Welia Health

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Host Site: Welia Health
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 Kati Dvorak, Pharm.D., BCACP 
Additional Preceptors: Patricia Lind, Pharm.D., Nicholas Giller, PharmD, BCPS, BCOP; Jenny Houglum, PharmD; Aimee Burk, PharmD; Chelsea Benson, Pharm D; Joe Dvorak, PharmD

Resident(s): Meet the current resident(s)

Site Profile

For over 70 years, Welia Health (formally First Light Health System) has been serving the health care needs of central Minnesota, including the counties of Kanabec, Pine, Aitkin, Mille Lacs, and the surrounding areas. Welia Health is a self-sustaining, critical access integrated health system. The hospital is licensed to operate 49 beds and is in Mora, MN. The clinics include a provider-based clinic attached to the hospital, two outreach Rural Health Clinics in Pine City and Hinckley, and an eye clinic in Mora. Welia Health also operates two community pharmacies, one located within the Pine City Rural Health Clinic and one located on the Mora campus.

Committed to building a healthier tomorrow, Welia Health recently completed a multimillion-dollar expansion project, which included a new hospital pharmacy and a new community pharmacy on the Mora campus. This expansion allows Welia Health to accommodate the continued growth in the surrounding communities, upgrades to technology, and provide additional patient services.

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, emergency department, and urgent care settings. It is strategically located on the patient care floor, between the patient care area and the surgery department. The hospital, clinics and community pharmacies have a fully integrated electronic health record ensuring continuity of care for patients. Interdisciplinary team-based care is predominant throughout the health system allowing for continued growth with innovative practices. Commitment to quality patient care, access to the electronic health record, and the robust team-based model provides the foundation for strong patient-centered pharmacy services to occur. The pharmacists are an integral part of the services provided at Welia Health and with the proximity to patients they play a critical role in direct patient care. Whether it be managing inpatient medications, responding to emergency department codes, or verifying all outpatient chemotherapy regimens, the pharmacists play a crucial role in all aspects of the rural healthcare team.

Pharmacy services are also provided in the Welia Health clinics. This Medication Therapy Management practice has been steadily growing over the years and with over 10 years of MTM services at Welia Health, the pharmacists are essential members of the clinic team. The pharmacists work with collaborative practice agreements with the clinic providers, being able provide immediate care for their patients. They use efficient practice management techniques to run the MTM clinics and are experts in scheduling and referring patients. Documentation is exceptionally thorough and is entered into the patient’s electronic health record and billed though the clinic. 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. Providing both inpatient and ambulatory care makes the pharmacist a vital member of the healthcare team as they can implement quality improvement practices throughout the entire health system. The pharmacists go above and beyond to fix problems, implement change, and advance the practice of pharmacy.

The community pharmacies, located in Pine City and Mora, provide 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 at each community pharmacy, using multiple billing platforms. Collaborative practice agreements with Welia providers allow these community pharmacists to resolve many drug therapy problems in an efficient manner.

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 14 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 Welia'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 providing chronic care management and caring for patients transitioning through the health system. 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 interns. 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 resident’s 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 and resident.

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, bridging both inpatient and ambulatory care.

PDF icon Typical Weekly Schedule


Site Coordinators

Thompson Headshot Brent Thompson, B.S. PharmD, is the Pharmacy Director at Welia Health and is one of the primary preceptors of this residency program. Brent has been providing care for patients at Welia Health 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 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.


Dvorak headshot Kati Dvorak, PharmD, BCACP, is a Clinical Pharmacist at Welia Health 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 at Goodrich Pharmacy and is board certified in ambulatory care. She has been practicing in both inpatient and outpatient care for over ten years. Dr. K. Dvorak has served as the Minnesota Pharmacy Association’s (MPhA) Speaker of the House and is currently serving as a rural board member. She was the 2017 recipient of the MPhA Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year Award. At Welia Health, Dr. K. Dvorak specializes in caring for patients during transitions of care and provides MTM services at the rural health clinics. Dr K. Dvorak likes the challenge of taking care of patient in all settings and enjoys precepting pharmacy interns and residents.



Lind headshot Patricia R. Lind, BS., MS, PharmD, is a Clinical Pharmacist at Welia Health 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 ten years. She has been at Welia Health 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.



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



Hoglum headshotJenny Houglum, PharmD, is a hospital based Clinical Pharmacist at Welia Health. Dr. Houglum graduated from the University of Minnesota and has over ten 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.




Burk headshot Aimee Burk, PharmD, is a Clinical Pharmacist at Welia Health 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 at Welia Health in 2015. She then worked at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby, MN where she gained experience with chemotherapy, emergency medicine and inpatient care. Dr. Burk is Welia Health’s ambulatory care preceptor for APPE interns and precepts residents in the ambulatory care setting at the Mora clinic. She serves on the Baby Friendly Initiative Committee to improve patient care for mothers and babies.



Benson headshot Chelsea Benson, PharmD is a Clinical Pharmacist at Welia Health 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 Welia Health 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 Welia Health. She is a member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the Minnesota Society of Health-System Pharmacists (MSHP). 


dvorak headhsot Joseph Dvorak, PharmD, is Manager of Welia Health 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. He has worked in both small and large chain pharmacy practice settings, has firsthand knowledge of opening a new independent community pharmacy, and is a 340 B Apexus certified expert. Dr. J. Dvorak will provide precepting in this residency program in the area of community pharmacy practice management.