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April 24, 2014

Pharmacy introduces new community residency

The Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy will launch a new residence program in July 2014 focused on long-term care, compounding, travel vaccination/immunization and durable medical equipment. The new PGY1 community pharmacy residency is only the fourth of its kind in California, giving Loma Linda University an opportunity to become a leader and innovator in this area of health care.

During the program, the resident will earn a teaching certificate and rotate through various LLU-based clinical sites and five independent Pacific Pharmacy Group pharmacies.

Dr. Billy Hughes, dean of the School of Pharmacy, explained the genesis of the new program: "In the ACPE exit interview (October 2012) the visiting team suggested that more emphasis be placed on community pharmacy opportunities, including residencies."

The new residency program has been made possible through a gift of $70,000 from Pacific Pharmacy Group (PPG). PPG, based in Southern California, is an independent pharmaceutical group whose members have cumulatively served the community for over 165 years. The group places a strong emphasis on bringing pharmacists and other health care providers together to better serve their communities.

Dr. Gerard Rivera, a graduate of the 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. In recognition of his achievements, Dr. Rivera was named Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy 2014 Alumnus of the Year.

Dr. Rivera is credited with the introduction of PPG to the School of Pharmacy and the formation of this residency. "With the help of Dr. Naomi Florea, I connected my company, Pacific Pharmacy Group, with Loma Linda University Medical Center 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 Loma Linda Univeristy Medical Center, will serve as the program director.

"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," Dr. Hamada said.

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