A graduate of St. John’s University, Melville, NY, resident Ellen Scharaga earned her BS in pharmacology before embarking on a career as an executive for multiple pharmaceutical development companies. Currently an operational consultant with Alegria Specialty Pharmacy, Ellen Scharaga spends her free time participating in activities such as reading. While enjoying books can be a relaxing pastime, it also can provide readers with a number of benefits.
Engaging in reading can activate not only the pleasure centers of the brain, but also the brain areas that engage when participants focus on executive function. These areas are associated with multiple complex cognitive functions. When a person reads, the activity can increase the brain’s capacity for memory by exercising areas that cause it to concentrate.
In addition to stimulating mental function, reading can alleviate the stress hormone cortisol, the body’s natural hormonal response to stress. While cortisol usually acts as a defense against stress hormones, a chronic amount of the hormone can lead to long-term problems.
Reading serves as an individual’s gateway to cultures and concepts outside of what he or she typically experiences. By reading novels and nonfiction pieces on subjects outside of one’s own immediate sphere of knowledge, a reader is exposed to new concepts and ideas.
Based in Melville, NY, Ellen Scharaga is a pharmacy professional with 25 years of experience. A supporter of the American Cancer Society as well as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Ellen Scharaga values charitable work and spends time outside of her professional life engaging in volunteer services. Volunteerism not only provides charitable organizations and nonprofits with the extra help needed to reach disadvantaged groups, but also can provide volunteers with several personal benefits.
Beginning with the physical benefits, volunteering can remove you from an old routine, getting you out of your home and moving around. Many volunteer opportunities involve cleaning outdoor spaces or packaging items such as food or medical supplies. The physical exercise coupled with the social connections that you can make working with people who share your values are excellent ways to fight mild stress and depression.
Volunteering also presents participants with an opportunity to learn new skills. Nonprofits often look for individuals who are open to learning new tasks. In unpaid volunteer positions, individuals can earn experience in areas such as office administration, childcare, and crisis counseling. They can then take these skills into their professional lives.
Perhaps the most important benefit is that volunteering brings a sense of accomplishment and charity to the lives of volunteers. Engaging with a nonprofit can help volunteers find a way to participate in an activity or cause that is personally relevant, especially if they work in an industry in which they do not receive personal validation.
A registered pharmacist in the state of New York, Ellen Scharaga resides in Melville, NY. Ellen Scharaga currently serves as an operational consultant for Alegria Specialty Pharmacy and maintains membership with the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP).
Holding membership with AMCP comes with several benefits, including the following.
1. Subscriptions to the Daily Dose and Legislative/Regulatory Update, AMCP-produced literature that shares stories and legislation impacting the pharmaceutical industry.
2. Access to the AMCP Guide to Pharmaceutical Payment Methods, which details forms of alternative payments for prescriptions and medications.
3. Invitations to join sanctioned meetings throughout the year to build networks and learn about the latest industry practices. This includes the annual meeting in the fall, which offers opportunities to earn continuing education credits.
4. Admission into the online membership directory as well as AMCP’s Online Career Center.
5. Ability to research industry trends and statistical resources through the organization’s online portal. For ease, the portal allows members to search for keywords, expediting the process of learning.
As senior vice president of operations at OncoMed Pharmaceutical Services, Ellen Scharaga grew the operations staff by 50 percent while improving prescription turnaround time by 30 percent. During her free time, Ellen Scharaga, a Melville, NY, resident, enjoys reading and contributes to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
As children, our parents attempt to impart the importance of reading to us. They know that reading improves our language skills and nurtures our imaginations by allowing us to visit times and places we otherwise would never see. However, new research has shown that reading has a number of previously unreported positive effects. A 2009 study, for example, revealed that reading is one of the most successful pastimes for combating stress.
While reading for educational purposes is nothing new, analysts have discovered that a lifetime of reading can improve brain function later in life, and that reading can potentially help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, sleep experts almost unanimously recommend reading before bed as a sleep aid. Not only does the reduction of stress play a part, but time away from television and computer screens allows your brain to relax, wind down, and prepare to rest for the night.