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New Practitioner eXperience News Winter 2019

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OPA New Practitioner Experience (NPX) Launchpad

March 2019

Welcome to the NPX Launchpad

Welcome to the NPX Launchpad, the quarterly newsletter intended to help you, new practitioners, excel personally and professionally! 

Check out our featured articles:

  • Practitioner Profile featuring Lindsay Tsai
  • Professional Pearls by Michael Murphy
  • Rx Impact by Alexa Valentino
  • Money Matters by Anthony Menches
  • A Taste of Our Kitchen by Ana Simonyan
  • Ohio Days: "Life in Lima: by Brittany Long
  • Committee Liaison Reports: updates to keep you in tune with the Association

We hope you enjoy the NPX Launchpad and we invite each of you to take the next step in your professional growth by getting involved with NPX today!

Sincerely, your NPX Advisory Team,

Chair: Jen Sabatino, PharmD, BCACP
Vice-ChairDana (Bachmann) Wilkerson, PharmD, MS
Member-at-Large: Emily Eddy, R.Ph., PharmD
Member-at-Large: Lindsay Tsai, R.Ph., PharmD
Member-at-Large: Marilee Clemons, R.Ph., PharmD
Launchpad Coordinator: Lauren Castle, R.Ph., PharmD

Practitioner Profile

Lindsay Tsai, R.Ph., PharmD Lindsay Tsai

What’s your current position?
I am an assistant pharmacy leader at Kroger Pharmacy in the Columbus Division.

What year and from where did you graduate?
University of Cincinnati 2016

Tell us a little bit about your practice site.
It is a grocery store-based community pharmacy. We offer Medication Therapy Management, wellness coaching, medication synchronization, immunizations, health screenings, and healthy shopping tours.

How long have you been an OPA member? What’s been your best experience so far?
I have been a member of OPA since 2012. I love going to the OPA Annual Meeting every year to see classmates and network with pharmacists from all around Ohio!

What’s been your favorite moment of your career so far?

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Professional Pearls

By Michael Murphy, R.Ph., PharmD

The center of our ambulatory care clinic, which is one of the sites of The Ohio State University’s General Internal Medicine Clinics, feels like a beehive. Down two long hallways of rooms, pharmacists, physicians, nurses, medical assistants and students dart back and forth providing patient care. If one were to observe it from an outsider’s perspective, it might appear overwhelming. That’s exactly how I felt in my first week of residency. I knew there was some organization to this beehive, but it felt like jumping on a treadmill set to max speed. I was sure that every other resident across the country was feeling the same as I did, but I couldn’t help asking myself the question, Am I prepared to be a pharmacist?

It was at that moment, surrounded by other healthcare professionals accomplishing their work, that a medical resident asked me a question. I’d had plenty of experience answering questions from physicians as a student pharmacist. The interaction usually went something like this: a question would be asked. I would reflect on the question and, if confident, give my answer. The physician would then look to my preceptor for their nod of approval and the patient would get the care that they needed. Answering my first question as a pharmacist was different, but I didn’t realize that it would be. The medical resident asked me their question and I answered. He immediately turned on his heel and walked into the patient’s room to implement a plan based on the response I had given. I am sure that if anyone had been watching, they would have seen the color drain from my face.

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Rx Impact

By Alexa Valentino, PharmD, BCACPAlexa Sevin

When I finished my PGY2 residency in 2014, I thought I had all the tools I needed to expand pharmacy services at my practice site, a federally-qualified health center (FQHC) in Columbus, OH.  I had expanded services and created a new service during my two years of residency training, and one of the major benefits of training at a large academic institution like Ohio State is the massive network of alumni, faculty, and staff.  I was confident that if I didn’t know the answer, I would at least know where to look or could rely on my connections.  I quickly learned that my resourcefulness was only as good as the network around me.  While I had mentors to turn to, they had little to no experience with the unique challenges I was facing in creating billable services in an FQHC setting.  I worked to expand my network by actively participating in OPA, APhA, and ASHP and through some chance encounters I was able to connect with other pharmacists in similar practice settings.  Our site was also involved in a five-year demonstration project in Ohio that connected pharmacists working with FQHCs across the state.  This group became immensely helpful in troubleshooting issues we were facing and provided a place to share and celebrate our successes. 

