Pharmacy Residency | MedStar Washington Hospital Center | MedStar Health

MedStar Washington Hospital Center Pharmacy virtual tour

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Pharmacy Residency Program at MedStar Washington Hospital Center

The purpose of the MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s PGY-1 pharmacy residency program is to build on Doctor of Pharmacy education and outcomes to contribute to the development of clinical pharmacists responsible for medication-related care of patients with a wide range of conditions, eligible for board certification, and eligible for postgraduate year two (PGY2) pharmacy residency training. Our program’s training emphasis is on acute care in a hospital setting for adult patients. The program has been accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists since 1994. Our preceptors are clinical coordinators and clinical specialists who work in their area of specialty.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 912-bed, private, not-for-profit teaching hospital. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks the Hospital Center’s cardiology and heart surgery program as one of the nation’s best. Respected specialty areas include MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, Transplantation services, MedSTAR shock/trauma, and The Burn Center.
The Hospital Center is among the100 largest hospitals in the nation, and is renowned for handling the Washington region’s most complex cases. As one of the largest teaching hospitals in the Washington area, the Hospital Center trains more than 300 medical residents and fellows in more than 30 specialties annually. The Hospital Center is a member of MedStar Health, a regional health care delivery system serving the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

Pharmacy residents work with the health care team by collaborating during interdisciplinary rounds, monitoring drug therapy, providing drug information and educating patients, health care professionals and students. The program provides opportunities for residents to gain experience in delivering educational programs, participating in performance improvement projects as well as designing and completing a residency project. Residents have the opportunity to participate in the P&T committee as well as enhance leadership skills via one of the department’s Shared Governance Councils. The pharmacy department offers weekly onsite educational conferences including educational programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) to enhance pharmacists’ knowledge and skills.

Graduated residents have pursued PGY-2 residencies, became clinical pharmacists, clinical specialists, preceptors, and leaders. Some have pursued opportunities at ASHP and the FDA.

Learning experiences

There are longitudinal learning experiences in staffing and residency project. In addition, each resident is required to complete core rotations and 4 elective learning experiences.

Core rotations:

  • Orientation
  • Internal Medicine
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship
  • Medication-Use Safety & Policy
  • Cardiology
  • Critical Care
  • Practice Management
  • Advanced Heart Failure & Heart Transplant

Elective rotations:

Based on the resident’s progress and interests, resident may choose 4 elective learning experiences that include:

  • Medical Intensive Care
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Ambulatory Oncology
  • Palliative Care
  • Neuroscience Intensive Care
  • Burn/Trauma
  • Informatics
  • Compounding Preparations
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Health System Administration
  • Primary Care Mental Health Integration
  • Infectious Disease Consults


Residents complete projects throughout the program. These projects are in areas that are relevant to contemporary pharmacy practice and pharmacy management. Each project is an opportunity for residents to develop skills in collecting, analyzing and presenting data. Completion of a residency project is a requirement of the program. Residents present their residency projects at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear clinical meeting, our pharmacy department’s conference and Eastern States Conference for Pharmacy Residents and Preceptors.


Residents fulfill a service commitment on weekends by working with one of the pharmacy teams to provide pharmaceutical care.


Residents provide education to healthcare professionals, pharmacists, and pharmacy students. This is an opportunity to develop teaching and presentation skills. A teaching certificate is available.


Resident benefits include a generous salary, health/vision/dental insurance, 10 paid vacation/sick days, seven holidays, stipend for attending professional pharmacy meetings, free onsite ACPE educational programs, and ACLS/BLS certification.

Applicant requirements

All candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Possess a PharmD from an ACPE-accredited school or college of pharmacy
  • Be eligible to apply for pharmacist license in the District of Columbia
  • Participate in the ASHP PGY-1 Residency Matching Program
  • Eligible to work in the United States

Application requirements

Applicants are required to submit the following documents via PhORCAS:

  • Completed application
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Personal statement indicating professional goals and interests
  • Three standard recommendation forms
  • College of pharmacy transcripts

Application process

Individuals interested in applying should apply via the Pharmacy Online Residency Centralized Application System (PhORCAS) Qualified applicants will be invited for an interview. Candidates are selected based on professional competence, scholastic achievement, communication skills, interpersonal skills and comprehension of current standards of pharmacy practice. Candidates are matched via the ASHP Resident Matching Program.

