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United Hospital

United Pharmacy Residency

United Pharmacy Residency Program

The purpose of our PGY-1 pharmacy practice residency program is "to provide experience and knowledge that fosters the development of skills to fulfill the challenges of evolving roles in pharmacy practice."

For more information, call the Residency Program Director at
651-241-8879 or
Email us.

Our program goals include:

  • developing leadership skills
  • providing effective care
  • collaborating with other health care providers to achieve positive patient outcomes
  • developing effective self-evaluation and self-learning skills
  • gaining an appreciation of the interrelationship of clinical systems, technology and distribution systems to provide an effective medication-use system.

Pharmacy residents develop advanced practice skills in managing drug therapy for a variety of diseases, as well as build proficiency in communicating daily with physicians, nurses and pharmacists. Resident goals and objectives are taught and evaluated using the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Residency Learning System (RLS). Four one-year resident positions are available beginning July 1.

Contact information

Lisa Gersema, PharmD, BCPS, Residency Program Director
Email us

Required experience

  • five to six weeks of orientation and pharmacy services training
  • four- to five-week rotations in core areas such as cardiology, surgery, internal medicine, critical care, oncology and practice management
  • residents plan, design and implement one major residency project.


There are 45 pharmacists, many of whom have completed residency programs, and 45 support personnel on staff at United Pharmacy. The department is open 24 hours a day and provides decentralized services 16 hours a day. Clinical pharmacy services include:

  • participation at codes
  • multidisciplinary care rounds
  • in-service education to medical/nursing staff
  • patient education programs
  • pharmacokinetic monitoring
  • parenteral nutrition monitoring
  • antibiotic advisory service
  • computerized provider order entry.

Use of computer technology and technical support staff allows pharmacists more time to provide clinical services to each patient. Our pharmacists also serve as preceptors for PharmD students from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.


Additional opportunities

  • "Current Pharmacy Topics" discussion group with other Allina Health pharmacy residents and leaders
  • active participation in the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee
  • journal club presentations
  • adverse drug reaction review 
  • in-service presentations
  • DUE activities
  • formulary drug evaluation
  • involvement in drug-policy initiatives
  • projects specific to each rotation.

Staffing responsibilities

Each resident serves as a central and decentralized pharmacist, which will help the resident master practice skills, as well as increase confidence by accepting total responsibility for safe and effective pharmaceutical care. This is usually scheduled for every third weekend and an occasional evening shift. 


Residents are eligible for health insurance, paid time off and free on-site parking. Residents are supported to attend professional meetings, such as the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting. Resources include resident office space, use of a personal computer and email and Internet access.


Salaries are competitive and updated annually. Contact the program director for the most current information. 

United Hospital

United Hospital is a 556-bed acute care regional medical center, located in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. United provides comprehensive medical services in cardiology, cardiac surgery, psychiatry, epilepsy, gastroenterology, oncology, family practice and obstetrics and gynecology. United has an automated medical record and computerized physician order entry system. 

United Hospital is part of Allina Health, a nonprofit network of hospitals, clinics and other health care services. 

Twin Cities

The Twin Cities, located in the heart of Minnesota, is a large metropolitan area with a growing population of ethnically diverse groups. Local attractions range from shopping at the Mall of America shopping to shows at the Ordway Theater, Minnesota Orchestra and Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

The opportunities for outdoor recreation are limitless, with an abundance of parks, lakes and cross-country ski and bike trails within the Twin-City limits. Even sports fans are able to enjoy professional major league sports with the Minnesota Twins baseball, Saint Paul Saints baseball, Vikings football, Timberwolves basketball and Wild hockey, among others.

Admission prerequisites

  • Doctor of Pharmacy degree from an accredited college of pharmacy
  • eligible for licensure in Minnesota.

Residency application requirements

Register with ASHP Residency Matching Program before January 5, 2015.

Eligible for Minnesota pharmacy license.

Submit the following on or before January 5, 2015:

  • letter of intent
  • current, official transcript of all pharmacy-related coursework/clerkships
  • three letters of recommendation
  • curriculum vitae.

All materials for the application process should be submitted via ASHP's Pharmacy Online Residency Centralized Application Service, or PHORCAS. Instructions on how to use this service can be found at

For any questions regarding our application materials, please contact:
Lisa Gersema, Residency Program Director 
United Pharmacy Residency Program 

Applicants considered for a position will be invited for an on-site interview with the program director and selected pharmacy staff in January or February.

This residency site agrees that no person at this site will solicit, accept or use any ranking-related information from any residency applicant.

Meet the current residents

Nada Abou-Karam

Nada Abou-Karam

Nada completed her undergraduate coursework and PharmD at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus, and her hometown is St. Paul, Minnesota. Her current clinical interests include cardiology, anticoagulation and neuroscience. She also has a strong interest in issues related to health care quality improvement and patient safety.

Upon completion of her residency, Nada plans on working as a clinical pharmacist at an acute care hospital and serving as a preceptor and mentor for pharmacy students. She plans on being active in quality improvement and safety initiatives throughout her practice, and is considering pursuing additional education or training in these areas in the future. When not at United, Nada enjoys running, playing and watching basketball, reading and traveling.

Phone: 651-241-8840 | Email:

Emily Kirkwold

Emily Kirkwold

Emily is originally from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. She completed her PharmD at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Her current practice interests include pharmacy informatics, pain management and emergency medicine. Upon completion of her residency, Emily plans to become Board Certified Pharmacy Specialist certified, work as a clinical pharmacist and stay involved in pharmacy organizations such as Minnesota Society of Health-System Pharmacists (MSHP).

Outside of pharmacy, Emily enjoys hiking, listening to country music and cheering for the Minnesota Twins!

Phone: 651-241-8509 | Email:

Erik Stromberg

Erik Stromberg

Erik is originally from Scandia, Minnesota. He completed his undergraduate degree, as well as his PharmD from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. His current practice interests include critical care, emergency medicine and infectious disease. After completion of his residency, Erik plans to pursue a career as a clinical pharmacist, become BCPS certified and act as a preceptor for students.

Outside of work, Erik enjoys fishing, motorcycling and enjoying the Minnesota summers!

Phone: 651-241-8841 | Email:

Assel Thoresen

Assel Thoresen

Assel is originally from Almaty, Kazakhstan, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Master of Business Administration degrees. She completed her PharmD at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Her current pharmacy practice interests include oncology, critical care and cardiology. Upon completion of residency, Assel is planning to work as a clinical pharmacist in an acute care hospital, become Board Certified Pharmacy Specialist or Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist certified, and inspire future pharmacy students and residents.

Outside of pharmacy, Assel enjoys cooking, performance arts and spending time with her family and friends.

Phone: 651-241-8838 | Email: