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PGY1 Pharmacy Residency

Thank you for your interest in the post-graduate year 1 pharmacy residency at James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona, PA. The ASHP-Accredited JEVZ program aims to prepare residents to meet the needs of an evolving healthcare landscape by equipping them with the knowledge and skills required to care for our rural veteran population.

Pharmacy Residency team standing in front of information table
Pharmacy Residency team standing in front of information table


Residency Mission

The JEVZ VAMC Pharmacy Residency Program aims to prepare residents to meet the needs of an evolving healthcare landscape by equipping them with the knowledge and skills required to care for our rural veteran population.

Education: Training in evidence-based patient-centered care will serve to develop professional competence needed for board certification and/or postgraduate year two residency programs. This education will lend to expansion of pharmacy services, staff engagement, and mutual learning.

Improved Quality of Care: Opportunity to engage directly in the care of veterans will enhance the healthcare experience for all involved.

Community Enhancement: Residents will help meet the healthcare access needs of our rural veteran population. This program will also offer opportunities for prospective residents interested in the region.

About the Facility

JEVZ is a 51-bed hospital with acute care (11), long-term care (40), urgent care and outpatient services including primary care, mental health, infusion clinic, surgery, and specialty services. We have 5 community-based outpatient clinics in Indiana, Johnstown, State College, Huntingdon, & Dubois. JEVZ Pharmacy provides services at all locations through direct patient care, prescription services, counseling, formulary management, and interdisciplinary teams. ​

About the Area

  • County: Blair County
  • Population: 43,963 in city, 121,829 in metro area
  • Time zone: Eastern Time Zone
  • Things to do near Altoona:
    • Altoona Curve Baseball (AA Affiliate of Pittsburgh Pirates)
    • Lakemont Amusement Park
    • Several Nearby Ski Lodges
    • Lights on the Lake Christmas Light Show
    • Horseshoe Curve
    • PumpkinFest
    • Bedford Fall Foliage
    • Fly Fishing
    • Golf
    • Outdoor Rec Basketball Leagues
    • Mini Golf
    • Great unique Western, PA food
    • Beautiful 4 seasons

•~1 hour from Penn State University

•~2 hours from Pittsburgh

•~2 hours from Hershey Park and Chocolate Factory

Explore Altoona Website

Primary Areas of Practice

  • Direct Patient Care
  • Practice Management
  • Dispensing
  • Education
  • Project
  • Miscellaneous

Benefits & Qualifications


  • Competitive stipend
  • Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB), Employee Assistance Program
  • Assigned desk, laptop and phone extension
  • Remote access
  • Free parking
  • 13 days each of paid annual leave and sick leave
  • 11 paid federal holidays



  • U.S. Citizenship is required
  • Doctor of Pharmacy degree from an ACPE accredited school of pharmacy
  • Eligible for licensure in any U.S. state or territory - must obtain within 90 days from start of residency

Current Residents

Katelyn Kennedy, PharmD
Bachelors in Pharmaceutical Science, Cedarville University
Doctor of Pharmacy, Cedarville University 

I have developed a passion for serving our nation’s heroes and working with rural populations. Throughout the residency year I have had opportunities to explore my clinical areas of interest in pain management, palliative care, oncology, and substance use disorders. Outside of the pharmacy, I enjoy reading, baking, playing with my cat Nala, and wakeboarding at TwoLick Lake.

What drew you to the Altoona VA initially?
I realized during APPEs that I feel the most rewarded in direct patient care and knew I wanted to be at a program that had an emphasis in outpatient services while still getting a well-rounded experience. The Altoona VA offered predominantly outpatient focused experiences including one in the oncology infusion clinic and several inpatient core rotations making me confident it would meet my goals. However what stood out the most about this program was its culture. I knew the program director and preceptors were supportive of tailoring the year to my interests and goals and that the department functions like a family. I also loved the idea of being a part of the growth of a newer residency program and trailblazing opportunities for future residents.

