Ambulatory Care - Psychiatric Pharmacy Residency

Post-graduate year one (PGY1) Pharmacy Residency- Ambulatory Care/Psychiatric Pharmacy

The purpose of the PGY1 Pharmacy Residency Program in Ambulatory Care and Psychiatry at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy is to build on the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) education and outcomes to contribute to the development of clinical pharmacists who are responsible for comprehensive medical management of patients with a wide range of conditions, including behavioral health disorders.

This PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at USC provides residents with comprehensive pharmacy practice training and experience in a variety of ambulatory care settings including a longitudinal experience in psychiatric clinic. A 6-week inpatient psychiatry experience is built into the first half of the residency to provide the resident with enough exposure to confirm their intention to pre-commit to the PGY2 psychiatric residency.

This program provides residents with comprehensive pharmacy practice training and experience in a variety of ambulatory care settings and prepares residents to:

  • Implement or advance  outpatient comprehensive medication management programs in any setting including community/safety net clinics, government-run healthcare organizations, outpatient pharmacies, hospital-based clinics, remote telehealth programs, health-maintenance organizations, and accountable care organizations by aligning organization needs with appropriate clinical pharmacy services and resources.
  • Serve as an adjunct professor in a school of pharmacy and progress towards joining the faculty of a school of pharmacy. Completion of this residency program will result in the development of basic skills in clinical practice, teaching (including a teaching certificate), and research, all of which are key elements of university employment.
  • Enter into USC’s PGY2 Psychiatric Pharmacy Residency Program to further develop knowledge and skills necessary for a career in psychiatric pharmacy practice. This position has the option to pre-commit to the PGY-2 psychiatric pharmacy residency position. The faculty and resident make this decision in November of the PGY-1 year.

Graduates of USC’s PGY1/PGY2 psychiatric pharmacy program have pursued careers in academia, clinical practice, managed care, industry and pharmacy administration.

Practice Settings and Required Learning Experiences

Chronic disease state management training is acquired in a variety of unique training sites including: (1) Edward R. Roybal Comprehensive Health Center (ERRCHC), (2) Keck Medical Center of USC Internal Medicine Clinic, (3) Los Angeles County (LAC) Cardiology Outpatient Clinic, (4) LAC Geriatrics Outpatient Clinic, (5) QueensCare Family Clinics (safety net), (6) AltaMed Health Services Telehealth Clinical Pharmacy Services (safety net), and (7) local community pharmacy MTM management. These sites expose residents to the challenges of managing high-risk patients with a complex set of chronic conditions. Residents will gain experience managing a broad range of chronic conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, asthma / COPD, heart failure, anticoagulation, HIV, and hepatitis C.

Additional emphasis is placed on managing chronic illnesses for patients who cannot afford to pay for medical services or medication. Residents will learn to overcome challenging socioeconomic and cultural barriers. Our safety net clinics have been recognized by 3 national organizations for clinical pharmacy practice excellence (ASHP, APhA, AACP). Our program developed a tool that is being used nationally by healthcare organizations to track medication therapy interventions and describe the medication-related problems (including medication safety issues) identified and resolved by pharmacists. Residents in this program are consistently involved in the development and enhancement of clinical pharmacy services in new and established practice settings. Each year brings new opportunities for growth and practice expansion.

Each resident’s schedule is customized to their specific goals and areas of interest, while maintaining a strong basis in comprehensive disease management. Residents will do block rotations ranging from 10-14 weeks.

Goals for this set of learning experiences are to:

Competency Area R1: Patient Care

GOAL R1.1 In collaboration with the health care team, provide safe and effective patient care to a diverse range of patients, including those with multiple co-morbidities, high-risk medication regimens, Comand multiple medications following a consistent patient care process.

GOAL R1.2 Ensure continuity of care during patient transitions between care settings.

GOAL R1.3 Prepare, dispense, and manage medications to support safe and effective drug therapy for patients.

       Competency Area R2: Advancing Practice and Improving Patient Care

GOAL R2.1: Demonstrate ability to manage formulary and medication-use processes, as applicable to the organization.

GOAL R2.2 Demonstrate ability to evaluate and investigate practice, review data, and assimilate scientific evidence to improve patient care and/or the medication use system.

Competency Area R3:  Leadership and Management

GOAL R3.1 Demonstrate leadership skills.

GOAL R3.2 Demonstrate management skills.

