Pharmacy Practice Residency at Tucson Medical Center


The Pharmacy Residency

Frequently Asked Quesitons

Preceptor Biographies

Application Process

The Hospital

TMC Pharmacy

Pharmacy Accomplishments

Tucson Housing & Activities


The Pharmacy Residency

Pharmacy Staff.jpgThe general practice pharmacy residency (PGY1) program started in 1993 and has trained more than 35 pharmacists through 2017. Three positions are available for a 12-month residency starting in the last week of June.

The program is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and is part of the ASHP Midyear Residency Showcase and the ASHP Resident Matching Program.

At TMC, residents practice as a respected team member, contributing to the management and development of the entire department. There are many opportunities to work with interdisciplinary teams. We also offer countless teaching opportunities with many different disciplines in a variety of venues with options of teaching certificate programs (community or academic).

Our residency program is unique in that it allows the resident flexibility to individualize the program to meet personal goals and aspirations. Arrangements can be made for special interests. Rotations can also be chosen from the list below. Longitudinal rotations occur for one week every quarter.


  • Adult Medicine
  • Adult Surgery
  • Women’s Health/ Pediatrics/PICU/NICU
  • Adult Intensive Care
  • Administrative/management (longitudinal)
  • Research Project (longitudinal)
  • Physician Office-Based Ambulatory Care (longitudinal)
  • Staffing (two weeks, then every other weekend)


  • Adult Cardiac
  • Nutrition Support
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infectious Disease
  • Intravenous Admixture
  • Emergency Department
  • Hospice/Palliative Care
  • Pain Management Team
  • Adult Neurology
  • Glycemic Management

Teaching opportunities for residents include either a teaching certificate at TMC with a community focus or teaching certificate with the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy with an academic focus. There is also mentoring and precepting opportunities with students from the UA and other colleges of pharmacy, facilitating case study, topic discussions and patient presentations, providing educational in-services to inpatient pharmacy, nursing and ancillary staff, as well as the community. A formal one-hour continuing education lecture is presented to the staff along with presentations during rotations.

Staffing is required every other weekend and includes both central verification and clinical duties.

A residency project is required with the summary and results presented at the Western States Residency Conference.

TMC offers many benefits and bonuses to its residents, including:

  • Competitive salary
  • Lunch allowance
  • Accruable paid time off (for vacation and sick leave)
  • Health benefits
  • Educational leave
  • Designated work space in pharmacy -- with computers and cell phones
  • Travel allowance/Registration: ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting and Western States Residency Conference


Frequently Asked Questions

Where do the residents go after their residency?

How long do rotations last and how flexible are they?

What makes pharmacists choose to work at TMC and what makes them stay?

How long is the pain-management rotation and what will I learn?

How many weekends do the residents have to work and do they get compensation time?

What is the deadline for becoming licensed?

What is Tucson Medical Center looking for in a residency candidate?

Do residents receive vacation time?

What does a typical day on pediatrics look like?

How often does the resident receive feedback from the preceptor?


Preceptor Biographies


Primary Preceptor Bio


Gilbert V. Romero, RPh, graduated from the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy in 1979. He started working at TMC in 1981 as a staff pharmacist and helped roll out the decentralized pharmacy model a year later. Since then he has been the assistant manager, manager of operations, director of TMC Pharmacy and trained as a Six Sigma master black belt for quality improvement. He received the Preceptor of the Year Award from the UA College of Pharmacy in 2003. He has been the director since 2008 and precepts the residents on the Administration rotation.

Adult Cardiology

David Lazo, PharmD, graduated from the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy in 2013. He completed his PGY1 at Tucson Medical Center from 2013-14 and has stayed on as a clinical pharmacist. He is the main preceptor for the Adult Cardiac rotation and is also a member of the Glycemic Care Team. He has received many service awards within TMC.

Adult Medicine

Ilan Chao, PharmD, BCPS, is the clinical pharmacy specialist in internal medicine at Tucson Medical Center. She graduated from the UA in 2010 and completed a PGY1 at the University of Washington in 2011. She precepts PGY1 pharmacy residents in Adult Medicine (Primary), Adult Surgery, Critical Care and Nutritional Support. 

