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Pharmacy Residency Program

The VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System (VAEKHCS) PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency is a one year post graduate experiential educational program which provides a well-rounded training experience with focus on ambulatory care, mental health, and geriatrics. Residents will gain experience through various learning experiences such as Ambulatory/Primary Care, Anticoagulation, Acute Medicine, Geriatrics, Mental Health, Home Based Primary Care, Pharmacy Administration and Leadership. Residents will have a chance to choose from our elective experiences to fit their specific interests.

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About the Program

The pharmacy residency at the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System (VAEKHCS) is an ASHP accredited training program.  It is co-located at the Colmery-O’Neil campus in Topeka, KS and the Dwight D. Eisenhower campus in Leavenworth, KS. This PGY-1 residency program is designed to develop practitioners with the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a successful clinical pharmacist. Graduates of the program are well prepared to pursue positions in clinical practice or PGY-2 residency programs.

We offer a progressive training atmosphere where pharmacists may prescribe medications, order laboratory/diagnostic tests and place consults to other services within a scope of practice. Residents learn to provide proactive, patient-centered care in multiple different clinical settings.  The Eastern Kansas Health Care System (EKHCS) pharmacy practice model integrates traditional distributive duties with advanced clinical roles.

Aside from required residency learning experiences, residents can choose from a variety of elective experiences.  EKHCS also provides introductory and advanced experiential practice experiences for pharmacy students from the University of Kansas.  Residents are provided the opportunity to instruct and precept students while on service.

Annual Program Start Date: June 20th

Number of Positions: 2

Annual Salary: $41,976

How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in the Pharmacy Practice Residency Program at the VA Eastern Kansas Healthcare System.  Our PGY-1 program currently offers (2) positions through the ASHP National Matching Service (program code 172413). All applications must be completed online via the Pharmacy Online Residency Centralized Application Service (PhORCAS) at: http://www.ashp.org/phorcas

 

Standard Requirements for an application in PhORCAS include:

1) Completion of required PhORCAS application

2) Curriculum Vitae (CV)

3) Letter of Intent

4) Three (3) Letters of Reference

5) Official PharmD program transcripts

 

Additional Requirements: U. S. Citizenship

Information for Application Process

ASHP Residency Directory Name: VA - Topeka, KS - Eastern Kansas Health Care System - Colmery-O’Neil Campus

ASHP Residency Directory Number: 62001

Residency type: PGY1

PhORCAS Number:  19543

National Matching Service (NMS) Number: 172413

 

Application Deadline: December 31st

An onsite interview is required for consideration. Interview offers are typically made early to middle of January and interviews are typically scheduled for late January through the end of February.

If you have any questions, please contact Michael.buck1@va.gov

Curriculum

The following is a list of required rotations/activities:

  • Acute Medicine (Leavenworth)
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Pharmacy Operations
  • Psychiatry (Inpatient)
  • Geriatrics/Long-term Care
  • Home Based Primary Care

 

The following is a list of elective rotations:

  • Infectious Disease/Antimicrobial Stewardship
  • Pain Management
  • Psychiatry (Outpatient)
  • Rural Health / Population Health Management
  • Substance Use Disorder Psychiatry
  • Any previous rotation as an Advanced rotation

 

The following is a list of required longitudinal rotations/activities:

  • Administration & Leadership
  • Drug Information and Teaching
  • Residency Research Project
  • Staffing (1 weekend per month, 1-4 hours evening shift during the week, one major and minor holiday)
  • Teaching Certificate Program (UMKC)

 

Drug Information / Teaching (Longitudinal) — Residents are responsible for providing responses to requests for drug information from medical staff as well as developing skills in critically evaluating health related literature in this longitudinal experience. Each resident will complete formal journal club and CE presentations during the year. Residents typically teach in the KU Clinical Assessment course and often provide a didactic lecture at KU.

Geriatrics / Long-Term Care — Residents gain an understanding of therapeutics in geriatric patients residing in the Community Living Center (a nursing home setting) and for patients as part of the Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC) program.  Responsibilities include medication management, drug information, coordination of care, contributing to interdisciplinary team meetings, and medication therapy reviews.

Home Based Primary Care – Residents will gain clinical experience in taking care of Veterans in in their home. Home based primary care is for Veterans who have complex health care needs for whom routine clinic-based care is not effective and are often homebound. The resident will work collaboratively with a team of health care personnel to meet the needs of our homebound veterans.