Recognizing the value of having a group of pharmacists practicing in similar settings and facing similar challenges led me to investigate the prospect of creating a similar group on the national level.  I recruited a colleague, Susan Nguyen, who I knew was practicing in a free clinic setting, and together we created the Care of Underserved Patients Special Interest Group (SIG) within APhA’ s Academy of Pharmacy Practice and Management (APhA-APPM). 

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Money Matters

By Anthony Menches

There are a large number of books and blogs and articles that tell you what you should do with your money but they lack an explanation of why you want to save and invest your money. These writings generally use math to prove to you that what they are saying is correct. Mathematically, they are correct. Money compounds over time and that compounding effect is significant. Compounding is so significant that after a little while compounding on the money you have already saved adds up faster than any new savings you can add to it. This means that saving the first $1,000 is harder than saving the second $1,000 and saving the first $10,000 is harder than going from $10,001 to $20,000 in savings. If you can have a nice car today, then why would you forgo the new car and replace it with savings and investing? Why would you want to save that first $1,000 let alone the second? This is the quintessential question of personal finance. The answer boils down to happiness and how money can or cannot buy happiness.

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A Taste of Our Kitchen

One Bowl Pumpkin Chocolate MuffinsPumpkin Chocolate Muffin

From the Kitchen of Ana Simonyan, R.Ph., PharmD

Yield: 12 muffins    Prep Time: 15 Minutes     Cook time: 22 Minutes


Chia egg:
   2 teaspoons (4 g) ground chia seed
   3 tablespoons (45 mL) water

Wet ingredients:
   1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened pumpkin purée
   1/4 cup (60 mL) grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
   1/2 cup (80 g) coconut sugar
   1/2 cup (125 mL) pure maple syrup
   1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract

Dry ingredients:
   1 1/2 cups (150 g) gluten-free rolled oats, blended into a fine flour
   1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
   2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
   1 teaspoon baking powder
   1/2 teaspoon baking soda
   1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
   2/3 cup (120 g) non-dairy chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, divided


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
    Add the rolled oats to a high-speed blender and blend on high until a fine flour forms. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ground chia seed and water until combined. Set aside for a few minutes to thicken.
  3. To the same bowl, add the rest of the wet ingredients (pumpkin, oil, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla) and stir until smooth.
  4. Add the dry ingredients (oat flour, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Whisk until smooth (I love using my big whisk for this task!).
  5. Set aside 1/4 cup (45 g) of chocolate chips (if using) for the topping and stir the remaining chips into the batter.
  6. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each two-thirds full. Press the remaining chocolate chips into the tops of each muffin.
  7. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes (I bake for 22), until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  8. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Carefully remove each muffin and place it directly onto the cooling rack until fully cooled. Leftover muffins can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for several days or frozen for up to 1 month.

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Ohio Days

Life in Lima

By Brittany Long, R.Ph., PharmD

You may or may not be familiar with the city of Lima, which is located almost centrally between Toledo and Dayton and easily accessible from Interstate 75. I was born and raised in Lima, or “the Bean”, as you may hear it referred to by community members, and I am still happy to call it my home. Although there is a strong appeal and draw to the large, well known cities of the state, Lima has a lot to offer on its own!

Situated in the northwest part of the state, Lima is a perfect locale to find a mix of big city life and the quite of the country! You could go for a drive down backroads to enjoy the beautiful landscape and scenery of sunrises, corn fields, farms, and starry skies or head into town for a night of fun. Rest assured, you will easily be able to find a variety of entertainment option such as bowling with friends, catching a movie, or going to the popular choice of the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center to watch a musical, concert, or comedian perform.

