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Atrius Health Residency Program

MCPHS University/Atrius Health Postgraduate Year 1 Residency Program


The MCPHS University/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 University, 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 is a nonprofit healthcare leader delivering a system of connected care. With 36 clinical locations, more than 50 specialties and 900 physicians, we provide proactive, customized care to more than 740,000 adult and pediatric patients across eastern Massachusetts. Atrius Health has a longstanding teaching mission and connections to Harvard Medical School (HMS) and other academic institutions in Boston. 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 Operations, Clinical Pharmacy Administration, and Direct Patient Care Rotations. Two of the Direct Patient Care Rotations will have a focus in Behavioral Health and Informatics. The resident will also complete two elective rotations which are determined according to the resident’s interests and career aspirations. Furthermore, the resident will serve as an Instructor of Pharmacy Practice at MCPHS University 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 University 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 up to 1,200 prescriptions are filled daily.

Throughout every rotation the resident is precepted by a pharmacist who is a specialist in the area of that rotation and by clinicians and administrators of Atrius Health.

Pharmacists who have completed the MCPHS University/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 University/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 University. 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 and Peabody. 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 Operations

This rotation will occur during the first 4 weeks of the residency program at a Harvard Vanguard 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 takes place at the clinical pharmacy administration office of Harvard Vanguard located in an administrative building in Watertown, MA for 8 weeks. The resident participates in formulary management, drug prescribing data analysis and reporting, answering drug information requests, P&T committee drug reviews and presentations, drug utilization committees, and specific drug prescribing intervention projects. The resident accompanies the clinical management staff to all meetings and is involved in all ongoing projects. This rotation builds skill in drug information, medical writing, project management, data analysis, and formulary/drug benefit decision-making.

Direct Patient Care

The six week rotation will occur 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 in chronic disease states. The resident will address optimizing/simplifying regimens, titrating doses, addressing adherence barriers, and providing disease management recommendations based on patient-specific factors. All 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. . Furthermore, the resident serves as a drug information resource for patients and clinicians. The resident will also work closely with the clinical pharmacist in the following areas:

  • Develop and present educational pieces to clinical staff through individual and group presentations
  • Promote pharmacy-developed cost-containment initiatives
  • Assist in the development of disease-specific treatment guidelines
  • Participate in Atrius Health’s Onboarding program
  • Develop recommendations and treatment plans during interdisciplinary patient reviews


During this six week 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.

Teaching (Longitudinal)

The resident will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of longitudinal teaching experiences in the MCPHS University 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 University 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 University 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 2, 4-week electives or 1, 8-week elective in an area of their choice. Options include:

  • Inpatient medicine
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Psychiatry
  • Cardiology
  • Pain management

Sample Resident Schedule


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

August – December

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

January – April

  • Direct Patient Care Rotation
  • Direct Patient Care/Behavioral Health
  • Direct Patient Care/Informatics Rotation
  • Instructor for Advanced Practice Management Lab and Pharmacotherapeutics Seminar at MCPHS University

May –June

  • Elective Rotations