Program Testimonials
Past Residents

I couldn’t be happier that I completed the PGY1 pharmacy practice residency at El Rio Health. When I started residency, I immediately felt welcomed into the various clinics and pharmacies. Providing direct patient care for patients within El Rio’s patient-centered medical home and completing projects that directly benefited the organization, such as writing a collaborative practice agreement and making a business plan, were highlights of my residency experience. There are many unique elective options to choose from; I completed the HIV, oncology, and inpatient psych electives through Banner University Medical Center.

The pharmacy and clinic teams are extremely supportive of residents and the culture at El Rio is unmatched. Additionally, the broad collaborative practice agreements and standing orders in the pharmacies allowed me to practice at the top of my license to provide excellent patient care. My residency experience provided me with a strong foundation of skills and knowledge to jumpstart my pharmacy career. I am currently completing a PGY2 ambulatory care residency at an HIV medical home in Wisconsin and my PGY1 experience at El Rio Health has prepared me well.

 Paige Edwards, PharmD, HIV/ID MTM Pharmacist at M Health Fairview in Minneapolis, MN, Graduating Class 2021 

I am so grateful to have completed the PGY1 pharmacy practice residency at El Rio Health. I immediately felt welcomed, supported, and encouraged to grow to my full potential both in the ambulatory care clinic and outpatient pharmacy settings available at El Rio. A few of my program highlights were working directly with patients to provide one-on-one patient care during my clinical training and working with providers to better fulfill our patients needs throughout the clinics. I truly felt empowered to utilize my abilities and license to the highest extent – further expanded through my participation in projects and writing a Collaborative Practice Agreement that continues to allow our pharmacists to better serve our patients.

With the support of pharmacy and clinic management and teams, I was able to grow not only as a pharmacist, but also as an individual. Without the support and knowledge passed down to me from El Rio preceptors, colleagues, and team members alike, I would not be the pharmacist I am today. At the completion of the PGY1 pharmacy practice residency at El Rio Health, I felt prepared and ready to step into a permanent position within an ambulatory care clinic or outpatient pharmacy. I am so thankful to continue my time with El Rio as an Advanced Practice Pharmacist.  

– Victoria Minnix, PharmD, Hybrid Pharmacist, El Rio Health, Graduating Class 2021

What caught my eyes about the PGY-1 pharmacy residency- Ambulatory Care Focus program at the University of Arizona COP/ El Rio Health is the variety of the experiences that the program provides such as different clinical rotation opportunities, quality improvement projects, and Academia. During my residency, I was able to practice and improve my knowledge and clinical skills in out-patient sittings. Additionally, my participation in the monthly quality improvement helped me to master my time management and presentation skills. The program helped me to be prepared to start my PGY-2 residency at University of Arizona COP/Banner University Medicine Banner – University Medical Center South Campus/ Endocrinology Clinic with confidence because the clinical experiences that I have had as a PGY-1 resident at El Rio Health which helped me to be dependable clinical pharmacist. 

– Hisham Alshammari, PharmD, Clinical instructor, University of Hail School of Pharmacy, Graduating Class 2020

My PGY-1 experience at El Rio Health was one of my most memorable pharmacy training opportunities to date. Although the Match process was daunting at the beginning, going through the process and matching with El Rio Health and the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy was truly meant to be! During my Residency year I had the opportunity to learn first-hand from incredible preceptors and unique rotation sites, not to mention the welcoming patients who we excited to be a part of my professional development. I completed multiple ambulatory care-focused rotations, in addition to having the chance to select several specialty elective rotations that were, to my desire, Inpatient pharmacy focused (including Solid Organ Transplant, Infectious Diseases, and Heart Failure). Moreover, the residency offered a unique opportunity to obtain a Teaching Certificate during longitudinal courses, preceptor developmental coaching, and group presentations. My favorite aspect of being an El Rio Health Resident was definitely working with my co-residents on a daily basis whether it was on a project, a P&T presentation, or patient workup for Friday Family Medicine Clinic. I am so fortunate to have built long lasting connections and everlasting friendships. I am truly thankful for my time at El Rio Health and the many memories created. The patient skills, clinical knowledge, and pharmacy experiences made have shaped me into the clinical pharmacist I am today. Thank you, El Rio!

Presently, I am a Clinic Administered Medications (CAM) pharmacist at Mayo Clinic Arizona. I helped pioneer this role upon joining the Mayo Clinic team post PGY-1 Residency. Within my role, I serve as a pharmacist resource and liaison for all Clinics and Departments within Mayo Clinic Scottsdale and Phoenix campuses as it relates to appropriate medication utilization and management. Each day I have the opportunity to collaborate with my colleagues in Nursing, Administration, and Pharmacy with the common goal of enhancing the Mayo Clinic patient experience and ensuring that indeed the needs of the patient come first! 

– Angela Coulter, PharmD, CAM Pharmacist, Mayo Clinic, Graduating Class 2019

My experiences at El Rio Community Healthcare Center provided an excellent foundation to build upon when I continued my second year of training at Methodist University Hospital. It is easy to notice how all the healthcare providers at El Rio are striving to provide exceptional and comprehensive healthcare services to a diverse and unique patient population. I was inspired by the number of times I have seen a healthcare provider at El Rio go beyond his/her daily tasks to ensure a high-quality care is being provided to all patients. I always felt that I was practicing at the top of my license with a great balance of autonomy and guidance. I can confidently say that El Rio provided me with the skills and knowledge base to be successful in any environment. When it comes to patient care, I still carry with me the high-level of dedication, work ethic, and innovation that I learn from training at El Rio. These values are taught and practiced at El Rio and that what makes training at El Rio stand out.