Psychiatry — Residents will gain clinical experience and develop expertise in the pharmacotherapy management of patients with behavioral health disorders.  The resident will work collaboratively with a team of health care personnel to provide care to hospitalized patients and develop an active role in interdisciplinary rounds.   

Administration and Leadership — Residents learn and devise strategies to promote cost-effective medication therapy utilization and clinical services management at VA EKHCS.  Residents are responsible for completion of non-formulary consults, medication use evaluation, and clinical protocol development/revision.  Residents will work with the management team to gain perspectives in budget planning, resource allocation, leadership, and professional/clinical service development.  Activities include, but are not limited to: P&T meetings, medication-use-evaluations, drug monograph development, protocol development, longitudinal discussions on leadership development, etc.

Pharmacy Operations — Residents develop skill in medication preparation, dispensing, order verification, patient counseling, and supervision of technicians during this longitudinal experience.

Research Project (Longitudinal) — Residents are expected to design, implement, and present a practice-related research project during the year in conjunction with a pharmacist preceptor.  A written manuscript of publishable quality is required to complete the rotation and earn a residency certificate.

Program Preceptors

Topeka

 

Katie Foster, PharmD, MS, FCCM, FASHP, KCHP (Residency Program Director)

Katie Foster is the Associate Chief, Clinical Pharmacy Services at the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System in Topeka, Kansas and is the PGY1 Residency Program Director. Dr. Foster received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Creighton. After graduation, Dr. Foster pursued residency program at the University of Kansas Medical Center specializing in hospital pharmacy and received a Masters of Hospital Pharmacy. Dr. Foster worked at Stormont Vail Health Care for 23 years as their Pharmacy Clinical Manager, Trauma Pharmacist and PGY1 Pharmacy Residency Director. Dr Foster works with multi-disciplinary teams to help improve patient care and is an informational resource for healthcare professionals as well as patients. She may be contacted via email at Katherine.foster1@va.gov.

 

Shannon Baltrusaitis, PharmD

Shannon Baltrusaitis works as a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner in Primary Care as an advanced practice provider with a scope-of-practice. Dr. Baltrusaitis earned her PharmD from the University of Kansas in 2017 and completed a PGY-1 Residency at the VA Eastern Kansas HCS in 2018. Dr. Baltrusaitis co-precepts the Drug Information and Teaching rotation. She may be contacted via email at   shannon.baltrusaitis@va.gov.

 

Michael Buck, PharmD

Michael Buck works as a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner in Primary Care as an advanced practice provider with a scope-of-practice. Dr. Buck earned his PharmD from the University of Nebraska in 2016 and completed a PGY-1 Residency at the VA Eastern Kansas HCS in 2017. Dr. Buck precepts as part of the ambulatory care rotation and coordinates residency social events. He may be contacted via email at michael.buck1@va.gov

 

Kerri Christian, PharmD, BCACP, CGP

Kerri Christian is a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner in ambulatory care, practicing in primary care and cardiology clinic. Dr. Christian earned her PharmD with distinction from the University of Nebraska in 1998. Prior to joining the pharmacy team at VA EKHCS in 2013, She served as Consultant Pharmacist, Lead Consultant Pharmacist and Clinical Coordinator for Pharmerica, a national long-term care pharmacy. Dr. Christian has been a member of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists since 2001, a Fellow of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (FASCP) since 2006 and completed her second term on the Board of Directors for the Kansas Chapter of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists in 2017.  She earned her Board-Certified Geriatric Pharmacist Credential in 2003 and BCACP in 2013. Dr. Christian has enjoyed sharing her passion for geriatrics with pharmacy students since 2001 and with PGY1 pharmacy residents since 2014. Dr. Christian may be contacted via e-mail at kerri.christian@va.gov.

 

Kathryn Dement, PharmD, BCPP

Kathryn Dement is a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner in psychiatry. Dr. Dement graduated from University of Iowa College of Pharmacy in 2010.  She went on to complete a PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in 2011 and joined the staff at VA EKHCS in July of 2011 as an inpatient behavioral health clinical pharmacist.  She earned her BCPS in 2011 and her BCPP certification in 2015.  Since 2018, Dr. DeMent has served as a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner with an advanced scope of practice for psychiatry working with the PTSD treatment program and outpatient mental health clinic. Dr. Dement may be contacted via email at kathryn.dement@va.gov.

