job as a pharmacy technician. I fell in love with the fast-paced environment and need for critical thinking that keeps you active and engaged throughout the work day. I have not looked back.

It was reassuring finally having a set path to follow.

Once in pharmacy school, however, I discovered that my path was not as set as I had thought. I was going to be a pharmacist, sure, but who knew how many different kinds of pharmacists there were?

Again, I began picturing myself in all of these different settings to see what fit. And while nuclear pharmacist would be an impressive way to introduce one’s self, what I have learned along the way is that I want to work with patients, be it in a traditional community pharmacy setting or the new one-on-one opportunities available to pharmacists. For now, I will keep an open mind and see where my journey takes me.

Outside of pharmacy, my interests include music, travel, and food. I play guitar and love recording music. I hope to get a self-produced album done within the next year. My biggest musical influence is Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, whose songs made up nearly all of my early musical education. I have also learned a lot from the works of Eric Johnson, Jon Schaffer, and Randy Rhoads.

As I said, I love to travel, whether that be to China or just a few states over. While abroad, I enjoy seeing the changes in the mundane. For instance, if you bump into somebody do they say some equivalent of “excuse me” or ignore it; do you hand money over or set it on the counter? Those kinds of things enthrall me.

I also love hiking in different regions of the world, as it lets you experience the differences down to an environmental level; what kind of trees you pass by, how steep the path is, and how rough the soil is.

And of course, I love experiencing different cuisines. While some might go queasy at the sight of a bizarre dish, I jump at the chance to try something new and unique.

Life is a collection of experiences and I plan to make the most of my time.

Tai Chi. By Our September Student Pharmacist, Barry Shen.

What is Tai Chi

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art style focusing on the health of the mind and body. It is composed of a series of slow dance movements that integrate musculoskeletal, breathing, and meditation training.  While originally made for self-defense, research has shown various health benefits for those with conditions such as hypertension, neuromuscular injuries, anxiety, depression, and much more who practice it as a form of physical activity. There are many different forms of Tai Chi.

History of Tai Chi

The origin of Tai Chi can be traced back 300 to 700 years ago in China and was originally developed as a form of self-defense. It was believed to have come from the village of Chengiagou in Wenxian County, Henan province, during the late Ming Dynasty to early Qing Dynasty.

The first known practitioner of Tai Chi recorded in history is Chen Wangting. Being considered the original practitioner of the art, one of the five forms was named after him, the Chen Style.

Over time, Tai Chi evolved into five separate styles: Chen, Yang, Wu-Hao, Wu, and Sun.

The Five Styles of Tai Chi

Chen– The oldest known style as well as the origin of all other forms developed in the late 1500s. Chen is characterized primarily by alternating slow and fast movements. While there are health benefits, this form is considered the most combat applicable with high physical demands.

Yang– This style is the second oldest form and the most commonly practiced in the world. Most schools of Tai Chi will often teach this form to anyone interested in its health benefits.

Wu Hao– The most rarely practiced form even in China. It is distinguished by smaller movements with an emphasis on balance, sensitivity, and chi development.

Wu– The second most popular form practiced in the world. Its training focuses on grappling, hooks, and throws. Beginners interested in the combat applications of Tai Chi will learn this form from instructors.

Sun– The youngest of the five forms of Tai Chi, it is known for its smooth movements and being the least physically demanding. It is favored among the elderly and it is also influenced by various other Chinese martial arts.

Benefits of Tai Chi

Some benefits of Tai Chi include:

  • improved mood
  • aerobic capacity
  • stamina
  • flexibility
  • balance
  • strength

There are also increasing studies on Tai Chi’s effects on high blood pressure which is a major public health issue as well as a risk indicator for future cardiovascular disease. One of the best methods of controlling high blood pressure is increased physical activity. Tai Chi can be beneficial for blood pressure lowering especially for those who are unable to perform other more vigorous physical activities such as running due to injury or age.

A study done in 2013 followed 40 elderly patients with blood pressures over 140/80 the course of 12 weeks. The Tai Chi group was shown to have a significant decrease in blood pressure compared to the group who was told to not exercise which demonstrates Tai Chi’s blood pressure lowering capabilities.

Another larger study following 246 elderly patients compared blood pressure lowering capabilities of Tai Chi to brisk walking. The results showed that Tai Chi was able to significantly lower blood pressure (13.33) more than the brisk walking group (3.37).