Our program code is 174713

Program Director

Lama Kanawati, PharmD, BCPS
110 Irving Street, NW B147
Washington, D.C., 20010-2975

P 202- 877-3407

Residency preceptors

Wafaa Abou-Zeineddine, PharmD, BCPS

Pharmacist Clinical Specialist

Preceptor: Internal Medicine, Staffing

Samrawit Agonafer, PharmD, BCPS
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Preceptor: Internal Medicine

Samantha Bisges, PharmD, MPA, BCPS
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Preceptor: Ambulatory Oncology

Jasmine Carpenter, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Preceptor: Mental Health

Amos Chery, PharmD, MBA, DPLA, CLSSBB
Director of Operations & Regulatory Affairs
Preceptor: Practice Management

Keri Denchfield, PharmD, BCCCP
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Preceptor: Critical Care

 Karla Evans, RPh

Director of Operations & Regulatory Affairs

Preceptor: Practice Management

Jordan Foland, PharmD, BCPS
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Preceptor: Advanced Heart Failure & Heart Transplant

Meagan Freel, PharmD, BCACP
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Preceptor: Internal Medicine

 Julianna Gachoya, PharmD, BCPS, DPLA, MBA-MHA, BCSCP

Coordinator Pharmacy Services / Central Pharmacy

Preceptor: Compounding Preparations

Pauline Guthrie, RPH, PharmD

Clinical Coordinator, Oncology/Neonates

Preceptor: Oncology, Neonatal Intensive Care

Rola Halabi, PharmD, MS, BCCCP
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Preceptor: Critical Care

Maria Ibrahim, PharmD, BCPS

Director of Professional Practice & Innovation

Preceptor: Practice Management

Cory Johnson, PharmD, BCCCP
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Preceptor: Critical Care

Lama Kanawati, PharmD, BCPS

Residency Program Director, Pharmacist Clinical Specialist

Preceptor: Medical Intensive Care

Bolanle Lawuyi, PharmD, BCPS, BCCP

Clinical Pharmacy Specialist

Preceptor: Cardiology

Danyae Lee, PharmD, BCPS

Medication Safety Specialist

Preceptor: Medication-Use Safety & Policy

Bonnie Levin, PharmD, MBA

AVP, MedStar Health

Preceptor: Health System Administration


Quan Li, PharmD, BCPS, BCOP, DPLA

Clinical Coordinator, Ambulatory Services, Cancer Institute

Preceptor: Ambulatory Oncology


Victoria Ly, PharmD, BCCP

Pharmacist Clinical Specialist

Preceptor: Cardiology

Alexandra McPherson, PharmD, MPH

Palliative Care Clinical Specialist

Preceptor: Palliative Care

Sarah Norman, PharmD, BCPS, BCIDP

Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Specialist

Preceptor: Antimicrobial Stewardship

Inna Perinskaya, PharmD, BCCCP
Clinical Pharmacist
Preceptor: Staffing

 Lisa Peters, PharmD, BCPS

Pharmacist Clinical Specialist

Preceptor: Advanced Heart Failure & Heart Transplant

Lisa Pickmans, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP
Clinical Pharmacist Specialist
Preceptor: Staffing

Justin Sebakijje, PharmD
Clinical Informatics Specialist
Preceptor: Pharmacy Informatics


 David Shifrin, PharmD, BCPS

Emergency Medicine Clinical Specialist

Preceptor: Emergency Medicine

 Max Smith, PharmD, BCPS

Pharmacogenomics Clinical Specialist

Preceptor: Pharmacogenomics

Maximillian Stevenson, PharmD, MA, BCPS
Palliative Care Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Preceptor: Palliative Care

Tina Taffesse, PharmD, BCPS
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Preceptor: Internal Medicine

Roberta Taylor, PharmD, MHA, DPLA
Emergency Medicine Clinical Pharmacist
Preceptor: Emergency Medicine

 Cynthia Willis, RPh, PharmD

Clinical Coordinator, Critical Care/OR

Preceptor: Critical Care, Neuroscience Intensive Care

Residency projects

Graduation year 2024


Evaluation of a Modified Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis Protocol Utilizing Higher Doses of Enoxaparin and Anti-Xa Levels in Burn Patients
Sophia Lee, PharmD; Desiree Pinto, MD, MPH; Cory Johnson, PharmD, BCCCP; Rola A. Halabi, PharmD, MS, BCCCP; Jeffrey Shupp, MD

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Antimicrobial Stewardship focusing on ampicillin and gentamicin for early-onset neonatal sepsis (EONS) empiric treatment at MedStar Washington Hospital Center (MWHC)
Ha Pham, PharmD; Sarah J Norman, PharmD, BCPS, BCIDP; Samrawit M Agonafer, PharmD, BCPS, BCIDP

The Impact of an Emergency Department Sickle Cell Disease Order Set in Pain Management
Tasneem Bahar, PharmD; David Shifrin, PharmD, BCPS

Assessment of Time in Therapeutic INR Range Post-Implementation of Pharmacist Warfarin Dosing in Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) Clinic
Emina Halimanovic, PharmD; Lisa Peters, PharmD, BCPS; Sharika Johnson, PharmD, BCPS

