A Seventh-day Adventist Organization

Loma Linda University Pharmacy Residency Program: A Course of Growth

Residency program sees growth as both professional and organizational.

by Stephen Vodhanel, PhD

Loma Linda University pharmacy residency program began in 1995 with one resident working with the residency program director, Dr. Norm Hamada. During the year 2008, the pharmacy residency program became a joint collaboration between the Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy (LLUSP) and Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC). This enabled an opportunity for growth in a professional organization capable of accepting greater numbers of residents, while also providing a valuable learning experience for current residents. 

LLUSP and LLUMC have worked in tandem to create residency programs built on adequate infrastructure and driven by current market requirements for the specialization of pharmacist training. 

Students view the pharmacy residency program as an opportunity for professional growth. The clinical experiences within LLUMC provides pharmacy residents the opportunity to gain knowledge unattainable in most pharmacy settings. “I chose to come back to do a residency because I wanted to expand my clinical knowledge regarding the management of patients with a broad range of acute disease states. I also wanted to learn about pharmacy operations in the inpatient setting,” stated Ana Connor, PharmD, first year (PGY1) resident.

For Immanuel Ijo, PharmD, second year (PGY2) resident, the clinical setting of LLUMC provides experiential learning in a multidisciplinary setting, and the opportunity for professional growth by experiencing first-hand the patient-focused delivery of medical excellence across an array of infectious diseases. According to Dr. Ijo, learning comes through engaging with the team of pharmacists at LLUMC and direct patient care at the bedside.

Julie Thiry, PharmD, PGY1 resident, views the residency program as an opportunity to further develop and refine clinical skills as well as improve the decision making processes required to become a competent and autonomous pharmacist. Dr. Thiry is also looking for the opportunity to apply learned pharmacy skills across a wide spectrum of patients.

John Alpago, PharmD, PGY1 resident, adds “The reason why I chose to do a residency was to enhance my knowledge and confidence to become a proficient clinical pharmacist.” Dr. Alpago also stated that Loma Linda University’s commitment to develop the ‘whole person’ coupled with the wide variety of rotations was important to his choice of pharmacy residency programs. 

Currently, there are eleven pharmacists working in the residency program. However, “further expansion is always a discussion, our departments are large enough to allow for further growth,” stated Dr. Carl Dominguez, Pharmacy Residency Coordinator and Assistant Professor.

Seated left to right:
Farnoosh Zough, PharmD, University of Southern California, Class of 2011
Mai-Chi Hong, PharmD, Western University, Class of 2011
Ana Isabel Connor, PharmD, University of California San Diego, Class of 2009
Rebecca Lee, PharmD, University of Southern California, Class of2011
Immanuel Ijo, PharmD, University of Southern Nevada, Class of 2009
Ryan Koca, PharmD, University of Illinois at Chicago, Class of 2010
John Alpago, PharmD, University of Southern California, Class of 2011
Julie Thiry, PharmD, Creighton University, Class of 2010
Anna Lee, PharmD, Loma Linda University, Class of 2011
Huyentran Tran, PharmD, Loma Linda University, Class of 2010
Not shown: Cham Nguyen, PharmD, Loma Linda University, Class of 2010