 

Micah Halton, PharmD, BC-ADM, CDCES

Micah Halton is a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner in ambulatory care.   Dr. Halton earned his PharmD from the University of Kansas in 2009 and completed his pharmacy practice residency at the Providence VA Medical Center in Providence, Rhode Island.  He joined VA Eastern Kansas Medical Center in 2010.  Dr. Halton currently precepts residents for the ambulatory care rotation.  He also precepts pharmacy students from the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy in ambulatory care. Dr. Halton earned his BC-ADM and CDCES in 2012. Dr.  Halton may be contacted via e-mail at Micah.Halton2@va.gov.

 

Margit Hansing, PharmD, BCACP

Margit Hansing is as a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner in Anticoagulation, Cardiology and serves as the Anticoagulation Program Manager at VA Eastern Kansas HCS. Dr. Hansing earned her PharmD from South Dakota State University in 2017 and completed a PGY-1 Residency at VA Black Hills HCS in 2018. Dr. Hansing joined the VA Eastern Kansas Medical Center in 2018. She precepts the anticoagulation clinic rotation. Dr. Hansing earned her BCACP in 2020. She may be contacted at Margit.Hansing@va.gov.

 

Melissa Hinrichsen, PharmD

Melissa Hinrichsen is a clinical pharmacist, practicing on the Topeka Campus.  Dr. Hinrichsen earned her PharmD from the University of Kansas in 2019. She completed her residency at VA Eastern Kansas HCS in 2020 and has remained on staff since. Dr. Hinrichsen currently precepts pharmacy practice residents as a part of the pharmacy operations experience and coordinate residency social events. She may be contacted via e-mail at melissa.hinrichsen@va.gov.

 

Shelby Hippler, PharmD, BCACP

Shelby Hippler is a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner in ambulatory care. Dr. Hippler graduated from University of Kansas School of Pharmacy in 2014. She completed a PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Dr. Hippler joined the Eastern Kansas VA Medical Center in 2015 as a PACT Pharmacist. In 2017, she transitioned to a role as a clinical pharmacy specialist for the Junction City CBOC and began precepting residents in ambulatory care. Duties include assisting CBOC Teams with medication related issues and managing chronic disease states for rural Veterans. Unique duties include involvement in Shared Medical Appointments, population management, and tele-video patient visits. Dr. Hippler is the lead preceptor for the rotation and coordinates residency social events.  She may be contacted via email at  shelby.hippler@va.gov.

 

Sara Weeder-Korus, PharmD, BCPS

Sara Weeder-Korus is a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner practicing in Chronic Disease Management and Hematology/Oncology. Sara earned her PharmD from Creighton University in 2008 and completed a PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency at the Grand Island, Nebraska VA Medical Center in 2009. She joined VA Eastern Kansas in 2009 and earned BCPS certification in 2013. She has previously served as a clinical pharmacist and preceptor in acute medicine before transitioning back to Ambulatory Care in 2014. She currently precepts residents in chronic disease management. She may be contacted via email at sara.weeder-korus2@va.gov.

 

Leavenworth

 

Cynthia Copeland, PharmD

Cynthia Copeland practices as a Clinical Pharmacist in acute medicine at the Leavenworth campus. She earned her B.S. in Pharmacy from Southwest Oklahoma State University and her PharmD from University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Copeland has traveled extensively and during her husband’s active-duty career, she has held several positions in her career including outpatient, drug information, ambulatory care, inpatient and pediatrics. She joined VAEKHCS in 2013 where precepts residents for the Acute Medicine I rotation and is a member of the ICU Committee. She may be contacted via email at Cynthia.Copeland@va.gov.

 

Elizabeth Debes, PharmD

Elizabeth Debes serves as a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner in pain management at the Leavenworth campus. She precepts the elective Pain Management rotation. In addition to her clinical roles, Dr. Debes is a member of the Pain Steering Committee and leads discussions as part of the VA Pain School. Dr. Debes earned her PharmD from the University of Kansas in 2012 and completed a PGY-1 residency at the VA Eastern Kansas HCS in 2014. She may be contacted via email at Elizabeth.debes@va.gov.

