You might say that Charles Mosler, Pharm.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice, had both his eyes and his heart opened during a medical mission trip to Belize. The trip was the first outside the U.S. for Mosler while a pharmacy student at Ohio Northern University.
“I saw how differently people lived,” he said. It made a lasting impression that would lead to many more mission trips in the future. A young woman on the trip also made a lasting impression and eventually became his wife. Together, they’ve traveled to nearly a dozen countries, volunteering their medical services and adding in vacation time on some trips.
A certified geriatric pharmacist, Mosler began working in nursing homes immediately after graduation. His teaching career started as a part time faculty member at UF in 2007, which lead to a full time position in 2009. Still working with nearly 200 nursing home patients, he has expanded his pharmaceutical expertise to include tropical diseases. He now co-teaches a class in this subject with Rick Dudley, Ph.D.
“When we started the class in 2012, it only addressed prevention, like precautions against malaria for people who traveled. Now, we’re teaching more about treatment and have had a lot of interest in the class with the news coverage on Ebola and the Zika virus,” he said. He was quick to add that most of his students will never see a case of either disease unless they travel to other countries.
Mosler will present on the symptoms and treatment of Zika to the Ohio Pharmacists Association in November 2016. He related that Zika is not new, but the world saw a spike in cases around two years ago. “Some think it spread from a huge soccer match in Brazil,” Mosler added. “We have the same mosquitos in Ohio that carry Zika, but will probably never see it originating here. “
Although still identifying himself as a geriatric pharmacist, Mosler has given peer-reviewed presentations on “Treating Tropical Disease in the United States,” to international healthcare providers at the Global Missions Health Conference in November 2015; “Tropical Medicine Update for Pharmacists,” to the Ohio Pharmacists Association at its April 2015 meeting, and “Ebola and Other Tropical Diseases,” to the Ohio Pharmacists Association at the November 2014 meeting.
Mosler encourages people to heed travel warnings, but feels we have resources in the U.S. that can keep certain viruses from becoming epidemics.
“We have air conditioning, so we don’t leave our windows wide open,” he stated. “We also have good sanitation and access to medical care. Viruses like Zika are not airborne, like the flu. The flu is a lot scarier.”
With his wife Alison, also a pharmacist, Mosler has traveled to Mexico, Haiti, Kenya, Ecuador, Honduras, Argentina and Antarctica. Their two boys, ages 5 and 7, are from Ethiopia. He is a proponent of medical missions and study abroad for his students.
“The exposure to other ways of life is good,” he added. “If there is any opportunity to travel, the student should take it, in my opinion.”