​What do you like most about the program?
My favorite aspect of the program has been the people. The program director and all of the preceptors have been incredibly supportive of my growth such as by helping me develop my own research project idea focused in oncology, encouraging me to pursue serving on Federal Resident Council, reviewing many drafts of my poster on my research project for ASHP Midyear, and assisting me with pursuing a PGY2. I have also been very impressed with the attendance at all resident presentations since many staff pharmacists and technicians also attend. Everyone engages in my personal growth as a pharmacist while caring about me as a person and supporting my wellness throughout the year.


Sung Mo, PharmD
Bachelors in Biomedical Sciences, Auburn University
Doctor of Pharmacy, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

I have a strong passion in working with the geriatric population and have discovered new interests throughout the residency year in cardiology and pharmacogenomics. Outside of pharmacy, my hobbies include spoiling my dog, playing the flute, painting, and discovering new workouts to stay active. (My latest fascination has been dance cardio workouts!)

What drew you to the Altoona VA initially?
When evaluating residency programs to pursue, I was seeking for a newer program in a more rural area. I wanted to be exposed to different challenges and was looking for a residency experience where I could grow with the program. During the interview, my intuition was telling me that JEVZ was where I needed to start my post graduate career, and I was genuinely looking forward to working alongside the preceptors on the interview panel.

​What do you like most about the program?
One of the strongest traits of the program is how receptive all the preceptors are to resident feedback. I appreciate how encouraging and supportive all of the preceptors are as they lead by example both professionally and clinically. With frequent check ins, I never felt intimidated asking questions and developed a lot of respect for my preceptors for creating such a welcoming environment. I have been able to successfully apply these skills during my patient encounters in being an approachable, empathetic clinician – one who advocates for her patients, and can confidently say my intuition from the residency interview was confirmed.


Julia Wasser, PharmD, BCGP

Residency Program Director
Inpatient Pharmacy Program Manager
Learning Experiences: CLC/Geriatrics
Pharmacy School: Duquesne University
Residency Program: Hershel "Woody" Williams VA Medical Center
From: Duncansville, PA
Fun Fact: I love traveling, camping, and anything outdoors. I rarely know where my cellphone is. I believe most problems can be solved with ice cream.

Melissa Reams, PharmD, BCPS

Lead Clinical Pharmacy Practitioner in PACT, Residency Program Coordinator
Learning Experiences : PACT Longitudinal
Pharmacy School: Duquesne University
Residency Program: Penn State Hershey 
From: New Castle, PA
Fun Fact: Proud Mom of two adorable children. Always have pictures to share and love to brag about them!

Meghan Bolinger, PA-C, PharmD, BCACP, BCCP

Cardiology Pharmacist
Resident Program Advisor
Learning Experiences: Cardiology
Pharmacy School: Duquesne University
From: Johnstown, PA
Fun Fact: I love long distance running and traveling with my family

Jennifer Bonanni, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP, BC-ADM

PACT Pharmacist, Residency Program Advisor
Learning Experiences: PACT longitudinal and block learning experiences
Pharmacy School: Wilkes University
Residency Program: Lebanon VA Medical Center (PGY1); William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center (PGY2)
From: Harveys Lake, PA
Fun Fact: I love to try new foods, go hiking, and read in my spare time

Mason Koehle, PharmD

Associate Chief, Pharmacy Service
Learning Experiences: Outpatient Pharmacy, Leadership
Pharmacy School: LECOM
From: Ebensburg, PA
Fun Fact: I love watching cooking shows, but am a mediocre cook myself

Chelsey Chambers, PharmD

Inpatient Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Learning Experiences: Acute Care
Pharmacy School: LECOM
From: La Jose, PA
Fun Fact: I enjoy baking sweets, gardening,  and spending time at our farm

April Cope, PharmD, BCPP

Behavioral Health Pharmacist
Learning Experiences: Mental Health, Substance Use Disorders
Pharmacy School: Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy at Long Island University
Residency Program: Albert Einstein Medical Center (PGY1) & University of Texas at Austin & Affiliated Institutions (PGY2)
From: Staten Island, NY
Fun Fact: I love baking and going to renaissance festivals

Karch Helsel, PharmD

Pain Management Pharmacist
Learning Experiences: Pain Management
Pharmacy School: University of Pittsburgh
Residency Program: Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center
From: Johnstown, PA
Fun Fact: I love to play basketball and collect Lego in my spare time

Sylvia Lombardo, PharmD

PACT Pharmacist
Learning Experiences: Longitudinal PACT, Residency Project
Pharmacy School: Duquesne University
Residency Program: James E Van Zandt VAMC  (I was part of the 1st residency class!)
From: Altoona, PA
Fun Fact: I love to read and play piano in my free time!