Adult Neurology

Beena Vemulapalli, PharmD, graduated from the UA College of Pharmacy in 2014. She completed her PGY1 residency training at Tucson Medical Center from 2014-15 and has been serving as a clinical pharmacist at Tucson Medical Center since then. She is the resident preceptor for the Adult Neurology rotation. She also serves as a pharmacist for the Pain Management Team.

Adult Surgical

Samantha Penn, Pharm D, graduated from the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy in 2014. She completed her PGY1 residency a year later at TMC and stayed. She is the resident preceptor for the Adult Surgical rotation.


Zachary Hodges, PharmD, BCCCP, graduated from the UA College of Pharmacy in 2007 and then went on to complete a PGY1 at TMC in 2008. He has worked in the intensive care unit and helped found/precept the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program and Infectious Disease rotation. In 2015, he took the position of Emergency Medicine pharmacy specialist and is now the primary preceptor for the Emergency Department and assists in the ICU as needed.


Linda Pelger, PharmD, graduated from the UA with a bachelor's of science degree in Pharmacy in 1986. She earned her doctorate of pharmacy from Chicago Midwestern University in 2000. She has worked at TMC since 1988 in various capacities. Her current specialty is diabetes care in the hospital setting. She obtained her board certification in advance diabetes management in 2012 and has been a certified diabetes educator since 2015. She is the primary preceptor for the Glycemic Management rotation. Her goal is to provide education and support to the hospital community so that patients with diabetes are optimally managed from admission through discharge. 


Maggi Beach, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP, graduated from Midwestern University College of Pharmacy - Glendale in 2008. She completed a PGY1 residency at TMC and stayed. She works primarily in the ICU and is the primary preceptor for the Critical Care rotation. Outside the ICU, she instituted clinical pharmacy services for TMC Hospice in 2009 and is the primary preceptor for the Hospice/Palliative Care rotation as well. Both rotations feature multidisciplinary treatment teams and a lot of interaction with various providers.


Clark Force, RPh, BCPS, graduated from Oregon State University College of Pharmacy in 1993. He was the first to complete the pharmacy practice residency at Providence Health System in Portland, Oregon, in 1994. Force has more than 15 years experience in adult critical care and has been the pharmacy lead for the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program since 2011. He is the preceptor for the ASP/Infectious Disease rotation.


Rosalee Blair, PharmD. graduated from the UA College of Pharmacy in 2005. She has worked at TMC since graduation and has worked in Adult Medicine, Adult Surgery and on the Nutrition Support Team. She now works primarily in the IV admixture room and the operating room satellite pharmacy. She is one of the lead IV room pharmacists, working on many projects pertaining to sterile products, and is the primary preceptor for the IV Admixture rotation.

New Pueblo Medicine

Eric Bergstrom, PharmD, graduated from the UA College of Pharmacy in 1993. He was the first to implement and complete the PGY1 residency at TMC from 1993-94 and has worked in all clinical areas. In 2002 he became the clinical lead pharmacist and has been awarded Preceptor of the Year from the UA College of Pharmacy multiple times. He also received the 2017 Danny and Rae Jacob Award from the UA College of Pharmacy. He is the resident preceptor for Ambulatory Care at New Pueblo Medicine and also assists the residency program director with resident orientation and program management duties as well as the teaching certificate program. He manages pharmacy students from multiple colleges, and coordinates nursing and community education and outreach programs.

Nutrition Support Team

Brian Strang, PharmD, BCNSP, CNSC, BCGP, BCPS, CPE, BCCCP, FASCP, is a clinical pharmacy specialist in Nutrition Support and has been at TMC since graduating from the UA College of Pharmacy in 2004. He is the primary resident preceptor for the Nutrition Support elective rotation and helps to coordinate the Pharmacy Resident Clinical and Community Teaching and Learning Certificate Program. He has worked in all clinical areas since starting at TMC, and currently focuses on nutrition support, hospice and pain management. Since 2006, Brian has been actively involved with the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, National Board of Nutrition Support Certification, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, American College of Clinical Pharmacy and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and has held numerous national positions within several of these organizations.


Susan Thompson, PharmD, graduated from the UA College of Pharmacy in 2004. She has been a pharmacist at TMC since graduation, working in various clinical areas. Thompson has been the clinical pharmacy specialist for pain management since 2016 and is the resident preceptor for the pain management rotation. She is board-certified in psychiatric pharmacy and a certified pain educator.