What do I need to know before starting

Because of its minimal strain on muscles, the movements of Tai Chi are relatively safe for most patients of all ages. All patients should check with their doctor before starting Tai Chi if they have arthritis, back pain, severe osteoporosis, broken bones, lung conditions, or are pregnant.

Tai Chi in Columbus and the surrounding area:

Taoist Tai Chi Society

Jerome United Methodist Church

10531 Jerome Road

Plain City, OH 43064



Master Mollica’s Kung Fu & Tai Chi

10 Oakland Park Avenue

Columbus, OH 43214



Chen Taiji of Ohio

240 W Oakland Avenue

Columbus, OH 43201



Tai Chi Dublin

4929 Donegal Cliffs Drive

Dublin, OH 43017




Chan, A. W. K., Chair, S. Y., Lee, D. T. F., Leung, D. Y. P., Sit, J. W. H., Cheng, H. Y., & Taylor-Piliae, R. E. (2018). Tai Chi exercise is more effective than brisk walking in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors among adults with hypertension: A randomised controlled trial. International Journal of Nursing Studies88, 44–52. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2018.08.009

Pan, x., zhang, y., & tao, s. (2014). effects of tai chi exercise on blood pressure and plasma levels of nitric oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide in real-world patients with essential hypertension. clinical and experimental hypertension, 37(1), 8-14. doi:10.3109/10641963.2014.881838

Szymanski, Jarek. “The Origins and Development of Taijiquan (tr. from “Chen Family Taijiquan – Ancient and Present” published by CPPCC (the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) Culture and History Committee of Wen County, 1992)”. Retrieved 16 June 2011.

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Please Welcome Our Student Pharmacist for September, Barry Shen.

IMG_0588This month, we are joined in the pharmacy by Barry Shen, a fourth year pharmacy student from The Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy.

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

Here is what Barry tells us about himself:

Hello everyone! I am a fourth year pharmacy student from The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy on APPE rotations coming in to work with Meghan.

I was born and raised in Cincinnati. Pharmacy has been a profession I have been interested in since high school. My main interest lies in community pharmacy with disease states involving blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, COPD, and mental health. 

My first ever pharmacy experience was in undergrad when I started volunteering at the Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio. While there, I was able to witness the impact pharmacists have on patients in managing their medications to provide them with the best lifestyle possible for their situations.

From there, what started as a mild interest became a burning passion as I worked to become a pharmacist for the next eight years.

Some of my other past pharmacy experiences include working as a pharmacy technician in Kroger in undergrad which served as one of my primary retail experiences. During my time at Kroger, I learned valuable customer service skills that helped me gain the technical skills needed in a retail pharmacy setting such as entering prescriptions and patient profiles along with insurance information management. 

During pharmacy school, I worked for the Medication Management Program at The Ohio State University where I counseled patients daily over the phone about their medication list. Working at the Medication Management Program allowed me to develop patient care skills such as documenting important information about their medications and the rationale behind them. It also taught me how to spot common drug interactions.  

Some notable past rotations include being at the Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio and Logan County Community Health and Wellness. While at the Charitable Pharmacy I further developed my patient counseling skills from the Medication Management Program. The main patient population I encountered was the underserved. Counseling the underserved has provided me with a perspective on what patients go through if they cannot afford their medications. It was a much different experience counseling patients face to face compared to speaking with them over the phone.

During my time at Logan County Community Health and Wellness, I was able to not only counsel patients, but also look into pharmacogenetics. The main patient population is rural where there is no major hospital in the area. Compared to other rotations there was more smoking cessation, COPD, and mental health counseling I was given the opportunity to pursue. While at the clinic, I was able to see the potential pharmacogenomics play in selecting certain medications for patients especially in regards to drugs like SSRIs used for mental health and depression.   

Hobbies that I enjoy participating in outside of my profession include playing tennis, working out, trying out new restaurants, doing trivia, and reading up on the latest technology news involving companies such as Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft. It is amazing how just ten years ago having a flip phone was considered cool; now we have the power of the internet at literally the tip of our fingers.

My current favorite tennis player is Roger Federer.

My favorite spots to hang out at are local coffee shops. My goal while I am in Columbus is to complete the coffee trail to find the best coffee beans available.   



Meet Our New Pharmacy Intern, Amber Lee.


