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PGY2 mental health residency

VA North Texas has a rich tradition of supporting residency programs with over 160 residency graduates across all our programs.

The PGY2 mental health specialty residency is supported by the VA North Texas. The residency is designed to produce clinical pharmacists who are competent to practice in inpatient and outpatient settings involving psychiatric pharmacotherapy.

A psychiatric pharmacist should possess a mastery of clinical skills needed to optimize pharmacologic therapy to treat patients with psychiatric and neuropsychiatric disorders in various mental health settings.

This residency provides the environment necessary to achieve the knowledge and skills needed to care for patients with a wide range of disorders. The program will foster the development of an independent, versatile practitioner. The program is also designed to produce well rounded, independent professionals through experiences in teaching, research, and professional activities.

  • Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree from an American Council of Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE) accredited school of pharmacy.
  • Minimum pharmacy school GPA or 3.2 or equivalent. At this time applicants from pass/fail curriculums are not eligible for consideration.
  • Hold an active pharmacist license or be eligible for licensure in at least one U.S. state or territory or District of Columbia.
  • U.S. citizenship
  • Applicants to any PGY2 residency must have completed a PGY1 residency 
  • For consideration required documents uploaded must include: three (3) clinical letters of reference (2 of which must be from clinical preceptors), a letter of intent, curriculum vitae (CV), and an official copy of pharmacy school transcripts.
  • Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, resident interviews for 2021-2022 application cycle will be conducted virtually.
  • Candidates will be ranked, and positions filled by submission through National Matching Service (NMS). NMS codes are as follows: PGY2 Mental Health (688866).

The 12-month program is designed to lead the resident through a variety of rotational and longitudinal learning experiences in a variety of practice settings. By the end of the program, the resident should feel competent practicing in inpatient and outpatient settings involving psychiatric pharmacotherapy.

The residency includes core rotations that are chosen to establish a strong base in in psychiatric and neuropsychiatric pharmacotherapy. Core disorders within this residency include depression, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, dementia, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and substance use disorders.

The resident may choose electives based on their career goals. Although the residency is designed around core and elective rotational and or longitudinal learning experiences, the focus of the training will be to master each of the diseases and conditions established within the ASHP required competency areas, goals, and objectives for PGY2 psychiatric pharmacy residencies.

Practice excellence

  • Develop a mastery of knowledge base in psychiatric pharmacotherapy
  • Develop solid patient care skills in both acute and chronic care settings
  • Develop a sound understanding of pharmacy practice management
  • Establish oneself as an integral member of the health care team


Scholastic excellence

  • Demonstrate proficiency in teaching in both didactic and small group learning environments
  • Develop effective precepting skills
  • Generate new knowledge in psychiatric pharmacotherapy
  • Interpret and disseminate knowledge in psychiatric pharmacotherapy


Individual excellence

  • Develop a system of self-assessment and development
  • Demonstrate exemplary verbal and written communication skills
  • Utilize a system for balancing multiple work-related and personal responsibilities
  • Understand the importance of professionalism through participation in pharmacy

Required longitudinal activities

  • Medication education groups
  • Teaching activities
  • Research/journal clubs/MUE


Required learning experiences

  • Acute care
  • Inpatient geriatric psychiatry
  • Mental health intensive case management
  • Outpatient mental health
  • Primary care – mental health integration (PCMHI)
  • Substance use disorders


Elective rotations

  • Correctional healthcare mental health (through Parkland Health) *
  • MH consultation team/Emergency Department
  • OEF/OIF trauma Clinic
  • Pain management
  • New elective learning experiences may be developed based on resident interests/career goals


* Texas pharmacist license required for non-VA learning experiences

Teaching activities for residents are designed to complement practice activities while allowing the resident to experience a variety of teaching methods. Residents will be required to demonstrate skills necessary to function in an academic setting by completing the following activities:

Clinician-educator training program

Structured throughout the residency, this program provides training for residents who are interested in developing their academic skills. The major goal of the training program is to supplement a strong clinical background with the skills needed to become a successful educator.

The program includes didactic and web-based teaching models, mentored facilitator training for small-group problem-based learning, and precepting of third and fourth-year Doctor of Pharmacy students. Residents also receive instruction in grant writing, statistics, and clinical trial design; submit a project proposal to the institutional review board; and collect, interpret, and publish their results. Additional activities to enhance discovery, integration, and writing skills are described.

The program also includes innovative discussion topics based upon needs previously identified by new faculty members. Examples include handling difficult students, writing test questions, developing consistent evaluation methods, and balancing life outside of career.

Experiential teaching

Clerkship teaching (involving both P3 and/or P4 PharmD students) is integrated into the resident practice model. Early in the program, the resident will observe faculty clerkship preceptors and become integrated into various aspects of clerkship teaching. By the end of the residency program, residents have the opportunity to independently precept clerkship students.

Residency project

Residents will complete one research project per year. Residents have the option to also complete a quality improvement project. Residents may choose any type of research project or quality improvement program, provided that the project:

  1. includes generation of original data;
  2. is suitable for publication or presentation at a national pharmacy meeting;
  3. can reasonably be completed within the residency year.

Resident rounds seminar series

Residents will present a formal 45-minute presentation with 15 minutes for questions and answers to VA North Texas pharmacy staff in the fall. Residents must choose topics that are of sufficient controversy or debate that are candidates for further publication in the medical literature. These presentations are accredited for 1 hour of CE credit for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

VISN 17 psychiatric pharmacy didactics series

Residents may participate in weekly psychiatric pharmacy didactics discussions. These discussions are presented by VISN 17 pharmacy residents with participation, feedback, and evaluation provided by pharmacy residents and mental health clinical pharmacy specialists. Each 60-minute session consists of a 40-minute presentation of an assigned topic and 15-20 minutes for questions and discussion. Residents will be assigned three topics each to present throughout the year but are expected to attend all of the weekly presentations.

College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) annual meeting

Residents are encouraged to attend the CPNP annual meeting and present their research during the poster session. This meeting also provides interactive lectures for practice development and networking opportunities.

Southwestern Leadership Conference (ALCALDE)

Residents are encouraged to participate in this regional resident meeting, also known as ALCALDE, in the spring. Residents have the opportunity to present their project results for evaluation. This meeting also provides an opportunity to network and interact with residents from other programs throughout the region.

Poster presentation

Residents are required to present a poster of their research project at a national (preferred) or state professional meeting. In addition, a presentation towards the end of the residency year at our local facility may also be required.

Resident interviews

Residents may be asked to participate in the interview process for the PGY2 MH residency program.

Kristen Backe PharmD, BCPP
Mental health clinical pharmacist practitioner
PGY2 mental health residency program director
VA North Texas Health Care System 

Martein D Lewis, PharmD, MSHI, BCPP
Clinical pharmacy practitioner - mental health academic detailing program manager
PGY2 mental health residency program coordinator
VA North Texas Health Care System