Mille Lacs Health System

Site Stats

Host Site: Mille Lacs Health System
Amb Care/Hospital Focus: NMS Match Code: 111230
Amb Care/Community Focus: NMS Match Code: 111234
Site Emphasis: Rural Health
Program Length: 1 year
No. of Positions: 1 per year/per focus
Site Coordinator: Jennifer McDonnell, PharmD, MBA
Additional Preceptors: Anna Crotty, PharmD, Larissa Torbenson, and Joseph Strauch, PharmD
Resident(s): Meet the current resident(s)

jennifer video

Rendered image of the entrance of the newly-built MLHS facility

Site Profile

Mille Lacs Health System (MLHS), located 80 miles north of the Twin Cities in central Minnesota, serves the predominately rural area of Mille Lacs County and portions of Morrison, Aitkin, Crow Wing and Kanabec counties, plus the Mille Lacs Ojibwe Indian Reservation.  Mille Lacs Health System’s primary service area includes 20,000 year-round residents as well as hundreds of thousands of vacationers and visitors to the Mille Lacs Lake area. Mille Lacs Health System is a community owned, not-for-profit health care organization.

Mille Lacs Health System has just completed a $30 million+ renovation and expansion of its flagship facility in Onamia, Minnesota.  Dedicated to delivering on its mission of providing the highest possible quality care to every patient every time, the renovation includes new acute care facilities with state-of-the-art technology, new ambulance/emergency/urgent care areas, modernization of surgery and laboratory as well as additional rehabilitation capabilities and sleep center. A new retail pharmacy in the Onamia facility offers patients convenience and consultative care.

Mission: To assist those residing in and visiting the Mille Lacs area in achieving and maintaining optimal health.
Vision: We strive to be the best place to give and receive care.

Pharmacy Services: At Mille Lacs Health System the hospital pharmacy offers complete medication and clinical services to the hospital, emergency department, urgent care, outpatient clinic and long-term care settings. Our pharmacists staff the inpatient hospital pharmacy and the outpatient clinic in Onamia. Our clinical pharmacists provide services to our patients in our outlying clinics in Garrison, Hillman, Isle and Milaca. Interdisciplinary team-based care is predominant throughout the health system allowing for continued opportunity for pharmacy integration through the organization. At Mille Lacs Health System, the pharmacy department is working to fully integrate pharmacy into all aspects of the facility.  Pharmacists play an integral part in direct patient care through inpatient medication management, verifying all infusion services medications including chemotherapy and being part of our patient’s rural healthcare team. In the outpatient setting, our pharmacists see patients for Comprehensive Medication Management (CMM) visits, manage our outpatient anticoagulation clinic and work closely with our provider teams to connect patients with oral antiviral treatment for COVID. Through our CPA, our pharmacists are able to assist the healthcare team and the patient get the most out of their healthcare at Mille Lacs Health System.

Pharmacy services provided throughout the organization include medication reconciliation, antibiotic management (inpatient and outpatient), anticoagulation management, comprehensive medication management, long term care medication dispensing and chemotherapy/IV medication preparation.

We currently offer pharmacy services for residents and visitors in our communities through two new retail pharmacies. We purchased and integrated an existing retail pharmacy in Isle into our system and created a new retail pharmacy on-site at the Onamia flagship facility. Both pharmacies offer the full range of prescription and consultative services to patients and visitors including Lake Song Assisted Living facility in the Onamia campus as well as other nursing homes in the area.

The staff includes 5 PharmDs and a team of pharmacy technicians. Our team continues to grow as we add clinical services to our program.  There is pharmacy involvement in several committees across the organizations; this is critical to integrating pharmacy into all aspects of patient care.  Pharmacists interact with patients, physicians, providers and nurses on a daily basis; you may be called upon by any of the previously mentioned to provide guidance and drug information.

Educational Experience

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

1.) Ambulatory care emphasis will be in providing comprehensive medication therapy management, anticoagulation management and opiate abuse prevention to patients located in Mille Lacs Health System’s five clinics. 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. 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. He/she can expect to spend 10% of experience in the retail pharmacy area.

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.

Typical Amb Care/Community Weekly Schedule
Typical Amb Care/Hospital Weekly Schedule

Site Coordinator

Picture of Jennifer McDonnell, Pharm D, MBA

Jennifer McDonnell, Pharm D, MBA is the Director of Pharmacy and Clinic Services at Mille Lacs Health System and is the site coordinator/primary preceptor in the residency program. She graduated from Drake University with her Pharm D and MBA. Her past experience includes leadership roles within community pharmacies at various organizations, medication therapy management in the outpatient setting, and outpatient pharmacy integrated within a clinic setting. Today she integrates pharmacy into all aspects of patient care throughout the organization. As the key leader for pharmacy and clinics within the organization, she drives strategy and integration. She precepts for APPE students, immersing them into pharmacy involvement in hospital and clinic settings.


Anna Crotty, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist is a clinic-based and hospital-based pharmacist at Mille Lacs Health System.  She has experience in ambulatory care, medication therapy management, and anticoagulation therapy management. She completed a PGY-1 residency at Welia Health through the University of Minnesota Pharmacy Residency. At Mille Lacs Health System she is responsible for antibiotic stewardship, pharmacy and therapeutics at the hospital pharmacy.

Larissa Torbenson, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist, Hospital Pharmacist-in-charge is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota. She completed her residency program focused on leadership, community pharmacy, and ambulatory care. She manages medical informatics and bar scanning protocols. Her past experience prior to residency was primarily in community pharmacy. She has her teaching certificate from the University of Minnesota and assists with precepting IPPE/APPE students.

Joe Strauch, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist is a community-based pharmacist at Mille Lacs Health System. He has dual experience in the outpatient and hospital setting. He is experienced in the compounding of chemotherapy and biologics, the 340B program, transitions of care planning, and medication therapy management. He is dedicated to the community retail pharmacy in Onamia. He is a 2018 graduate of North Dakota State University.