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New Practitioner Experience News Winter 2023

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OPA New Practitioner Experience (NPX) Committee Launchpad

Winter 2023

Welcome to the NPX Launchpad

Welcome to the Winter 2023 edition of the NPX Launchpad, the quarterly newsletter intends to help you, a new practitioner, excel personally and professionally!

Check out our featured articles:

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: Nira Kadakia, R.Ph., PharmD, BCACP
Vice-Chair: Megan (Stephan) Hull, R.Ph., PharmD, BCACP
Member-at-Large: Morgan Behan, R.Ph., PharmD, BCACP
Member-at-Large:  Kay Hoopes, R.Ph., PharmD
Member-at-Large: Korie Maryo, R.Ph., PharmD
Launchpad Coordinator: Rebecca Lahrman, R.Ph., PharmD, MS, BCACP

Medication Access

By Julia Thompson, PharmD Candidate 2023, The Ohio State University

No matter what area of pharmacy you are currently practicing in, you have likely run into an issue with medication access and affordability. In 2021, the US spent $576.9 billion dollars in pharmaceuticals, and forecasts for 2022 say that the number will grow by up to 9%. This cost is often passed on to the consumer, where, regardless of the type of insurance a patient has, patients often have to make tough decisions around whether they will pick up their medicine, or pay the electricity bill.

As pharmacists, we know that medication adherence improves patient outcomes, and many studies have shown that reducing the cost barrier improves both adherence and outcomes for patients with diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. But the question remains, how do I make sure patients are able to afford the medications they need? In this article, we will review resources that both pharmacists and patients can use to help access their medications.

340B programs:

340B programs is the US government’s current approach to the medication affordability crisis. This program allows eligible organizations to purchase 340B discounted drugs, and they can then pass the savings on to the patient. Covered entities include Federally Qualified Health Centers, Ryan White HIV/AIDS program grantees, Hospitals, and specialized clinics. As long as a patient is a patient of the covered entity, they can receive 340B drugs. If you know your patient is receiving medications from a covered entity, you may want to have them contact the 340B pharmacy directly to see if they can dispense the prescription at an affordable cost for the patient.

Manufacturer Assistance Programs:

Many drug manufacturers offer an assistance program of some type for their brand name drugs. Often, patients need to fill out paperwork proving their income, and then the patient’s provider will fill out a section to get the drug delivered directly to the patient.  has a repository of these programs, and has information on how a patient would qualify for free or reduced cost medications.

Non-profit pharmacies:

In the state of Ohio, there are many pharmacies that distribute medications at a free or reduced cost, based on different qualification criteria, such as income and residence. The following areas are served by these non-profit pharmacies:

●      Statewide:

○      Prescription Assistance Program of Ohio

●      Central Ohio:

○      Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio

●      Northeast Ohio:

○      Beacon Pharmacy

●      Southeast Ohio:

○      Hope Clinic of Ross County

○      Rising Suns Non-Profit Pharmacy

●      Southwest Ohio:

○      Community First Pharmacy

○      St. Vincent de Paul-Cincinnati Charitable Pharmacy

Other options:

Many non-profits, such as National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), also have options to help cover the cost of medications, and other expenses for rare (and/or debilitating) conditions, membership in a certain group (i.e. LGBTQIA+ identity, military veteran, child, or race), or a combination of those two factors. also has a repository of those applications. The Neighborhood Navigator from the American Academy of Family Physicians also has great resources for other charities, specific to the patient’s zip code, that can provide financial assistance for many needs, including medications and medical supplies.

Early Committing to a PGY-2 Residency Program: Making Sure it is the Right Fit

By Derek Greear, R.Ph., PharmD

Throughout my tenure as a pharmacy student, I knew I had an interest in Psychiatric Pharmacy. Prior to my PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency training, I had a goal to obtain a PGY-2 Psychiatric Pharmacy residency. Knowing this while researching residency programs allowed me to pursue PGY-1 Pharmacy Residencies that would provide an opportunity to gain more exposure in this field. Naturally, there are some important questions to ask yourself both while researching PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency Programs, and while in the first year of residency.

1)  Do you have any specific specialty interests?

a.   If yes, knowing this while researching your PGY-1 residency program will allow you to select a program to provide the most beneficial year to succeed in a PGY-2 Program. This could include a year tailored to your current interests.

b.   If no, a broader PGY-1 residency program may be more beneficial to allow you to discover your biggest interests and keep your options available.

2)  What is important to you in a PGY-1 Program?

a.   Rotations offered: Too many experiences in a specific field PGY-1 year may prevent exposure to holistic care that might be valuable throughout your career. It is important to make sure you are not specializing in your first and second year! A well rounded year balanced with any specialty interests is ideal. This includes an adequate orientation and beneficial staffing rotation. If you are interested in obtaining a teaching certificate, it is important to ensure the programs you are applying to offer this.

b.   Option to early commit: Residency applications and interviews can be time consuming and extensive, and while I would not solely early commit somewhere just to avoid this process, it can certainly be beneficial if you are positive you want to. If this option is not available, a good question to ask is how many past residents went on to complete PGY-2 residencies. This will allow you to assess how they prepared previous residents for additional training.

c.   Previous encounters with this program: Personal interactions with a program will give you the best feeling if you would benefit from spending a year there. If you do not have any personal experiences with a site, it is entirely appropriate to ask your mentor(s) if they have any knowledge about the program.

3)  Do you want to early commit?

a.   Have you enjoyed your first year of residency there: Residency is going to be a very busy year, but this does not mean it should be unenjoyable. A good program will give you opportunities to continue to grow throughout the year, while hopefully supporting work-life balance.

b.   Do your interests align with the PGY-2: It is normal for interests to change during residency, and you do not need to go into a first year thinking you are 100% going to try and commit early.

