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Meet Susan Merenstein

Participating Provider for Hillman Cancer Center Integrative Oncology

What jump-started your career as a pharmacist?

I took my first steps in my father's corner drugstore Drug Lane in Washington, D.C. and as a kid I ran up and down the wide planked floors to the soda fountain where I stood on an old wooden box to "serve" the customer a cold root beer float. My dad was called “Doc” and mixed up concoctions for cough/cold, aches and pains, and dished out TLC when needed. He knew all of his customers by name and their families too! As I got older I worked as a front end clerk, clean up girl, and as a pharmacy technician. I decided to go to pharmacy school at the University of Pittsburgh and graduated in 1981 to work at a small independent pharmacy where we stilled typed RX labels on a Corona typewriter! Since then, I have advanced technologically, but I will never forget my independent roots!

What training and experience do you have?

I have been a practicing pharmacist for 35 years and I became a compounding pharmacist 15 years ago. I received my Bachelor of Science degree from University of Pittsburgh and my area of study was Pharmacy. I have an active license to practice pharmacy in the state of Pennsylvania.

I have obtained more than 300 hours of continuing education in hormone balancing and compounding, holistic approaches to individual patient problems with focus on the biochemistry and interactions of thyroid, adrenals and sex steroids.

Are you a member of any professional organizations?

I am currently involved with The International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists and The Professional Compounding Centers of America as well as the National Association of Professional Women. I was chosen as the 2011-2012 VIP Business Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women for my hard work and dedication to the pharmacy profession as well as credibility in business ownership.

Do you support or give back to any organizations or your community?

I am a Participating Provider for Hillman Cancer Center Integrative Oncology and a Proud Provider of LDN (Low Dose Naltrexone) through the LDN Trust. I have been featured in Whirl magazine and Pittsburgh Pet Connection magazine, and have been involved with several events including Pittsburgh Earth Day and Greyhounds in Gettysburgh. We held an event at the Apothecary in which we raised nearly $1,000 in donations to Dreamchasers Horse Rescue & Rehabilitation for Premarin Rescue Horses. I was interviewed and featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Animal Compounding. I frequently teach community health seminars and have been an instructor for adult education classes in the OSHER program. I have also lectured about hormone balancing to physician assistant students at Chatham College. I have taught elective classes on pharmacy compounding and alternative therapies for pharmacy students at Duquesne University School of Pharmacy and University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. I am a preceptor for pharmacy students on clinical rotation for the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. I have also been a presenter at annual meetings of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists & Western Pennsylvania Dental Hygienists Association.

What inspires and motivates you?

In life, there are only challenges and opportunities. I am motivated by both! My creative inspiration comes from listening to people. My brain is always humming with ideas to help people face health challenges.

What do you like to do on your personal time, when you’re not at the Apothecary?

My hobbies and special interests are family and my new grandson, reading on my Nook, walking my adopted rescue dog, Ralph, on the beautiful trails of Pittsburgh, photography, movies, live shows, and plays.

How has owning a small business changed your life?

Opening a small business enhanced my passion for helping, educating and guiding people in their quest for health. "I love being able to help patients achieve balance, quality of life, and lasting health".