Lisa Luciani, PharmD, BCPS

PMOP Coordinator & Pain Pharmacist
Learning Experiences: PMOP
Pharmacy School: Temple University
Residency Program: Albany Veterans Affairs Medical Center (PGY1) & Pain Management and Palliative Care - Central Arkansas Veterans HealthCare System (PGY2)
From: Honesdale, PA
Fun Fact: First generation US Citizen. Parents are from Croatia!

Rob Malcotti, PharmD

Home Based Primary Care Pharmacist
Learning Experiences: Home Based Primary Care
Pharmacy School: University of Pittsburgh
From: Nanty Glo, PA
Fun Fact: I enjoy trail running, fishing, and camping!

Joan Muriceak, PharmD, CACP, CDCES

Anticoagulation Pharmacist, Program Manager of Anticoagulation Clinic
Learning Experiences: Anticoagulation
Pharmacy School: Pitt (Bachelors in Pharmacy), Duquesne (PharmD)
Residency Program: Riverside Methodist Hospital
From: Hollidaysburg, PA
Fun Fact: I love reading and spending time outdoors biking, swimming or gardening

Tracy Schrift, PharmD

Clinical Pharmacist
Learning Experiences: Oncology and Formulary Management
Pharmacy School: Duquesne University
From: Lilly, PA
Fun Fact: I love baking!


Adam Edward Lang, PharmD
Chief, Pharmacy Service

Mason Koehle, PharmD
Associate Chief, Pharmacy Service, Operations

Julia Smaha, PharmD
Associate Chief, Pharmacy Service, Clinical Programs


Learning Experiences

Required Rotational Learning Experiences

  • Orientation
  • Acute Care
  • CLC/Geriatrics
  • Formulary/Oncology
  • Mental Health

Required Longitudinal Learning Experiences

  • PACT
  • Anticoagulation & HBPC
  • Outpatient/Inpatient Staffing
  • Pharmacy Leadership
  • Resident Project

Elective Learning Experiences

  • Antimicrobial Stewardship
  • Cardiology
  • Pain Management
  • PACT 2
  • PMOP
  • Substance Use Disorder
  • Your Choice!


Class of 2022-2023

Sylvia Lombardo, PharmD

PACT Clinical Pharmacy Practitioner
James E Van Zandt VA Medical Center, Altoona, PA
​Duquesne University School of Pharmacy 

Bio: Dr. Lombardo earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2022 from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. During her time at Duquesne, she also completed a concentration in ambulatory care pharmacy.  She returned to her hometown of Altoona, PA to complete her PGY1 pharmacy residency at James E Van Zandt VAMC- serving as part of the inaugural class for this program! Upon completion of her residency, she accepted a position at James E Van Zandt VAMC working as a PACT Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner. Dr. Lombardo remains actively involved in the PGY1 residency program at this site as the primary preceptor for the longitudinal residency project and also assists with the longitudinal PACT experience.

Abigail, PharmD

Cardiology Clinical Pharmacy Practitioner
Syracuse VA Medical Center, Syracuse, NY
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy 

Bio: Dr. Martin earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2022. She completed her PGY1 pharmacy residency at the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona, PA in 2023. Upon completion of residency, she accepted a position in cardiology at the Syracuse, NY VA Medical Center.


Apply on PhORCAS by January 1st, 2025 at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time


  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Transcript
  • Letter of intent
  • Three references via PhORCAS

Contact Information

Julia Wasser, PharmD, BCGP
Resident Program Director