However, before diving right in to the fun, I would recommend enjoying the fine dining and drinks available at one of the many beautiful, inviting restaurant options downtown, such as The Met, located in the historic Metropolitan Block. If you prefer “one-stop-shopping”, Old City Prime & The Upper Lounge is where you can find both entertainment, via dueling pianos or a musical group, and superb entrees and drinks.

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News & Upcoming Events

OPA Annual Conference - April 12-14, 2019

Greater Columbus Convention Center
Don’t miss the biggest opportunity of the year to learn, network, and enjoy the hospitality that only OPA and Downtown Columbus can deliver. At the OPA Annual Conference, You will experience cutting-edge CPE programming, engage with exciting exhibits, hear expert commentary on the issues you face every day and return to your practice motivated and ready to implement improved services for your patients. Be a part of the one meeting in Ohio that unifies the profession and lets you witness firsthand what's happening across the spectrum of pharmacy.

From specialized programming to exciting competitions to leadership recognition, the 2019 OPA Conference has it all. Join the excitement! Register Here.

Long-Acting Injectables Training - March 21

The live training will be held at the OPA office in Columbus, and includes sessions on implementing administration of antipsychotic medications in pharmacy practice; naltrexone administration and the required testing; and sterile preparation and administration technique for administering these medications. The administration technique session will include SC injections in the upper arm and abdomen, and IM injections in the deltoid and gluteal muscles. Completion of the home-study lessons on LAI antipsychotics and naltrexone is required before attending the live session.

Click here for more information and to register.

Immunization Training - May 23

Due to demand, another Pharmacist Training Program for Immunizations program will be held on Thursday, May 23. The program will be held at the OPA office, 2674 Federated Blvd, Columbus 43235.
Click here for more information and to register.

Pharmacists CE at SEA - 9 days in Paradise: January 23 - February 2, 2020

Enjoy an exciting learning experience while cruising the Hawaiian Islands!

Deposits and Final Payment: An initial per person deposit of $500 with the optional insurance plus the CE fees are due at time of booking to secure your reservation. The second deposit of $500 per person is due on or before February 28, 2019. Third deposit of $500 per person is due on or before June 5, 2019. The final payment is due on or before September 15, 2019.
Click here for more information.

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Mentor Program Seeking Mentors

If you are interested in becoming a mentor for new pharmacy practitioners and students, we want your involvement! Join the Ohio Pharmacists Association and New Practitioner Experience as we work towards offering mentoring opportunities in 2019. Mentees can learn from mentors’ experiences, both personal and professional, related to career paths, leadership roles, skill development, and much more. It takes just a few minutes to fill out the online application. Check out the link below!

Mentor Sign-Up Form

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NPX Committee Liaisons

Serve as a Liaison to One of OPA's Committees

NPX is recruiting new liaisons for the 2019-2020 committee year. NPX liaison responsibilities include:

  1. Be present at your committee meeting and represent/ share the new practitioner perspective.
  2. After your committee meeting, send a meeting recap (at least one paragraph) to be published in the NPX quarterly newsletter.
  3. Participate in other NPX activities by attending events and encouraging other new practitioners to join OPA NPX activities.

The complete OPA Committee listing can be found here.  If you are interested in serving on one of the OPA committees as an NPX liaison, please email NPX Chair Jen Sabatino and Lisa Berman with which committee(s) you’d be interested in serving.

All meetings are held at the OPA office, 2674 Federated Blvd, Columbus 43235 at 10:00 am unless otherwise noted. Please visit the OPA committee webpage for more information.

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Get Involved with the Launchpad Newsletter

Help us write the next newsletter!  Articles may be submitted for Practitioner Profile, Professional Pearls, Rx Impact, Ohio Days, or A Taste of Our Kitchen. Have an idea for another article relevant to new practitioners?  You can submit that as well! 

Sign up for upcoming articles at our Google Doc Here.

Articles should be submitted in a Word document to Lauren Castle at  Photographs for articles should be submitted separately for higher quality images. Thank you!

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