You only have a maximum of two years of residency training, so it is important to ensure you are taking full advantage of these years. A PGY-2 training is not for everyone, so it is important to confirm this is something you are truly interested in prior to early committing. Finding a program that offers the experiences you want and also matches your personality will give you the best odds for a productive residency training. I personally knew my interest in psychiatric pharmacy, and had positive interactions with my PGY-1 program throughout the residency match process. I reassured my thoughts on the program with numerous mentors, and have been a part of a great year of training so far. All of this combined with positive interactions with all of my preceptors confirmed my desire to early commit.

An ASHP Midyear Reflection

By Ryan Bond, R.Ph., PharmD

As someone who had not previously attended the annual ASHP Pharmacy Midyear Conference whether in-person or virtual, I was not sure what to expect outside of the stories I had heard from colleagues. After soaking in the initial shock and awe of Las Vegas and its extravagant displays of lights and entertainment, I quickly noticed just how large scale the Midyear conference can be. It felt as if the hotel we stayed in was nearly entirely occupied by fellow healthcare workers. Attendees were not just limited to students and practicing pharmacists, but also research scientists, physicians, nurse practitioners, and many other fields all coming together to share ideas and updates to current practices. It was inspiring to be surrounded by other professionals in my field, and there was a palpable excitement in the air throughout the experience that motivated me to be engaged and learn as much as I could.

Going into Midyear, I found it helpful to have an idea of the daily schedule and the continuing education (CE) presentations I was most interested in attending. All of this information was provided well in advance on the ASHP website, and it assisted me in forming a schedule for each day. I highly recommend exploring CE courses that align with your personal or professional interests, while also taking the opportunity to try out new areas you may not have previously considered. For me, I most enjoyed presentations related to Psychiatry or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, but I was also thoroughly intrigued by a manufacturer-sponsored presentation that dove deep into the clinical trials for the approval of a new medication to treat bipolar I disorder. As a heads up, some of the more promotional presentations like the latter do not count as CE, which is something I learned at the conference.

Aside from a plethora of healthcare CE topics to dive into, I also recommend using Midyear as an opportunity to network. Whether it was past professors, classmates, or preceptors, catching up and reconnecting with pharmacy colleagues was one of the biggest highlights of the experience. Learning that fellow colleagues are pursuing similar interests as you provides a great opportunity to exchange resources or ideas to take with you going forward into your careers. In addition, the time spent presenting my research poster was not only an excellent resume booster, but also proved to be a valuable networking opportunity. I was able to exchange contact information with fellow pharmacists from around the country who were interested in the topic, many of whom have since offered their mentorship and assistance as I continue in my research. Midyear also allows you to engage with prospective residents, and chat about how their interests may align with your own program. I appreciated getting to meet students face-to-face at the residency recruitment event, and share all of the exciting opportunities our residency program has to offer.

As you step into the Midyear conference, try and soak up as much of the experience as you can and make the most of your time at the event. It truly is an excellent chance to discover new pharmacy interests and connect with others in your field. Research in advance what CE presentations you are most interested in attending and build your daily schedules around these, while also trying to find moments to explore the city and bond with your program director, co-residents, or fellow pharmacy colleagues. Go into the experience with an open mindset and do not be afraid to ask as many questions as you need. Also, I cannot stress this enough… wear comfortable shoes! It is more than likely that you will be doing a lot of walking and you will thank yourself later for treating your feet with kindness.

A Taste of Our Kitchen

Cincinnati Chili Recipe 
By Megan Kerth, PharmD Candidate 2023, OPA APPE Student


  • 2 lbs. Extra Lean Ground Beef
  • 30 oz. Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Packet of Cincinnati Chili Seasoning
    • Typically found in seasoning section at grocery stores
  • 2 Teaspoons of Chili Powder
  • 2 Cups Water (can add more/less water depending on how thick you want the consistency.)
  • Spaghetti (optional)
  • Chili Beans (optional)
  • Minced Yellow Onion (optional)
  • Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese (optional)
  • Oyster Crackers (optional)


  1. Cook ground beef and remove grease.
  2. Transfer ground beef to a large stovetop pot or slow cooker and combine with tomato sauce, Cincinnati chili seasoning, chili powder, and water.
  3. Stir. If cooking on stovetop, bring chili to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 3 hours, while stirring occasionally. If cooking in a slow cooker, cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. 
  4. Serve chili plain or over spaghetti with crackers, or onions, or beans, or cheese! (Oh my!)

News & Upcoming Events

Register Now for the 2023 OPA Annual Conference & Trade Show

OPA Annual Conference Brochure

OPA's 145th Annual Conference & Trade Show is coming to Columbus, April 14 - 16, 2023. The 2023 OPA Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio on April 14-16 will offer pharmacists the opportunity to earn up to 12 hours of live continuing pharmacy education (CPE) credit and additional hours of home-study CPE credit for full-conference registrants from on-demand CPE activities. This Conference will challenge you to reimagine pharmacy, by sharing best practices, innovative ideas, and updates on clinical practice guidelines to incorporate into your practice.

Can't attend in Columbus? More than 30 hours of select CPE programming will be available in a home-study, on-demand format from April 21 through June 30, 2023. On-Demand access is only available to full-conference registrants.

Get Involved with the Launchpad Newsletter

Help contribute to the next Launchpad newsletter! Articles may be submitted for Pharmacy Trivia, Rx Impact, Financial Future, A Taste of Our Kitchen, and Ohio Days. Have an idea for another article relevant to students and new practitioners? You can submit that as well!

Sign up for upcoming articles HERE.

Articles should be submitted in a Word document to Rebecca Lahrman at Photographs for articles should be submitted as attachments for higher quality reproduction. Thank you!

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