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Upstate has largest class in its pharmacy residency program

SYRACUSE, N.Y.--This week is National Hospital and Health System Pharmacy Week, which acknowledges the contributions that pharmacists and technicians make to patient care.

Recognizing the value that pharmacists add in managing drug therapies, especially in academic medical centers like Upstate Medical University, has led to changes in pharmacy education and highlighted the need for advanced patient care training.

Upstate University Hospital serves as a training site for students from more than 10 pharmacy schools--including the University at Albany and the University at Buffalo. Pharmacy residency programs providing intensive postgraduate training in hospital pharmacy and various subspecialties have experienced an uptick in recent years. Upstate currently has six pharmacy residents in their first postgraduate year, representing the largest class size since the program’s inception in 1998.

“Contributing to the training of pharmacists allows us to enable pharmacy leaders for the future,” explains Luke Probst, Pharm.D., pharmacy residency coordinator. “The development of clinical specialty programs for pharmacists helps us to meet highly specified needs in patient care and nurture expertise in drug therapy management skills required of a specialized pharmacist.”

Residents at Upstate not only contribute to patient care, but are also active in quality improvement efforts, medication-related research projects, multidisciplinary team rounds and the education of peers through presentations and patient-specific interventions. Management and administrative skills are also honed, creating opportunities for residents to take their careers in multiple directions.

The American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists, a national professional organization, administers accreditation for pharmacy residency programs. This group is focused on advancing and supporting the role of pharmacists in health care organizations and helping to ensure the best use of medications. In addition to its accredited pharmacy residency, Upstate has accredited specialized residency programs in Pediatric Pharmacy, Ambulatory Care and Pharmacotherapy. The program has graduated more than 40 pharmacists overall.

To learn more about the Upstate Pharmacy Department and Pharmacy Week, visit the team in the second floor lobby and small cafeteria on Oct. 22 and Oct. 26. There will be a basket raffle with all proceeds benefiting the Upstate Cancer Center.

Caption: Gregory Cwikla of Pharmacy Services at Upstate University Hospital.