By Stephen Vodhanel, PhD
A brand-new pediatric pharmacy residency program, only the third such program in the state of California, will begin July 2013. The new residency program is made possible through a $20,000 grant from Cardinal Health.
Leading the new residency program will be Nancy Chang, PharmD, a 2006 graduate of Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy.
The new residency will take place during the second post-graduate year (PGY2) for pharmacy students and will be centered at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.
Efforts to establish a PGY2 pediatric residency have been the brainchild of the dean of the School of Pharmacy, Billy Hughes, PhD, as well as Paul Norris, PharmD, and Norm Hamada, PharmD, of the LLU Medical Center.
The new pediatric residency program was promoted during the California Society of Health-system Pharmacists seminar, held in Las Vegas in October 2012, as well as the American Society of Health-system Pharmacists midyear meetings, also in Las Vegas in December 2012.
Adding a PGY2 pediatric residency program was the natural next step for the School of Pharmacy. Drs. Norris and Hamada have been maturing the level of pharmacy services in both the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU); and for several years pharmacy students have been completing clinical rotations in these specialties. In addition, Bill Brown, PharmD, has been providing pediatric oncology pharmacy services at LLU Children’s Hospital for more than 10 years.
As a member of the inaugural School of Pharmacy class of 2006, Dr. Chang is the ideal director for the PGY2 pediatric residency program for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, she experienced pediatric pharmacy as a resident pharmacist as well as a clinical pharmacist at LLUMC. Dr. Chang has served as a clinical pharmacist at LLU Children’s Hospital, specializing in the PICU. She also has vast experience working together with a large multidisciplinary team, drawing upon the skills and knowledge of a variety of health care professionals throughout LLUMC.
For Dr. Chang, the role of director of the pediatric residency will be both challenging and rewarding. “We need to always work toward being part of a multidisciplinary team that values pharmacists managing the drug treatment for our patients,” she says. “And it is so very rewarding to see the kids transfer out of the PICU and then become well enough to be discharged home.”
Accepting the position as director of the pediatric residency also comes with great responsibilities. “The most challenging aspect of being the director at this time is taking on the big roles of establishing a new program,” she continues. “We must explore new areas where pharmacists can be effectively involved in the multi-disciplinary medical team dealing with patient care.”
She predicts, “It will be important to provide opportunities for our resident pharmacists to network professionally across the medical center in a manner that emphasizes quality care. We have to do this and much more, while all the time staying focused on the mission of the medical center and the lives of the people we serve.”
The LLU Children’s Hospital has pharmacy specialists in the NICU, PICU, cardiac transplant, and pediatric hematology/oncology areas. Pediatric pharmacy residents can expect to work closely with experienced pharmacists and other health care professionals within these pediatric specialty areas, as well as with a variety of specialties both in the inpatient and outpatient care settings.