We have a new pharmacy intern working in the pharmacy with us.

Amber Lee is in her second year of pharmacy school at Ohio State. You will most often find her at the store on Saturdays or days throughout the week when she is not in class.

We try to keep our pharmacy interns with us throughout their time in pharmacy school until they graduate, so we are sure you will be seeing more of Amber over the coming years. Please make her feel very welcome.

Here is what Amber tells us about herself:

My name is Amber Lee and I am currently a second year pharmacy student at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy and will graduate in May 2022. I have lived in the Columbus area my whole life and I grew up in Dublin where I attended Dublin Coffman High School and graduated in 2014.

After high school, I decided to stay in Columbus and attend The Ohio State University where I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences degree in May of 2018. I had such a great undergrad experience at The Ohio State University that I decided to stay an extra four years to pursue my PharmD.

I was interested in pursuing pharmacy ever since I was in middle school, but wasn’t really sure about it until I got to shadow a pharmacist at the hospital I volunteered at my senior year of high school. I saw what a big impact a pharmacist can make in a patient’s life and found it very rewarding. Ever since then, I knew pharmacy was right for me. I’m not quite sure where I want to end up in the pharmacy field, but I love working in the retail setting at Plain City Druggist so far.

Outside of pharmacy I love staying active and love running and playing sports, especially tennis. Tennis has always been a huge part of my life growing up and I played competitively for about eight years. Although I do not play competitively anymore, I still enjoy playing with my friends and family for fun. 


The Sport of Bodybuilding. By Our Student Pharmacist, Christine Stearns, Who is also a Bodybuilder.

I had a few questions about my bodybuilding competitions from my biography blog post, so I wanted to provide some background on the sport including nutrition and training!

When most people think of bodybuilding, they think of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but there are many that came before him. Bodybuilding originated from Europe in the early 1900s and increased in popularity in the US during the 1960s when more hardcore training gyms were established, such as Muscle Beach in Santa Monica.

In 1981, Jim Manion established the National Physique Committee, the NPC, which has been the most successful bodybuilding league to date, and is also the amateur league to the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness, IFBB, or the pro leagues for bodybuilding. Since then, the sport has grown tremendously on both a national and international scale, and more divisions have been established to meet the needs of every type of athlete.

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As mentioned, there are several different male and female divisions within the sport, and they all differ in size, shape, muscle density, and posing.

  • Bikini (the most popular female division) attracts a smaller/more attainable look, similar to what you see in a Sports Illustrated magazine or on a Victoria’s Secret runway. These females are lean, but should have no muscle striations. The focus for a bikini competitor is full glutes, hamstring tie-ins, nice shoulder caps, a small waist, and stage presence.
  • Figure (my division of choice) requires more muscle density and separation than bikini. This is a more athletic look because these competitors are leaner and may have some muscle striations. In the figure division, the focus is on back width (a nice V taper), round shoulder caps, hamstring tie-ins, and quad separation.
  • Fitness is similar to the figure division, except these competitors are required to perform a gymnastics routine (which is the majority of the scoring). During these routines, they are judged on technique, flexibility, and tumbling skills. Fitness competitors are also required to do a posing round, but are typically smaller and contain less muscle than figure.
  • Women’s physique is a more muscular, leaner division than figure, fitness, or bikini. These competitors have denser muscle bellies and more striations than the other divisions. Women’s physique competitors also have a posing routine to music that they create on their own.
  • The women’s bodybuilding division is the most muscular and leanest of all the female divisions. At one point, women’s bodybuilding was the most prevalent female division in the sport but has slowly declined because of the presence of more attainable physiques in other divisions.
  • Men’s physique is the most popular male division in the sport currently. These are the competitors that wear board shorts and have a male model look. These competitors must come in pretty lean at the professional level, and judging is focused on back width/density, capped shoulders, abs, and a small waist. These competitors are not judged on their lower body.
  • Men’s classic physique has only been around for a few years but is quickly growing. These competitors have more of an “Arnold” look that focuses on classic poses from the 1980s. These competitors wear black trunks and come in leaner and more muscular than men’s physique. The judging is primarily focused on shape, lines, quad separation, and hamstrings. This class does have weight thresholds based on the competitor’s height.
  • 212 bodybuilding is when we start seeing the bigger guys. 212 competitors have more muscle, are just as lean as classic physique (if not leaner), and must weigh in at 212 pounds or less to be eligible to compete. This is why these competitors tend to be shorter.
  • Open bodybuilding has no weight limit, as these are the huge competitors that you see on posters and magazines. This is the extreme of bodybuilding and what most spectators want to see. Open bodybuilders have the most muscle and are the leanest of all the divisions.

