by Sheila Julson
As an educator and registered pharmacy technician, Shonara Awad emphasizes the power of knowledge. Upon moving to Oklahoma, with the support of her family, she created Life Pharmacy, a people-centered business, in Edmond, with a mission to educate and inform customers about their medication regimens and alternative options.
Awad always held a strong interest in health and science, and she took many biology and chemistry courses while in high school. She earned a bachelor’s degree in science from Rutgers University, in New Jersey. During her time at Rutgers, Awad worked as a pharmacy technician. She loved interacting with her customers and took great satisfaction in helping them. The work inspired her to want to become a pharmacist.
After her divorce, she was left to raise her child on her own. This put her career plans on hold. Awad recognized a career in education would allow her to both inspire the next generation and raise her daughter. For 15 years, she taught biology at Piscataway Township High School. She also served as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University and Kean University. During her career as an educator, Awad continued her own schooling and earned a master’s degree in education from St. Peter’s University.
In 2012, Awad remarried and moved to Oklahoma with her husband. After settling down in her new environment, she was encouraged by her family to once again enter the healthcare world. Last November, with the assistance of her family, Awad opened Life Pharmacy.
“We emphasize great service,” Awad says. “Unlike other pharmacies that encourage a rush–them–in–and–out customer service, we emphasize taking time to get to know each customer. This form of heart-to-heart communication is what sets us apart from other pharmacies.”
Life Pharmacy is both a traditional community pharmacy and compounding pharmacy. It is the preferred pharmacy of Uptown Grocery Co, in Edmond. It accepts most major insurance plans and fills prescriptions within a fraction of the time of its competitors. Life Pharmacy provides free local delivery of prescriptions. If a customer requests an item the pharmacy does not carry, someone there will gladly attempt to order it for him/her.
Awad emphasizes that her staff helps customers manage their medications and understand the side effects and possible consequences of what they’re taking. “I want to work with my customers so they realize why they’re taking these medications and help shift them toward a healthy lifestyle so they can eventually reduce the amount of medication they are on,” she says. “Our staff makes the time to work with our customers and their medication regimens.”
As part of its mission to educate, Life Pharmacy offers classes in aromatherapy and nutrition. Awad hopes to expand class offerings as the pharmacy grows. It sells a variety of high–quality vitamins and supplements, Young Living essential oils and diffusors, cards and gifts.
Life Pharmacy carries an array of nutritional supplements designed for children, such as vitamin drops that can be added to juice and probiotics that are naturally flavored to appeal to kids. Awad notes that parents can set healthy examples for their children and teach them to make positive nutritional choices.
Awad says that Life Pharmacy attempts to meet all of its customers’ needs, from difficulty swallowing to dietary restrictions. Recently, certified kosher gummy bear vitamins were added to its inventory.
Despite all the challenges of opening a pharmacy, Awad is encouraged by its success. “Our customers keep coming back,” she says happily. “I consider that success because people are pleased with our service.”
Life Pharmacy is located at 1260 W. Covell Rd., Ste. 124, Edmond. For more information, call 405-562-4242 or visit YourLifePharmacy.com.
Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.