 

Melissa Bigham, PharmD

Melissa Bigham graduated from the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Pharmacy in 2014. Subsequently, she completed her PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency with VA Eastern Kansas Healthcare System. Dr. Bigham now serves as a geriatric clinical pharmacist at VAEKHCS – Leavenworth working with residents of the Community Living Center and as a member of the geriatric primary care (Geri-PACT) team. She supplements her clinical role with involvement in the Dementia Steering Committee and the Community Living Center’s Quality Committee. Dr. Bigham was also a contributing author for a chapter on Human Microbiome and Aging in Nutrition and Functional Foods for Healthy Aging.  Melissa co-precepts for the Drug Information & Teaching rotation and may be contacted at Melissa.Bigham@va.gov

 

Tracy Jo (TJ) McCombs, PharmD, PhD

TJ McCombs serves as the Associate Chief of Pharmacy Operations at VAEKHCS. She has previously worked as a clinical pharmacy specialist and assistant clinical coordinator for St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City. Dr. McCombs precepts residents for the pharmacy leadership and administration rotation. She may be contacted via email at tracy.mccombs2@va.gov.

 

Emily Potter, PharmD, BCPS

Emily Potter is a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner in infectious disease and antimicrobial stewardship. Dr. Potter graduated from the Saint Louis College of Pharmacy earning her PharmD in 2010. Subsequently, she completed her PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at Via-Christi Health Care in Wichita, KS. In 2011 she took a clinical pharmacist position at Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center in Internal Medicine/Critical Care with a focus on Infectious Disease where she earned BCPS certification in 2012. In 2015, she took a position as the Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Infectious Disease/Antimicrobial Stewardship at the VAEKHCS. She is actively involved in local, VISN, and National Antimicrobial Stewardship Committees.  Dr. Potter is actively involved in research and serves as a KCVA Institutional Review Board member and Chairs Eastern Kansas’ Research and Development Committee. Dr. Potter has recent publications in Enterococcal Bloodstream Infections and Antimicrobial Stewardship. Dr. Potter precepts the Infectious Disease/Antimicrobial Stewardship elective and coordinates the residency research rotation. She can be contacted via email at emily.potter1@va.gov.

 

Dorothy Williams, PharmD, BCPP

Dorothy Williams is a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner in psychiatry. Dr. Williams earned her PharmD from the University of Kansas in 2007. She subsequently completed a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in 2008, after which she stayed on to work as an inpatient behavioral health clinical pharmacist. She joined VA Eastern Kansas HCS in 2014 as a behavioral health clinical pharmacist within the outpatient mental health clinic. She earned her BCPP certification in 2012. Dr. Williams currently works as a behavioral health Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at the Leavenworth Campus in the Domiciliary where she practices as an advanced practice provider with a scope-of-practice. Dr. Williams is involved in the Substance Use Disorder Clinical Care Committee for EKHCS and has publications on topics involving psychotropic medications.  Dr. Williams may be contacted at  Dorothy.williams11@va.gov.

Benefits / Eligibility

Benefits

  • Health and life insurance
  • 13 days of sick leave
  • 13 days of paid-time-off
  • Paid administrative leave for conferences and educational events
  • 9 Paid federal holidays
  • Competitive stipend
  • Free parking

 

Eligibility

  • United States Citizen
  • Pharm.D. degree from a school of pharmacy accredited by the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE)
  • Be licensed or eligible for licensure as a pharmacist in any U.S. state.

About Topeka, Lawrence & Leavenworth Kansas

The Colmery-O’Neil VA is in Topeka, Kansas just 25 miles west of Lawrence and 66 miles west of Kansas City. The Dwight D. Eisenhower VA is in Leavenworth, Kansas just 35 miles east of Lawrence and 30 miles northwest of Kansas City. There is plenty to do in the Topeka, Lawrence, Leavenworth and Kansas City as well as the surrounding areas.  Overall, it is a great place for people of all ages.

http://www.travelks.com

https://www.visitkc.com

 

About Topeka:

Brown vs. Board Historical Museum

Capital City

Combat Air Museum

Lake Shawnee

Local restaurants and bars 

Multiple parks and trails

Shawnee Lake

Topeka Performing Arts Center

Topeka Symphony

Topeka Zoological Parks

Washburn University

Washburn University athletics

 

About Lawrence:

Art in the Park

Bicycle friendly community

Clinton Lake

Disc golf

Dog Days

Dole Institute of Politics Museum

Home of the University of Kansas

Live music

Local boutiques and shops

Vital Downtown

Multiple parks and trails

Natural History Museum

Spencer Museum of Art

University of Kansas athletics

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Contact Us

 

Residency Program Director:

Katie Foster, PharmD, MS, FCCM, FASHP, KCHP

katherine.foster1@va.gov

785-350-3111 Ext: 52637

 

Residents:

Brynn Riveland

brynn.riveland@va.gov

785-350-3111 Ext: 54404

 

Gunther Wehrman

Gunther.wehrman@va.gov

785-350-3111 Ext.: 54326

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