Over the past 10 years, Elk County native Aaron Dush has been involved in the field of anticoagulation medicine, also known as blood thinners. It is within the past three years Dush was recruited to begin his own practice from the ground up at The James Cancer Hospital at The Ohio State University, where he works as a Clinical Pharmacist Specialist in Anticoagulation.
"When I took the position at Ohio State, they did not have an anticoagulation clinic associated with the cancer hospital. It is now a successful and critical part of Ohio State University's health care system," Dush said. "Patients with cancer are very critical patients. In my position, I have also learned they are the most appreciative patients. They have a will and drive that is immeasurable."
As a Board Certified Anticoagulation Care Provider, Dush manages the outpatient anticoagulation clinic, set up similar to a physician’s office.
Patients taking anticoagulants such as Coumadin or heparin are referred to Dush to manage their therapy, during which time he meets face-to face with each patient.
"I manage their medication based on lab values, other medications they are on, their lifestyle, other health issues they may be having, etc. Being at a large teaching medical center and university also allows me to participate in ongoing research and education," Dush said.
He explained that each patient is unique and presents their own challenges.
"I am managing medication with many potentially serious adverse effects," Dush noted. "Many of my patients are also receiving chemotherapy to battle their cancer on top of all of this. I have to fully understand each patient to provide the best and safest care possible.
"I love my patients. I have developed a relationship with each one. That is critical to their care. If they are comfortable with me and understand and trust what I am telling them, the care I provide is much more beneficial to them," he said.
Following graduation from Elk County Christian High School in 1994, Dush earned a Doctorate of Pharmacy from Duquesne University in 2000.
He currently residents in Columbus, Ohio. H with his wife Claire Kamp Dush and the couple's three children Toby, 9, Leo, 7 and Frankie, 3.
Aaron, 36, is the son of Dave and Shelley Dush and the grandson of Archie and Shirley Fabino and Lester and Evelyn Dush. He has a younger sister, Becky Pistner.
Growing up in the area, Dush went to St. Leo's School and attended St. Leo Magnus Roman Catholic Church in Ridgway. He was a member of the football and basketball teams at ECCHS, and was also involved with campus ministry.
Dush said he loved growing up in a small town because it "offered a lot of freedom with minimal worries."
"It allowed me to find myself and grow into the person I am today," he said. "Even though we now live in a larger city, our part of town has a small-town feel to it. That is something I want my kids to experience. We walk to school and church. We have a wooded area close to our house for them to explore, but we also now have the amenities of a larger city with a lot of cultural experiences I did not have access to growing up."
Dush credits the support his his family for his career success.
"My parents were always there to support me growing up, whether it was in school, sports or other activities. They always believed in me," he said. "Now I am blessed with the most supportive wife. She is always there in time of need or in times of celebration. She is able to give selflessly to support me and our children."
According to Dush, he was always interested in math and science throughout grade school and high school, coupled with his wish of pursuing a career in the health care setting.
"It seemed to fit. I really didn’t know a whole lot about pharmacy going into college. I learned pharmacy is a really diverse field with many unique opportunities," he said.
Dush completed a majority of his pharmacy intern hours at Elk Regional Health Center while attending pharmacy school.
Dush advised those interested in pursuing a career in the pharmacy field to speak to pharmacists in all settings.
"Pharmacy is a very diverse field with a lot of opportunities. Pharmacists are being incorporated more and more into patient care," he explained. "Where I am, we have a pharmacist assigned to every physician specialty. We are the ones they reach out to for advice on a patient’s medication therapy and they truly appreciate having us there."
Dush emphasized he truly loves what he is doing.
"As I said before, I love my patients. I will continue to grow the practice I am in. I will also to continue to educate my students and patients," Dush said regarding his future plans.
When he's not working. Dush devotes that time to his family as they participate in various sports, Cub Scouts and venture on bike rides, walks, visit the zoo, the park and go camping.
"Even just spending time in the backyard and doing whatever comes to mind is always a lot of fun," Dush said.