In addition to different competitor classes, there are also different levels of competition within the sport. There are local and regional shows, which are typically smaller and cater to first time and amateur competitors. These shows can also be used as a warm up show for more seasoned competitors for bigger shows later in the season.

Then there are national shows where professional status can be earned, depending on your placing. This is where you transition from an amateur to a professional competitor. From that point forward, you would compete in the IFBB for monetary prizes. The winners of IFBB shows qualify for the Olympia, which is basically the Olympics for the sport. It is the biggest and most respected show for the bodybuilding community with the biggest prize money (over one million dollars spread over the winners of each class).

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A major component of preparing for a competition is training.

Weight training is essential in the sport. Bodybuilding is not powerlifting, so the goal is not necessarily to lift the maximum amount of weight, but to really contract and stretch the muscle in order to build lacking areas (but heavy weights are incorporated, especially in the off-season). Training style and rep schemes will vary among each competitor, but typically a few compound movements and some isolation movements are incorporated into a daily workout.

Cardio is another component to pre-contest. As the date for a show draws closer, cardio typically increases to get rid of any extra body fat. There are two major types of cardio: LISS and HIT.

LISS, or low intensity steady state, is a type of cardio that is typically performed at a constant speed, such as incline walking or on the elliptical. These sessions are typically longer in duration, but easier for the body to recover from.

HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is cardio involving short intervals of high intensity to rapidly increase the heart rate and then a longer resting period. The recovery is longer for workouts like this, so LISS is performed more often in pre-contest.

The most important component of pre-contest is the diet. The majority of a competitor’s diet will consist of clean foods:

  • Lean meats: white fish, chicken, turkey
  • Quality fats: oils, almonds, nut butters, avocados
  • Carbs/veggies: rice, potatoes, oatmeal, rice cakes

Most competitors will severely limit dairy products and foods high in sugar (even fruit). At a certain point in competition prep, in order to lose those last few pounds of fat, most competitors significantly reduce their carb intake and transition to a version of the keto diet. Unlike a true keto diet that is used for certain medical conditions (which is 70% fats, 25% protein and 5% carbs), most competitors will have low carb, high protein, and moderate fat intake in order to maintain as much muscle as possible, but keep low blood sugar levels in order to burn more body fat.

Because of the high amount of cardio and intense training regimen, competitors make it a point to stay hydrated. Most competitors drink one to two gallons per day, which is why you may see many of us carrying around gallon jugs everywhere. Water also helps suppress your appetite, which is important when one is extreme dieting.

Supplements are not necessary, but are useful for workouts and to insure the body is getting enough nutrients during the dieting phase. These could include pre workouts, BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), glutamine and vitamins. Protein powder is also a viable option. There are several different types of protein powder including:

  • Isolate: highly filtered, less carbs and fats, little to no lactose (so better for those who are intolerant), more expensive
  • Whey: contains a little more carbs and fats than an isolate. Lactose is not removed through the process, so less ideal for those with dairy intolerances.
  • Casein: digested slower than whey protein, but not as appetizing

Posing is one of the most important aspects of our sport. You can do all this hard work dieting down and training to get ready for the show, yet ruin your package by lack of proper posing. This is why it is crucial to practice your posing routine far in advance to the show. This way, it becomes second nature on stage (even when you are nervous). Different divisions have different mandatory poses, but the goal is muscle flexion that flatters your physique and stays away from poses that do not compliment your physique. Most of the female divisions wear heels while on stage, so it is important to feel comfortable walking in them prior to the show.

The last component is stage presence. Competitions are treated almost like a muscle pageant. Your whole package will be judged, so your hair, nails, makeup, jewelry, and suit choice can make or break you (especially in the female divisions like bikini). An ill-fitting suit that does not sit correctly on your hips can throw off your physique, so most suits and trunks are custom made.

Another requirement for the stage is the tan. All competitors are required to have a tan to get on stage, so it is crucial that your tan be even and dark enough for your skin tone. The physique of the competitor is judged first, but if it is a close competition, these factors can mean the difference between first and second place.

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