OGJVAMC Makes History: Wins Grants for Interns | News, Sports, Jobs


Brianna Filtz, left, and Lindsay Christensen, right, Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center resident pharmacist, check medications packaged by the FastPak to ensure medication accuracy, LOT number, expiration date and one tablet per package on August 5th at the Oscar G Pharmacy Johnson VAMC. Twenty-one rural VA sites nationwide have been invited to apply for funding in 2021 to launch postgraduate residency programs with two positions each. Oscar G. Johnson VAMC was one of five sites nationwide to receive funding. (Photo by Robert Wollenberg, Public Affairs Specialist.)

IRON MOUNTAIN – The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center has been funded for two resident pharmacists in an inaugural pharmacy residency training program, a first in the history of any medical facility in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“We are extremely excited to be the first American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) pharmacy residency training program in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan,” said Ashley Lorenzen, deputy chief of pharmacy, in a press release. “This opportunity will bring learners to rural areas of the state in hopes of developing and retaining excellent pharmacists in our area.”

The VA requires that all residency programs be funded by the Office of University Affiliations, to which no new funding has been granted for over 10 years. Twenty-one rural VA sites nationwide have been invited to apply for funding in 2021 to launch postgraduate residency programs with two positions each.

Oscar G. Johnson VAMC was one of five sites nationwide to receive funding.

“After a lot of hard work and training, I was so excited that our institution was awarded a one-year post-graduation pharmacy practice residency,” said Katie Zeier, clinical pharmacist practitioner, mental health. “I’m thrilled to have matched the two positions, especially for a brand new rural residency in its very first year, with two stellar candidates and future pharmacists.”

Residents apply for the programs of their choice. A residency advisory group reviews applications and scores them against a set of pre-determined criteria. Interview offers are then extended.

“During the interview process, the pharmacy staff were incredibly welcoming and genuinely excited to have residents,” said Brianna Filtz, Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “They made it very clear that they were interested in us personally and that we weren’t just another number. I told all my family and friends that it was my first choice.

“I loved the friendliness and hospitality of the pharmacy staff during my interview and during the showcase of the residence,” said Lindsay Christensen, Doctor of Pharmacy from Ferris State University. “All these different factors are very important to me and that’s when I knew this residency was the right solution. The location of this program was a bonus, especially knowing I could spend more time exploring the outdoors. »

Candidates are interviewed by members of the pharmacy team. After the interviews are conducted, the applicants rank the programs they have been interviewed with, and the programs rank the applicants they have interviewed and would like to have as selections. A comprehensive algorithm matches applicants to programs.

“On game day, I was thrilled to see that I had matched with Oscar G. Johnson VA,” Filtz said. “Ashley Lorenzen, our residency program director, was clearly just as excited because I was on the phone with her within minutes.”

During their senior year of school, residents complete month-long rotations shadowing pharmacists from different practice types to learn what is involved in each.

After graduation, during a residency, they are fully licensed pharmacists. However, they chose to complete an additional year of training to be able to practice as a clinical pharmacist practitioner, similar to a nurse practitioner. They are able to see patients independently and modify drug therapy to help patients achieve their health care goals.

“The goal is to retain pharmacy residents after residency graduation and increase retention rates,” Lorenzen said. “We will recruit two new residents each year for the one-year postgraduate residency training program. Future goals would be to create a second-year specialty residency in pain management and mental health.

A residency is not required to gain employment, but helps them gain further training and practice-based learning to obtain higher-level clinical positions.

“The pharmacy team is close-knit, a bit like a family, which makes the job a lot of fun”, Filtz said.

“I feel honored to be able to serve veterans and their families. I am honored to represent Oscar G. Johnson VA, and am thrilled to share this residency program with current pharmacy students.

“In the pharmacy, we focus on a team atmosphere where everyone pulls together to help each other,” Lorenzen said.

“We do potlucks, birthday recognitions, shoutouts, grills and get together often outside of the work day.

“I’m super excited to be part of this new residency,” Christensen added. “I am ready to put my personal touch on this program and make the most of it. I immediately called my parents, my grandmother and my fiancé, jumping for joy. I couldn’t have been happier.



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