Pharmacists in residence

Pharmacists in residence

College of Pharmacy obtains accreditation for pharmacy residency program

By Dorothy Hagmajer


UF Health is home to a variety of things: six different colleges, about 12,000 employees, and an immeasurable amount of Gator pride. Now, a newly accredited residency program for doctors of pharmacy has joined the mix.

The postgraduate program allows pharmacists who have completed their four years of pharmacy school and earned their Pharm.D. to obtain further postgraduate training. For the residency program’s director, obtaining accreditation was not an option — it was a must.

“I think if we’re going to be a leader in pharmacy education and really push our profession forward, then we have to allow these training opportunities to exist here,” said Katherine Vogel Anderson, Pharm.D.

Although residency programs are more commonly associated with medical students, the first pharmacy residencies date back to the early 1930s. Since then, the structure of the programs has undergone a series of changes, solidifying with a new set of accreditation standards established by the American Society of Health-Pharmacists in 2005. Postgraduate Year 1 residency programs provide general clinical experience, while postgraduate Year 2 residency programs allow the pharmacist to specialize in ambulatory care, cardiology, infectious disease and other subject areas.

“Pharmacists are important members of the health care team,” Vogel Anderson said. “Residency training provides clinical skills necessary for patient care, and may be a requirement if pharmacists wish to obtain provider status.”

While Vogel Anderson modeled her residency program to meet accreditation standards, she drew on her own experiences as well, citing her time in residency at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as one of her biggest influences.

“I think in order to be a good teacher you have to have some experience with practice and taking care of patients,” Vogel Anderson said. “I don’t think I would be where I am now if I hadn’t done my residency at the VA.”

Vogel Anderson has had three residents thus far. Danielle Perini was her first, from 2012-2013; Patrick Cogan followed in 2013-2014; and Johanna Sierra, the current resident, expects to complete the program in June 2015. Her resident spends some orientation time at UF Health Shands Hospital, rotates for three months at the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs medical center, practices in an internal medicine clinic at the Medical Plaza, teaches at the College of Pharmacy and completes research projects.

“I knew I wanted to be involved with patients in a clinic setting,” Sierra said. “I like that we have the return of our patients every so often — you really get to know these patients and interact with them and that’s always been my favorite part.”