Holly Peterson, PharmD, graduated from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy in 2005. She completed a PGY1 residency at TMC in 2005-06. She has been the clinical pharmacy specialist for Women’s & Children's Services since 2016. She is the primary preceptor for Pediatrics and also helps precept students and residents on the Nutrition Support rotation.


Robert Wolk, PharmD, graduated from the University of California San Francisco College of Pharmacy in 1982. He completed a PGY1 residency at the University of Michigan in 1983. He stayed at UM as a clinical pharmacist, primarily in nutrition support. In 1989 he became the Nutrition Support Team coordinator at TMC. He developed the NST to include a PICC and VAT service. In 1998 he became the manager of the NST and IV Room Services. In 2000 he became the manager of TMC Pharmacy Clinical and Education Services and director of the residency program. He precepts the residency research rotation and co-precepts the orientation of residents.


Claudia L. Koreny, PharmD, graduated from the UA College of Pharmacy in 2001. She has worked at TMC since 1993. Her work in several clinical areas of led her to become the manager of Pharmacy Operations in 2008. She is currently involved in organizational quality improvement initiatives and chairs the Glycemic Oversight Committee. She is the preceptor for the Staffing and Administration rotations.


Application Process

The application deadline is Friday, Jan. 5, 2018.

We only accept applications through PhORCAS via ASHP at

Applicants will be reviewed and contacted for onsite interviews. The interviews are typically held in late
January and early February. For questions please contact Robert Wolk, Residency Program director, or Eric
Bergstrom, residency coordinator/clinical lead pharmacist.

The Hospital

Tucson Medical Center is the largest hospital in Southern Arizona with more than 600 beds.

It is a nonprofit community teaching hospital with a fully electronic medical record, barcode medication administration and computerized provider order entry, making it one of the few HIMSS stage 7 hospitals in the world.

TMC provides the following services: level 3 newborn ICU; adult and pediatric ICUs; pediatrics; general medicine; general, orthopedic, neurology and women's surgery; outpatient clinics for wound, pain, cardiac rehabilitation and infusion therapy; level 2 trauma in adult and pediatric emergency; and inpatient and outpatient hospice care.

TMC Pharmacy

TMC Pharmacy is committed to the responsible provision of medication therapy for the purpose of achieving defined outcomes that optimize a patient’s quality of life. Pharmacy provides comprehensive and integrated distributive and clinical pharmacy services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The department is fully responsible for processing, delivering and monitoring drug therapy on all patients. Inpatient pharmacy services are organized using a combination of centralized and decentralized patient-focused care models with automated drug availability on all patient care units.

Pharmacy_Residency_2.jpgAbout the Department

  • Staffing includes approximately 40 pharmacists, 40 technicians, three residents and eight interns
  • Clinical services provided in adult medicine, adult surgery, adult cardiac, intensive care areas, women’s care, pediatric and hospice.
  • Specialty services include nutrition support service, antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP), emergency department and a pain management team.
  • Management consists of the pharmacy director, managers of operations, clinical services, business and technicians.
  • Support staff includes electronic health record and automated dispensing system analysts, informatics
    pharmacists, clinical lead pharmacist and computer programmers.


Pharmacy Accomplishments

1962 – First Arizona round-the-clock hospital pharmacy coverage
1982 – Decentralized pharmacists to the nursing units
1988 – Decentralized pharmacy technicians – enhance distribution
1993 – Started PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency program
1996 – Automated dispensing cabinets house-wide for ALL doses
2002 – Added second PGY1 Pharmacy Resident
2002 – Epic Rx (Willow) developed in conjunction with TMC
2003 – First acute-care hospital nationally to go live with Epic Rx (Willow)
2006 – Designed with Epic and implemented Clinical Scoring Tool Acuity for clinical pharmacists
2008 – Clinical pharmacy technicians enter medication history
2010 – CPOE and BCMA implemented - average medication order turnaround time: 9.96 min
2011 – Pharmacy Pain Team implemented
2014 – Added third PGY1 pharmacy resident
2015 – Implemented Glycemic Management Team

Tucson Housing & Activities

Find many fun and exciting activities in Tucson and surrounding areas. Some of our favorites activities to help acquaint you to the area:

Relocation Guide from the Greater Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

Things to Do Around Tucson - Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau