First Light Health System

Vital Site Stats

Group photoHost Site: First Light Health System
NMS Match Code: 111224
Site Emphasis: Rural Health
Program Length: 1 year
No. of Positions: 1 per year
Co-Site Coordinators and Primary Preceptors: Brent Thompson, PharmD and Patricia Lind, Pharm.D.
Primary Preceptor: Kati Dvorak, Pharm.D.
Additional Preceptors: Nicholas Giller, PharmD, BCPS, BCOP; Jenny Houglum, PharmD; Aimee Burk, PharmD; Chelsea Benson, Pharm D; Joe Dvorak, PharmD

Site Profile

For 70 years, First Light Health System (FLHS) has been serving the health care needs of central Minnesota, including the counties of Kanabec, Pine, Aitkin, Mille Lacs, and the surrounding areas. FirstLight, formally Kanabec hospital, is a county-owned, self-sustaining, critical access integrated health system. Their hospital is licensed to operate 49 beds and is located in Mora, MN. Their clinics include a provider based clinic attached to the hospital, two outreach Rural Health Clinics in Pine City and Hinckley, and an eye clinic. A recently added community pharmacy in the Pine City based Rural Health Clinic helps to meet additional patient needs in this area.

Committed to building a healthier tomorrow, FirstLight recently broke ground on a $62 million-dollar expansion project, which will include a new hospital pharmacy and a new community pharmacy on the Mora campus.

Mission: To support and improve the health of the communities we serve.
Vision: To foster a patient-centered culture and maintain a complement of services that meet the changing needs of the communities we serve.

Pharmacy Services:  The hospital pharmacy offers complete medication and clinical services to the hospital and is strategically located on the patient care floor, close to the main nurses’ station and surgery department. The hospital and clinics have a fully integrated electronic health record. Interdisciplinary team based care is predominant throughout the health system. Access to the electronic health record, the close proximity of the pharmacists to the patients, and the strong team based model of care provides the foundation for strong patient centered pharmacy services to occur.

The community pharmacy located at the Pine City Rural Health Clinic, provides a convenient access for patients. The pharmacists and their technicians work to meet the individual needs of their patients to make medication therapies successful. Medication therapy management services are provided. Collaborative practice agreements with FLHS providers allow these community pharmacists to resolve many drug therapy problems in an efficient manner.

Pharmacy services are also provided in the three FirstLight clinics. This Medication Therapy Management practice has been steadily growing over the years. Now in its 9th year of operations, pharmacists work with collaborative practice agreements with the clinic providers, while using efficient practice management techniques for scheduling and referring patients, and documentation that is entered into the patient’s electronic health record. In addition to the MTM practice, this ambulatory care setting allows pharmacists to be a resource for the clinic nurses and practitioners to assist with a wide range of pharmaceutical needs.

The wide variety of skills and interests of the pharmacy staff enables the department to be a unique think tank for pharmacy growth and vision in rural Minnesota. The staff includes 9 Pharm D’s and the resident PharmD. The pharmacy staff participates in a wide variety of committees which enables pharmacy involvement in policy and procedure development in many aspects of patient care. Pharmacy staff is often called upon to provide education to patients, nurses, physicians, support groups and outside constituents.

Educational Experience

This residency allows opportunities for the resident to expand knowledge and skills in both ambulatory and hospital pharmacy.

1.) Ambulatory care emphasis will be in providing comprehensive medication therapy management to patients located in FLHS’s three clinics under a collaborative practice agreement. The resident will have an opportunity to have several ambulatory care preceptors to assist in their training. In addition, these residents will work closely with clinic providers and nurses when caring for FLHS’s health care home patients, in palliative care and chronic care management. Through the care of these ambulatory patients and through clinical discussions with preceptors, residents that complete this program will have strong clinical skills to manage patients’ diverse medication needs in a rural setting. During the ambulatory care experience, residents will have opportunities to assist in the education of APPE ambulatory care students. In addition, the resident at the completion of this experience should possess a strong understanding of practice management issues and be capable of creating an MTM practice on his/her own.

2.) The residents learning experiences in acute care management will include participation in interdisciplinary care of hospitalized patients, discharge planning rounds, medication reconciliation on admission and discharge, pharmacist staffing, working with APPE acute care interns, and participation in activities of clinical hospital committees. Opportunities for ACLS certification and others will be offered. Hospital pharmacy staffing will include approximately 14 weekend rotations throughout the year. Hospital pharmacy staffing will be approximately 20% of the resident’s experience and would be flexible to meet the needs of the pharmacy.

