CU Pharmacy ambulatory care residency program, faculty member recognized as best in country

By December 9, 2019In the News
Ambulatory Care Residency Program Director Joe Saseen, center, smiles for a photo with current residents (left to right) Navya Varshney, Vivian Cheng, Jennifer Tunoa and Joe Nardolillo.

A map hanging in Dr. Joe Saseen’s office at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is marked with pins in cities across the country, each representing former residents trained by the CU Pharmacy Ambulatory Care Residency Program.

Saseen, PharmD, the residency program director and vice chair of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, can look at the map and point out residents across the map, from a 2019 graduate who became a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to a former trainee who went on to become a department chair at Texas Tech University.

Many of the pins also represent several of CU Pharmacy’s own faculty members, who were trained by the program and hired to train dozens more residents and students.

The impact of PGY2 residency program is clear on a national level: The program is the recipient of two 2019 American Society of Health-System Pharmacist Residency Excellence Awards. The Ambulatory Care Program won the organization’s overall program award, and Associate Professor Joel Marrs, PharmD, was presented with the Preceptor Award.

“We submitted it sort of thinking, with a typical award, you need to submit it maybe three times before you actually get it,” Saseen said. “I was quite surprised that we won it after the first submission, and that made us all very happy and me quite proud of our program, our residents who have graduated and our preceptors.”

The residency program, established in 1995, builds on Doctor of Pharmacy education and PGY1 pharmacy residency programs to contribute to the development of clinical pharmacists in the specialized area of ambulatory care practice.

Joel Marrs, PharmD, accepts the Residency Excellence Preceptor Award.

Marrs, PharmD, who has been with the University of Colorado since 2009, completed his second-year residency with CU in 2005. As part of his role, he works with and mentors residents and fourth-year CU Pharmacy students. The team often works with patients who have chronic hypertension, chronic anticoagulation, diabetes and more.

Marrs said he was surprised and humbled to learn he won the award.

“I think there are numerous qualified and excellent preceptors across the nation, and so it was a very humbling experience to be recognized with this award,” Marrs said. “It’s been a passion for many, many years.”

He added: “It’s exciting that the program is being recognized as an established and solid program that has put out excellent ambulatory practitioners all across the nation, as well as being recognized as an individual preceptor.”

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