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Atrius Health Residency Program

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS)/Atrius Health Postgraduate Year 1 Residency Program


The MCPHS/Atrius Health Residency is a structured, one-year postgraduate educational and training program that fosters the development of advanced knowledge and skill in the delivery of ambulatory/managed care clinical pharmacy services within a non-profit alliance of community-based medical groups. The residency consists of experiences and rotations in key areas of clinical practice, administration, and academia. The fundamental goal of the residency is to attract and develop pharmacists whose talents and motivation indicate a strong potential for assuming leadership roles in clinical pharmacy, managed care, and/or academia.

The residency was established in 1991. It is the first program of its kind to be accredited under the current standard of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) for pharmacy residencies with an emphasis on managed care. The program has also incorporated the ASHP residency learning system (RLS) as part of the program. From its inception, the residency has been affiliated with MCPHS, the second oldest University of pharmacy in the United States and a leader in career preparation in pharmacy practice, nursing, nuclear medicine, and other allied health professions.

Atrius Health, an innovative nonprofit healthcare leader, delivers an effective system of connected care for more than 745,000 adult and pediatric patients at 31 medical practice locations in eastern and central Massachusetts. There is a focus on providing high-quality, patient-centered, coordinated, cost effective care to every patient served.  Atrius Health is an accountable care organization as part of the Next Generation ACO Model where health care providers share a common vision of improving care and by providing high quality, coordinated care to patients with Medicare. Atrius Health also has a long-standing teaching mission sustained by the commitment of talented clinicians and connections to medical schools and teaching hospitals.

During the twelve-month program, the resident completes a variety of rotations to gain both patient care and practice management experience. Rotations consist of Patient Counseling and Pharmacy Operations, Clinical Pharmacy Administration, Drug Information, Anticoagulation, and Direct Patient Care Rotations. One of the direct patient care rotations has a focus in Informatics where the resident will learn the duties and tasks involved in maintaining the EMR, EpicCare, tools for Internal Medicine and the whole organization. The resident will also complete one elective rotation which is determined according to the resident’s interests and career aspirations. Furthermore, the resident will serve as an Instructor of Pharmacy Practice at MCPHS with longitudinal teaching responsibilities.

The resident plans, conducts, and completes a major year-long research project. He/she makes a formal presentation of research methods and results before his or her peers and faculty at the annual MCPHS Residency/Fellowship End-of-Year Presentation program. The resident will also have the opportunity to present at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in December of each year. Upon completion of the residency, the resident will submit their research project for publication to a reputable pharmacy journal.

The resident also provides dispensing, drug information, and patient counseling services at one of Atrius Health’s largest and busiest pharmacies where about 10-12K prescriptions are filled per month.

Throughout every rotation the resident is precepted by a pharmacist who is a specialist in the area of that rotation. Pharmacists who have completed the MCPHS/Atrius Health residency have advanced successfully in careers in pharmacy management, pharmacy benefit administration, formulary development, clinical practice, and academia. The list of practice sites for residency graduates is impressive and includes health-systems such as Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Wake Forest Baptist Health, United Health Care, Tufts Health Plan, Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan, Atrius Health, BayCare Health System, Commonwealth Medicine, and various academic institutions. MCPHS/Atrius Health residents are well prepared to advance the profession's impact on the quality and effectiveness of pharmacy services in a multitude of pharmacy/academic settings for years to come.

About this Residency

Pharmacists completing the PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency will be proficient and confident practitioners of pharmaceutical care in multiple healthcare environments, particularly ambulatory and managed care. They will be accountable for achieving optimal drug therapy outcomes as members of the healthcare team. The resident will exercise skill in educating other healthcare professionals, patients, students, and the community on drug-related topics. They will demonstrate professional maturity by following a personal philosophy of practice, monitoring their own performance, and exhibiting commitment to the profession.


  • Understand the role of clinical pharmacists in the setting of a managed care/ambulatory care organization.
  • Develop an appreciation for various teaching styles while being exposed to different areas of academia.
  • Collaborate with clinical pharmacy staff to provide educational resources for patients and practitioners.
  • Strengthen skills in the areas of pharmacy administration, disease state management, drug information, synthesis and analysis of clinical information and development of clinical care plans.
  • Refine communication and time management skills.
  • Development, implement and analyze data of a year long, publishable research project.
  • Demonstrate self-directed learning and personal development through self reflection, evaluation and feedback.


Kathy Zaiken, PharmD
Residency Program Director

Dr. Zaiken is a Professor of Pharmacy Practice at MCPHS. She received her PharmD in 2001 from Northeastern University, and completed a Community Pharmacy Practice Residency at Walgreens Patient Care Center in Boston. Dr. Zaiken maintains a practice site at Atrius Health in Beverly. Her areas of interest include chronic and ambulatory care disease states such as diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, asthma, and smoking cessation. She has extensive experience precepting both PharmD students and pharmacy practice residents.

