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A twist of fate

Cecilia Robaina and Erin Nowak photo

Cecilia Robaina might have carved out a nice little career in ice cream. She was 16 years old, living in South Florida, looking for a job any job that might bring her gas money. Her first stop could have been a Baskin-Robbins. Instead, fate played its hand.

There was a CVS on the corner. The pharmacist there needed someone who could help translate for patients picking up their prescriptions. Cecilia was fluent in Spanish.

She started simply by lending a hand behind the counter . . . and right away got hooked on helping people.

Erin Nowak grew up always thinking about going to medical school; her mom worked in a hospital in the Midwest. But one day Erin had the opportunity to job-shadow a pharmacist working in the hospital pharmacy . . . and right away got hooked on the obvious impact that pharmacists have on the lives of individual patients.

Today, these two young women at the outset of their careers are members of Moda's innovative Residency Program for pharmacists. Being an Rx resident at Moda is a bit like being a medical resident in a hospital setting; Cecilia and Erin get to try their hands at doing a little bit of everything.

Since they graduated from college back in May and came west looking for a place to make a difference, they have learned about our world of prior authorizations and formulary management. Up next, they head to Ardon for a crash course in specialty pharmacy.

The great advantage of this opportunity at Moda, they say, is not just that we afford them distinctly wide-ranging training but also that they feel the immediate reward of working on broad-based population health.

Speaking of which . . . they can't believe some of you still have not bothered to get your flu shot. You do know that's a really good idea, right?

As for the experience of working on the payer side of the pharmacy market, Cecilia and Erin say what they like best (so far) is that feeling of "always being one step ahead of the game, already knowing what new medications are coming to market."

As for the challenge of learning to live in Oregon, they confess they have indeed been just a bit surprised to see that it hardly ever rains here.

Spoiler alert . . . we suggested they not sell their Columbia rain jackets just yet.

Taking advantage of our glorious fall, Erin has taken to kayaking the Pacific Northwest. And Cecilia has taken up snow shoeing, a skill she had little opportunity to develop in South Florida.

And as for a career as a Moda pharmacist . . . well, let's just say it's a bit cooler than asking people whether they want one scoop or two.

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We have exciting news to share. ODS is changing its name to Moda Health.

Moda comes from the latin term "modus" and means "a way". We picked it because that's what we are here to do: help our communities find a way to better health.

Together, we can be more, be better.

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