Best of the Best award star

Industry Leader Award

Lauren Castle, Pharm.D.


Photo by Julian Foglietti, produced by Natalie Gialluca
Drugs icon Walmart Maps icon Dayton, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio


Doctor of Pharmacy from Ohio Northern University


  • 4 years as a Market Health and Wellness Director for Walmart
  • 1 year as a pharmacy clinical services manager for Walmart
  • 5 years as an intern, pharmacist and pharmacy manager for Walmart
  • 3 years as a pharmacy technician and intern at Village Pharmacy (now Hometown Pharmacy)

Years in pharmacy


After working as a retail pharmacist and pharmacy manager from 2013 to 2017, Lauren Castle, Pharm.D., took on a new challenge: market health and wellness director for Walmart. In this role, she oversees pharmacy staff in 11 Walmart stores in the Ohio area. She won the Industry Leader Award for being an advocate for pharmacists and patients alike, removing barriers to care and brainstorming ways to improve the field from the top down. 

What is a typical day like for you?

In my role at Walmart, I’m kind of like a district manager of operations; I have 11 stores, 11 pharmacy managers, and 11 vision center managers. My job is to empower my pharmacy teams to provide the best patient care and practice at the top of their licenses. I do that through supporting pharmacy operations, teaching and training, and also removing barriers. When you are truly “on the bench,” there are so many things coming at you all of the time, whether it’s taking care of patients, filling their medications, spending time counseling with them, providing point-of-care testing, and having insurance conversations—all on top of regular immunizations that we’re giving.

So for me, I really like to think about my job as trying to simplify things: to be a point person when questions come up, be able to provide resources to support all of our pharmacists, and really be their biggest cheerleader, because obviously it can also be a very tiring and exhausting and almost thankless job at times. 

Sometimes, my typical day is driving around making deliveries to the pharmacies myself, other days, it might be working with our HR partners to help get new technicians hired, or work through technical difficulties with transferring associates from one store to another. All those little things that should be simple but give us headaches—those types of things. 

Video by Eli Hiller, edited by Meredith Lawder, produced by Natalie Gialluca

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

We have so many products and services at Walmart to support patients with diabetes, especially with their insulin and blood testing supplies. The food aspect of it as well, for me, is really important, because we know that diabetes can be managed much more successfully whenever we’re able to provide adequate nutrition and affordable food. 

We have “Wellness Days” when we get to bring all these different resources together in the store, and talk to people holistically about how Walmart can help them “save money and live better.” I know that’s our motto, but it’s not just a cute catch phrase. It is truly what we’re all here to do.

I’ve definitely been in a store when we’ve had patients walk up to have their blood sugar tested, and when it comes back at 400, we actually make the recommendations for them to follow up with their doctor or to even seek treatment right away. Then they come back and say, “Wow, I didn’t know. If I hadn’t come by and gotten that checked, who knows what would have happened?” 

How do you see the pharmacy field changing in the future?

I advocate for the role of having pharmacists on care teams, in terms of actively managing medications and balancing that with lifestyle recommendations and lifestyle medicine. I think most pharmacists will say, “We would love nothing more than to be able to help our patients actually get off medications.” That’s a great thing, whenever we’re able to help someone get their diabetes under control, or get their hypertension under control, and actually be able to potentially decrease medication because they’ve been able to adopt other lifestyle changes.

I advocate for the role of having pharmacists on care teams, in terms of actively managing medications and balancing that with lifestyle recommendations and lifestyle medicine.

Pharmacists, particularly in a community setting and in grocery store settings, really have those touch points and can follow up on those types of recommendations and changes that their patients are making. I think as we continue to fight toward provider status and payment reform—especially so that pharmacists can be compensated more for these different services and also expand the different testing capabilities—I think it’s only going to continue to move in that direction, where we do have more capability to help monitor and manage the total disease state for the patient. 

Anyone who is considering pharmacy as a career should come into it with the mindset of, “What else can we do to be involved and advocate for that patient care role,” because it’s not the same field that it used to be. Now I think we really are in a position to have a greater impact; I think it’s very exciting, and I look forward to what the future holds.

What do you think are the attributes of a top pharmacist? 

When I think about my pharmacists who truly are just absolute all-stars, it really comes down to caring. And I know that sounds so simple, but when you truly care and you are able to be mindful of each interaction that you have, it just creates this environment for your team to be able to thrive, and for your patients to be able to have such a great experience. 

Why did any of us sign up to be pharmacists? It is truly to take care of people. It is truly to be that change for someone. Because most people, when they come to a pharmacy, they’re probably sick. They’re probably not feeling their best. And we each have that opportunity to connect with that person and really make their day. 

I find that that is what truly sets really great pharmacists apart: separating the task of dispensing medications, calling doctors, calling insurance companies, and dealing with all of the difficult things from being able to say, “The patient is truly who’s most important, and the goal here is to help them be healthy.”

Why is the concept of “wellness” so important to you for your pharmacists and your patients?

Pharmacists do have to focus on our own well-being, but sometimes I think we can be our own worst patients. We have to really make sure that we’re taking time to wind down outside of work. For many of us, our work is our life, or it feels that way, but we have to make sure that we’re also focusing on really living our own healthy life, too: getting enough sleep, making sure that we’re eating (as challenging as that might be), trying to fit in that lunch break, and working through stress management.

Why did any of us sign up to be pharmacists? It is truly to take care of people. It is truly to be that change for someone.

I really do like to remind people, whether you’re a pharmacist or a patient, just how much your lifestyle changes really can make a difference in terms of eating nourishing foods, getting adequate rest, and balancing that stress. I founded the Functional Medicine Pharmacists Alliance as well, to help educate pharmacists about this movement toward functional medicine, because I think it’s the missing piece in terms of reforming the medical system altogether.

We have this very heavy over-reliance on medication sometimes; we forget the power that lifestyle change truly can have. It’s my passion to help pharmacists interested in learning more about that and about translating that for their patients. I want to know how we can make wellness more accessible and more affordable for everyone.

Notable achievements

  • Founder and CEO of the Functional Medicine Pharmacists Alliance (FMPhA)
  • Appeared on the cover of Walmart World magazine in 2019
  • Walmart social media ambassador since 2019
  • Recipient of the Ohio Pharmacists Association “Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award” in 2020