 Foud Bahamdain, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist, King Abdullah Medical City, Graduating Class 2019

The El Rio Health residency program helped me accomplish more than I could have ever imagined. As a resident, we were given significant autonomy and challenged to broaden the scope of Pharmacy. In the community track, I helped patients in a variety of settings and was integrated into an extremely collaborative health system. I draw from my residency experiences nearly every day in practice. Life after residency has been a whirlwind! Shortly after residency I transitioned to working as a Pharmacist at several El Rio pharmacies. Now, I am a full time Clinical Lab Pharmacist at Optum Specialty Pharmacy in Phoenix producing innovative cancer therapies and specialty medications. On top of it all, this past August, my husband and I welcomed our first child! I will forever be grateful to have matched with the PGY1 residency program at El Rio! 

– Jonis Munoz, PharmD, Anticoagulation Clinic Pharmacist, Mayo Clinic Phoenix, Graduating Class 2019

El Rio Health has a challenging yet rewarding PGY1 pharmacy residency program. Advantages to the program include the opportunity to provide exceptional care to underserved patients, contribute to the Patient Safety & Therapeutics (PS&T) Committee, become a preceptor for University of Arizona College of Pharmacy students, and obtain a teaching certificate. The pharmacy department at El Rio Health is always looking for ways to advance services and improve patient care. Pharmacy residents are able to play a big role in achieving this goal through their involvement in quality improvement projects and research. The preceptors and other healthcare providers at El Rio Health are personable, experienced, and knowledgeable. As a vital member of the interprofessional healthcare team, residents are provided with experiences that improve their clinical skills and encourage them to practice at the top of their license under a progressive collaborative practice agreement. After completing the program, I felt well-prepared to not only enter practice as an independent practitioner but also fulfill the rigorous standards for board certification.

– Joel Isais, PharmD, BCACP Clinical Pharmacist, MHC Healthcare, Graduating Class 2018

El Rio was able to provide an amazing, well-rounded experience for my PGY1 residency program.  It allowed me to grow both professionally and personally as well as create various memories and friendships that I will forever cherish.

The El Rio residency program provides various experiences in a diverse population and setting that gives back to the community, it is an ideal place to be for those wanting to help others.  The El Rio culture promotes excellent patient care and work environment. Being able to work with the other University of Arizona College of Pharmacy residents was also a great way to further expand our collaboration with other pharmacy specialties.  Participating in the teaching certificate program also allowed me to become more comfortable in my presentation and education skills.

Overall, the El Rio Residency Program is an excellent one that I would recommend to anyone in search of an ambulatory-focused residency program that promotes an integrative approach to health care for the community.

– Karem Lambeth, PharmD, BCACP, Clinical Specialist in Ambulatory Services, University Medical Center of El Paso Outpatient Clinics, Graduating Class 2017

The PGY1 Community Pharmacy Residency program provides an invaluable, well-rounded experience working with underserved patients in a variety of practice settings. The program fosters a positive environment that allows residents to work collaboratively, while the longitudinal projects help develop additional skills needed to provide quality care. Residents are also provided with an array of teaching opportunities to further their skillset. My experience at El Rio has had a lasting impact on my career and I highly recommend this program.

– Risha Patel, PharmD, BCACP, Clinical Pharmacist, Kaiser Permanente San Diego, Graduating Class 2017

I graduated from El Rio’s PGY1 residency program in 2015. I chose to join El Rio because the program was located in a community-based organization, served vulnerable patient populations and offered a breadth of rotations working with preceptors from a variety of training backgrounds. This program has very strong support within the organization and pharmacists are integrated across a continuum of patient care, allowing the program to offer some unique opportunities for training. Throughout the residency I regularly worked with practitioners in HIV, family medicine and internal medicine, training that helped me think more clinically and prepared me to build good rapport with my future clinic providers. The preceptors at El Rio are also very passionate for the care they provide, a quality that made going to each rotation very enjoyable. Overall, this program helped build the foundation on which I now see as the pillars of being an independent ambulatory care practitioner: critical thinking, leadership, communication, teaching, and knowledge. After graduating from the program, I continued working with El Rio in a family medicine clinic and the HIV clinic where I became board certified in ambulatory care (BCACP) and a certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES). I have recently started working as a consultant pharmacist for skilled nursing facilities where my ambulatory skills have transferred nicely.

– Dawne Cylwik, PharmD, CDE, BCACP, Clinical Pharmacist, MHC Healthcare, Graduating Class 2015

The PGY1 pharmacy residency program at El Rio Health Center allowed me to practice and apply my knowledge in a variety of healthcare settings. The highlight of my experience was dealing with high caliber preceptors, who are willing to give their time and effort to their residents; and helping patients in underserved areas. Being associated with one of the top pharmacy schools in the nation was a huge bonus, as it gave us access to a big cohort of coresidents, professors and an excellent teaching program. 

– Hussam Kutbi, PharmD, Vice Dean for training and pharmaceutical sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Graduating Class 2012