Graduation year 2023


Evaluation of ketamine for adjunctive pain management in sickle cell crisis: A single center, intra-comparison study
Naidelyn Medina, PharmD; Minhee Kang, PharmD, BCPS, BCOP; Lama Kanawati, PharmD, BCPS

Provider adherence to monitoring recommendations for oral anticancer medications at outpatient oncology clinics within a large academic medical system
Anas Hanini, PharmD; Pauline Guthrie, PharmD, Joshua Bailey, PharmD

Identification of oncology providers interest, use-cases, and barriers to use of pharmacogenomic testing
Meghna Bhatt, PharmD; Max Smith, PharmD, BCPS

Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of warfarin compared to DOACs following bioprosthetic valve replacement
Caitlin Benkart, PharmD; Victoria Ly, PharmD, BCCP; Wafaa Abou-Zeineddine, PharmD, BCPS

Graduation year 2022


Evaluation of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors and/or Beta-Blockers in Primary Prevention of Cardiac Dysfunction Caused by Anthracyclines and Trastuzumab in African American Breast Cancer Patients
Serena Mitaly, PharmD; Victoria Ly, PharmD, BCCP; Quan Li, PharmD, BCOP, BCPS, DPLA

Marijuana and Dietary Supplement Use in African American Hematology/Oncology Patients
Humam Alkhaled, PharmD; Quan Li, PharmD, BCOP, BCPS, DPLA

Effects of Immunosuppression Titration by Single Point Immune Cell Function Assay in Heart Transplants
Rita Chen, PharmD; Bolanle Lawuyi, PharmD, BCCP

Evaluation of the Safety of the New Alcohol Containing Cyclophosphamide Formulation
Tonya Wright, PharmD; Quan Li, PharmD, BCOP, BCPS, DPLA

Graduation year 2021


Evaluation of patients switching from direct oral anti-Xa inhibitors to parental anticoagulation in tertiary care hospital
Betlihem Semma, PharmD; Lisa Peters, PharmD, BCPS

Impact of pharmacist driven patient education on acute coronary syndrome patient outcomes
Rohina Bayat, PharmD; Lisa Peters, PharmD, BCPS

Impact of ketamine use on pain management in the emergency department
Manraj Kalkat, PharmD; Lama Kanawati, PharmD, BCPS

Pharmacist managed anticoagulation in LVAD patients in a large tertiary care hospital
Jessica Szatkowski, PharmD; Victoria Ly, PharmD

Graduation year 2020


Evaluation of moderate sedation outcomes in procedural areas by non-anesthesiologists
Nancy Tang, PharmD; Cynthia Willis, PharmD

Appropriateness of empiric antimicrobial treatment of septic patients transferred from skilled nursing facilities to a tertiary hospital
Dilbi Hussein, PharmD; Lama Kanawati, PharmD, BCPS

Evaluation of fentanyl transdermal systems for pain management in a tertiary hospital
Carlette Cavenaugh, PharmD; Diana Stewart, PharmD, BCPS

Evaluating the impact of nasal screening for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on vancomycin therapy in the intensive care unit
Roshani Patel, PharmD; Jennifer Brandt, PharmD, FASHP, BCCCP

Graduation year 2019


Impact of a multiplex polymerase chain reaction system on antibiotic optimization Assessing the incidence of medication-related patient safety events
Gayle Unhjem, PharmD, MHS; Jennifer Brandt, PharmD, FASHP, BCCCP

Trace Element Supplementation in Burn Patients
Annmarie Cristiano, PharmD; Jennifer Brandt, PharmD, FASHP, BCCCP

Evaluation of ketamine use for postoperative pain management
Inna Perinskaya, PharmD; Lama Kanawati, PharmD, BCPS

Assessing the incidence of medication-related patient safety event reports
Lisa Pickmans, PharmD; Jennifer Brandt, PharmD, FASHP, BCCCP

Implementation of operating room pharmacy services in a tertiary care hospital
Inna Perinskaya, PharmD; Cynthia Willis, PharmD

Graduation year 2018


Evaluation of vancomycin-associated nephrotoxicity before and after implementation of an intensive pharmacist monitoring program
Sarah El-Gendi, PharmD; Zetta Leftridge, PharmD

Medication Safety events secondary to pump programming errors before and after implementation of an infusion management system
Taylor Kravatz, PharmD; Cynthia Willis, PharmD

Appropriateness of surgical antibiotic prophylaxis before and after guideline implementation
Erin Grannan, PharmD; Jennifer Brandt, PharmD, FASHP

De-escalation of broad-spectrum antibiotics in the intensive care unit
Mary McIntyre, PharmD; Jennifer Brandt, PharmD, FASHP