The expectation for the resident will be to spend more than half of the residency hours in direct patient care, including caring for ambulatory care and acute care patients. Through this experience, the resident will develop a strong clinical foundation and practice management skills necessary to care for

File Typical Weekly Schedule


Site Coordinators

Brent Thompson, B.S. PharmD, is the Pharmacy Director at FLHS and is one of the primary preceptors of this residency program. Brent has been providing care for patients at FirstLight since 2000, first as the clinical pharmacist, now as Director. He graduated from North Dakota State University with his BS and PharmD His past experiences include community pharmacy in retail settings and consulting pharmacy in both assisted living and long-term care. Today he is most busy helping the clinical pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, resident pharmacist, and several APPE & IPPE interns care for patients in the hospital, clinic, and community pharmacy. He continues to practice as a clinical pharmacist himself when time allows. His personal area of research is in opiate abuse prevention. Brent is Past President of the Minnesota Pharmacists Association.

Patricia R. Lind, BS., MS, PharmD, is a Clinical Pharmacist at FirstLight Health System and is also one of the primary preceptors of this residency program. Dr. Lind has a Master’s of Science in Social and Administrative Pharmacy and taught Pharmaceutical Care at the University of Minnesota for 10 years. She has been at FirstLight Health System since 2005 with continuing interests in developing a strong pharmacy residency program, ambulatory pharmacy services, and streamlining the electronic medical record. She is current chair of the Pharmacy HIT collaborative, Work Group 2, working on developing and disseminating information on the use of clinical documentation codes in pharmacy.


Kati Dvorak, PharmD, is a Clinical Pharmacist at FirstLight Health System and is one of the primary preceptors of this residency program. Dr. K. Dvorak completed an ambulatory care residency program with the University of Minnesota and has been practicing in the area of ambulatory care for eight years. Dr. Dvorak recently served as the Minnesota Pharmacy Association’s Speaker of the House and Executive Board member. At FirstLight, Dr. K. Dvorak specializes in caring for FirstLight’s health care home patients and patients during transitions of care. Dr Dvorak also is a preceptor for APPE ambulatory care students.

Nicholas Giller, PharmD, BCPS, BCOP, is a hospital based Clinical Pharmacist at FirstLight Health System and has over ten years of experience in acute care and is a clinical acute care resource for FLHS’s residents. Dr. Giller is a graduate of the University of MN in 2005 and has since become dually board certified. Dr. Giller specializes in infectious disease and oncology and serves as FLHS’s acute care preceptor for IPPE and APPE students, in addition to assisting with the precepting of the acute care portion of the residency.

Jenny Houglum, PharmD, is a hospital based Clinical Pharmacist at FirstLight Health System. Dr. Houglum graduated from the University of Minnesota and has over 10 years of community and hospital experience. Dr. Houglum, a 2015 recipient of the Bowl of Hygeia Award, concentrates her clinical work in the fields of diabetes, narcotic management and health care associated technologies. Dr. Houglum assists with the precepting of the acute care and educational components of the residency.

Aimee Burk, PharmD, is a Clinical Pharmacist at FirstLight Health System and divides her practice between community, ambulatory and acute care. Dr. Burk graduated from the University of Minnesota and completed a University of Minnesota Ambulatory Care residency in 2015. Dr. Burk, will be precepting in the ambulatory care setting

Chelsea Benson, PharmD is a Clinical Pharmacist at FirstLight Health System and divides her practice between community, ambulatory and acute care. Dr. Benson graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2015. She then completed a University of Minnesota Ambulatory Care residency at FirstLight Health System in 2016, where she gained experience in Medication Therapy Management (MTM), inpatient pharmacy, chronic care management and palliative care. Dr. Benson will be precepting in the ambulatory care setting. Her special pharmacy interests include MTM, transitions of care, and critical care. Dr. Benson enjoys using the knowledge she gained through residency to precept students and residents at FirstLight. She is a member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the Minnesota Society of Health-System Pharmacists (MSHP).

Joseph Dvorak, PharmD, is Manager of FirstLight Health Systems community pharmacy. Dr. J. Dvorak, graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy brings a wide range of community management experience to the residency such as , both small and large chain pharmacy practice, a firsthand knowledge of opening a new independent community pharmacy and in operating a 340 B program. Dr. J. Dvorak will provide precepting in this residency program in the area of community pharmacy practice management.