Required Learning Experiences

Patient Counseling and Pharmacy Operations

This rotation will occur during the first 3 weeks of the residency program at an Atrius Health Pharmacy. The role of the resident during this rotation will be to check and dispense prescriptions and provide drug-related education to patients and clinicians. During this time, the resident will learn all systems, operations, and workflows required to be fully competent when completing staffing requirements during the remainder of the year. In addition, the resident will become fully versed in the use of the electronic medical record (EMR), clinical pharmacy resources, and drug information tools.

Clinical Pharmacy Administration

This rotation is a hybrid of virtual and in person meetings, where in person takes place at the clinical pharmacy administration office located in Watertown, MA and is for a period of 9 weeks. The Pharmacy Resident will be working closely with the Director of Primary Care Clinical Pharmacy and the Director of the Department, with involvement in the day to day operations of Clinical Pharmacy Administration including management of the services.

Drug Information

This rotation focuses on a variety of Drug Information (DI) activities, including the application of a systematic approach to evaluating and responding to DI consults, appropriate documentation methods, and use of high-quality DI resources. As one of the most valued functions of clinical pharmacy, this rotation is intended to assist and prepare the resident for providing optimal DI services during this residency and in a variety of practice settings thereafter. The resident will meet with the preceptor daily to review and respond to DI consults.

Direct Patient Care

During majority of the year, the resident will have rotations in Clinical Pharmacy Clinics in Internal Medicine departments at different sites. This will provide the resident with the opportunity to meet with a diverse patient population in a clinic setting to address medication-related concerns and chronic disease management. The resident will address optimizing/simplifying regimens, titrating doses, addressing adherence barriers, and providing disease management recommendations based on patient-specific factors. All treatment plans will be reviewed and approved by the preceptor and subsequently the primary care provider. The resident will also have the opportunity to follow-up and monitor patient outcomes. The resident will also work closely with the clinical pharmacist to provide the following at their respective sites:

  • Develop and present medication education to clinical staff through individual and/or group presentations
  • Promote clinical pharmacy-developed cost or quality initiatives
  • Address drug information questions
  • Develop recommendations and treatment plans during interdisciplinary roster reviews


During this rotation, the resident will work with the Informatics Clinical Pharmacists to enhance the use of the Epic EMR for the end-user. Specific tasks may include but are not limited to: management of Preference Lists, implementation of medication-related alerts, and development of guidance tools to encourage formulary prescribing. This will allow the resident to see how the use of EMR can be used to improve quality and safety of patient care.


The Anticoagulation Management Service (AMS) is an ambulatory rotation at Atrius Health. Residents will be provided with an overview of anticoagulation therapy management and work on developing skills focused on providing comprehensive patient care. These skills include evaluation and development of anticoagulation management plans for patients on both warfarin and direct oral anticoagulants and professional communication with fellow pharmacists, providers, and patients. The pharmacy resident will partner with experienced healthcare professionals (MDs, APCs, RNs and clinical support staff) to provide a team-based approach to deliver high quality and cost-effective care.  Clinical responsibilities will mirror daily AMS clinical pharmacist staff workflow for both warfarin and DOAC clinic. The resident will also be involved in the educational component of the AMS pharmacist position.

Teaching (Longitudinal)

The resident will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of longitudinal teaching experiences in the MCPHS Pharm.D. Program. The resident will be required to participate and complete all expectations of the Residency Teaching Certificate Program. The resident will serve as a facilitator in Pharmacotherapeutics seminar and as an Instructor in Advanced Practice Management Laboratory. In addition, the resident will have the opportunity to assist with precepting MCPHS students in the advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE). Lecturing opportunities will be available for the resident desire to gain didactic teaching experience. The resident will also prepare a one hour CE to be recorded for home study that is posted on the MCPHS CE webpage. The resident will have an academic appointment at the rank of Instructor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice.

Elective Rotations

The resident will complete a 1, 4-week elective in an area of their choice. Options include:

  • Pain Management
  • Ambulatory Care-Geriatrics
  • Behavioral Health
  • Cardiology
  • Internal Medicine

Sample Resident Schedule


  • MCPHS/Atrius Health Orientation
  • Patient Counseling and Pharmacy Operations Rotation

August – December

  • Clinical Pharmacy Administration Rotation
  • Drug Information Rotation
  • Direct Patient Care Rotation
  • Instructor for Advanced Practice Management Lab and Pharmacotherapeutics Seminar at MCPHS

January – May

  • Direct Patient Care Rotation
  • Direct Patient Care/Teaching Rotation
  • Direct Patient Care/Informatics Rotation
  • Anticoagulation Rotation
  • Instructor for Advanced Practice Management Lab and Pharmacotherapeutics Seminar at MCPHS


  • Elective Rotation