Alumni Profile: Greg Oksanen, BSc(Pharm)’87

Image: Greg Oksanen, BSc(Pharm)'87, Pharmacist, Living Room Pharmacy's Owner and Manager

Career/profession: Pharmacist, Living Room Pharmacy’s Owner and Manager

I worked as a pharmacist and manager at a chain store from 1987–2006 and then opened my own pharmacy, Living Room Pharmacy, in 2006.

What has your experience been as a pharmacist during this pandemic?

Overall, it has been really positive. Our staff and customers have done an amazing job respecting social distancing and adapting to changing protocols and new dispensary dynamics. From a pharmacy perspective, I was surprised to see people stocking up on medications, even those they hadn’t had filled in a while. It has been interesting that, along with toilet paper, there was an immediate panic in response to the imagined prospect of not having access to medication.

What has inspired you about the health care response to COVID-19?

I have been inspired by the heath care system’s quick and firm response to this unprecedented crisis. We didn’t know what daily life and business was going to look like going into it and I’ve been blown away by the grace and professionalism of everyone in the medical field.

What are some things that have helped you stay positive through the last few weeks that you can share with others? 

Seeing how well British Columbia’s outbreaks have been contained and treated in the last couple of weeks has given me a lot of hope. I am also impressed by how well British Columbians have respected science and followed the directives of health care professionals. This sustained, united response is very encouraging.

Overall, what accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?

I am proud to have built an independent pharmacy that provides consistent and quality care to our community. Moreover, I am proud to have raised a wonderful family and balanced home life with providing a caring, professional service.

Who has been the biggest influence in your career?

My wife, Jane Wareing. 

What UBC moments are you still talking about?

Many of my fondest memories are of the friendships I made and the fun we had during break time, playing ping-pong in the common room and pool at the SUB. 

In addition…

I am so grateful for the outstanding education I received at UBC. Although I didn’t realize how amazing it was at the time, the foundation of knowledge I gained at university has given me tremendous confidence moving through my career and life.