Page content

Keeping her community healthy, educated and safe

As a child growing up in Cameroon, Central Africa, Emlah Tubuo had malaria 20, maybe 30 times. She lost count.

She also had cholera and typhoid.

Because her family didn’t have much access to hospitals and doctors, Tubuo’s mother would crush up leftover medicines and give it to her to try to treat the sicknesses.

Later, her family moved closer to a hospital where health care volunteers and missionaries from North America would come to treat the sick.

She carries all of those lessons with her every day.

“I was so inspired by these people,” said Tubuo ’10, owner of Powell Pharmacy near Columbus and an assistant professor of pharmacy at Ohio State, where she serves on the Pharmacy College alumni board of governors.

“My mom had no medical background, but she took care of me. So now, with all the education and training I have from Ohio State, I am able to help other people with all my resources. It fills my heart.”

Tubuo’s passion to care for people has been on full display during the COVID-19 outbreak. She’s offered free delivery to customers, often delivering items herself. She’s donated masks to senior living facilities and sanitizers to Powell’s first responders. She’s amplified her online presence to provide educational resources. And for consultations, Tubuo and her team are regularly in contact with patients through telehealth and phone calls.

She even had breakfast sent to pharmacists at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Judging by her website's testimonials and interaction on her Facebook page, Tubuo’s attitude and actions are appreciated.

One of her customers, Ted Klecker ’95, has a son with a rare type of congenital muscular dystrophy, which makes him a higher risk for developing serious complications due to COVID-19. When he was recently searching for a pulse oximeter to measure his son’s blood oxygen level, Tubuo found an inexpensive one and had it delivered immediately.

Emlah Tubuo delivers prescriptions to a customer.

Emlah Tubuo waves at Ted Klecker '95 and his son after making a delivery recently. Tubuo has been offering free pharmacy deliveries for customers in need.

“It’s invaluable to have that type of service right now,” Klecker said. “She’s really part of the community and willing to help out whenever she can. She’s pretty special.”

Tubuo said that while appreciation makes her feel wonderful, it’s the health care providers who are now putting their best foot forward.

She uses this attitude to support her employees, many of whom are Ohio State pharmacy students. Because pharmacists are often the first line of exposure to illness, Tubuo closed her lobby in mid-March and enacted many sanitization precautions. She also regularly meets with employees and students to make sure they have all the support they need.

One of her pharmacy students takes care of a father with health issues. To give her peace of mind, Tubuo suggested she work from home, where she can do virtual consultations, research and social media posts.

“She’s done a fantastic job and this accommodation gives her peace of mind,” Tubuo said. “I try to make a workplace where everybody feels supported. You can’t take care of other people if you are not well.

“The mentality you carry through this is based on the mentality you surround yourself with. My goal is to treat everybody like family.”

Published: May 12, 2020

Ohio State student studies at her laptop

Get to know Ohio State

Discover all that Ohio State has to offer you by exploring the Columbus campus from the comfort of your home.

Experience campus now