by Rathyna Gomer
The new residency program, which begins July 2014, is made possible through the gracious funding of $70,000 from the Pacific Pharmacy Group. Dr. Billy Hughes, LLUSP Dean, explains that, “In the ACPE exit interview (October 2012) the visiting team suggested that more emphasis be placed on community pharmacy opportunities, including residencies.” The new PGY1 Community Pharmacy Residency is only the fourth of its kind in the state of California, allowing Loma Linda University to become a leader and innovator in this area of healthcare.
Pacific Pharmacy Group (PPG), based in Southern California, is an independent pharmaceutical group that has served the community for over 165 years combined. This group places a strong emphasis in bringing pharmacists and additional healthcare providers together to better serve their communities.
Dr. Gerard Rivera, Class of 2011, will serve as the Residency Coordinator for the PGY1 Community Pharmacy Residency. Dr. Rivera was named Director of Pharmacy of PPG in November 2013 after serving as a Pharmacist in Charge at Newport Lido Pharmacy (one of PPG’s independent pharmacies) for over a year. Dr. Rivera was recently named LLUSP Alumnus of the Year for 2014.
Dr. Naomi Florea, Chair of the Department of Experiential and Continuing Education, reaffirms Dr. Rivera’s accolades. She says, “Dr. Rivera has strong leadership and interpersonal skills. In addition, he has proven to be astute at managing an independent pharmacy and creating significant growth in sales within the company.”
Dr. Rivera is to be largely credited with the introduction of PPG to LLUSP and the formation of this residency altogether. He says, “With the help of Dr. Naomi Florea, I connected my company, Pacific Pharmacy Group, with Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC) and the Veterans Affairs Loma Linda Healthcare System. After discussing the benefits of this collaboration, PPG decided to fund the entire residency.”
Dr. Norm Hamada, Director of Clinical Pharmacy Services at LLUMC, will serve as the Program Director. He explains, “This will be a program that will benefit both the resident and the program coordinators. The resident will be in a better position to manage an outpatient operation upon completion of the program and, at the same time, will help develop new programs at rotation sites. This will be a unique opportunity for a resident to experience many different outpatient practice settings as well as academic settings.”
The PGY1 Community Pharmacy Residency program is quite diverse. During the program, the resident will earn a teaching certificate and rotate through various LLU-based clinical sites and five independent PPG pharmacies. The rotations will focus on long-term care, compounding, travel vaccination/immunization, and durable medical equipment. The residency is geared towards helping LLUSP students and graduates grow as professionals, and supplement the learning opportunities gained at LLUSP.