Competency Area R4: Teaching, Education, and Dissemination of Knowledge

GOAL R4.1 Provide effective medication and practice-related education to patients, caregivers, health care professionals, students, and the public.

GOAL R4.2 Effectively employs appropriate preceptors’ roles when engaged in teaching.

USC School of Pharmacy has a history of excellence in psychiatric pharmacy residency training since the first residency was offered in 1974. The PGY-1 Ambulatory Care/Psychiatry resident will begin their psychiatric pharmacy training in two unique practice settings. The resident will complete a longitudinal experience in LAC+USC’s outpatient psychiatric clinic under the supervision of psychiatric pharmacy faculty and attending psychiatrists. The resident will also spend 6 weeks in inpatient psychiatry as part of a multidisciplinary treatment team in order to develop skills in acute care patient assessment and the pharmacotherapeutic management of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression with psychosis and substance abuse.

Required Longitudinal Learning Experiences

Psychiatric Pharmacy Clinic

The PGY1 Ambulatory Care/Psychiatric pharmacy resident will provide comprehensive medication management at LAC+USC’s psychiatric clinic under the supervision of psychiatric pharmacy faculty and attending psychiatrists. The resident will also take part in discussions and seminars provided by USC Keck School of Medicine’s department of psychiatry.


All residents in the School of Pharmacy program participate in various patient care, teaching and educational activities, including:

  • Coordinating courses with faculty mentors
  • Giving lectures and conducting small group discussions for first, second and third year pharmacy students
  • Serving as a preceptor, role model, and discussion leader for students during IPPEs and APPEs

In addition, a teaching certificate is offered which requires specific teaching activities and evaluation of these activities. The teaching certificate offered by USC is consistent with national pharmacy education standards.

The goals for this learning experience, assessed longitudinally during the residency year, include:

Goal E6.1 Demonstrate foundational knowledge of teaching, learning, and assessment in healthcare education.

Goal E6.2 Develops and practices a philosophy of teaching.


Research classes and seminars are provided to residents to assist them in developing high quality clinical research projects. Residents and preceptors collaborate on the selection and development of their research project. During the year, residents are required to:

  • Complete a residency project
  • Present the project’s findings at the Western States Conference for Pharmacy Residents, Fellows and Preceptors
  • Submit a manuscript for publication prior to the end of the residency

Specific goals for this learning experience are:

Goal E1.1 Conduct and analyze results of pharmacy research.

Elective Learning Experiences

Elective learning experiences are available both within USC and its affiliates. Syllabi and learning goals for these experiences are provided directly from the primary preceptor. For the most part, residents in this program will be using their elective time for the previously described psychiatric experiences.

Electives are integrated into the longitudinal schedule (e.g., 1 day per week for 12 weeks) or provided as a separate block (e.g., 3 to 4 weeks at the elective practice site), depending on the particular elective. The residents may choose up to 2 elective experiences, but more may be provided depending on each resident’s particular goals.

Resident Training Seminars

Residents in the USC programs receive expert training on a variety of important topics through weekly residency seminars and monthly meetings that include all preceptors and residents. Topics presented include:

  • Instruction on being an effective teacher and small group discussion leader
  • Research design and methodology, including presentation skills
  • Physical assessment skills
  • Journal clubs – The residents maintain a journal surveillance program, identifying and sharing articles relevant to ambulatory care practice. Each resident is assigned one or two journals to follow, rotating throughout the year. The articles are shared and discussed via Google Groups with all residents and affiliated ambulatory care faculty.
  • Updates on recently approved medications or therapeutic controversies
  • Overview of healthcare reform initiatives and legislation and the impact of clinical pharmacy practice
  • Grantsmanship

Contact Us

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact:

Michelle Chu, PharmD, CDE, BCACP
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy
1540 Alcazar Street, CHP 217-D
Los Angeles, California 90089-9003
Telephone: (323) 442-1556

Julie A. Dopheide, PharmD, BCPP
Program Director, PGY2 Psychiatric Pharmacy Residency
Professor of Clinical Pharmacy
1985 Zonal Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90089-9121
Telephone: (323)-442-1454

William C. Gong, PharmD, FASHP, FCSHP
Director, Residency and Fellowship Programs
Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy
University of Southern California
School of Pharmacy
1985 Zonal Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90089-9121
Telephone: (323) 442-2625