Mille Lacs Health System

Site Stats

Host Site: Mille Lacs Health System
NMS Match Code: 111230
Site Emphasis: Rural Health
Program Length: 1 year
No. of Positions: 1 per year
Site Coordinator: Jennifer McDonnell, PharmD, MBA
Additional Preceptors: Joseph Strauch, PharmD and Dave Peterson, PharmD
Resident(s): Meet the current resident(s)

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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.  The Mille Lacs Health System’s primary service area includes 10,000 to 12,000 year around residents; population more than doubles during peak tourist season. Mille Lacs Health System is a community owned, not-for-profit health care organization.

Mille Lacs Health System in the process of a multimillion dollar expansion and renovation including new acute care facilities, emergency department and ambulatory spaces.  This addition helps us deliver on our mission to provide the highest quality care possible to every patient, every time.

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, Minnesota. Our clinical pharmacists provide services to our patients at outlying clinics in Garrison, Isle, Hillman and a new clinic in Milaca (estimated to open in December of 2022). Pharmacists work in an interdisciplinary team in the both the inpatient and outpatient settings, working closely with providers, nursing staff and other members of the healthcare team. 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.

Pharmacy services offered for the patients in our communities has expanded into the retail pharmacy setting. Mille Lacs Health System recently acquired a community pharmacy located in Isle, Minnesota. 

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 knowledge and skills in both ambulatory and hospital 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 four 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.

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, MBAis the Pharmacy Director at Mille Lacs Health System (MLHS) and is the site coordinator/primary preceptor in the residency program.  She graduated from Drake University with her Pharm D and MBA.  Her past experiences include leadership roles within community pharmacy at various organizations, medication therapy management in the outpatient setting and an outpatient pharmacy integrated within a clinic setting.  Today she is busy integrating pharmacy into all aspects of patient care offer throughout the organizations.  She continues to practice as a clinical pharmacist in addition to her leadership role regularly.  She precepts for APPE students immersing them into pharmacy involvement in hospital and clinic settings.


Anna Crotty, PharmD, is a clinic-based and hospital-based pharmacist at MLHS. Anna 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. This fall, Anna will be transitioning to working primarily in the hospital pharmacy.

Larissa Torbenson, PharmD, is a clinical pharmacist at MLHS. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2020 and completed a residency program focused on leadership, community pharmacy, and ambulatory care. Prior to residency her past experience is mainly in community pharmacy. She has her teaching certificate from the University of Minnesota and assists with precepting IPPE/APPE students. 

Joe Strauch, PharmD, is a community based pharmacist at MLHS. He has dual experience in the outpatient and hospital setting.  He graduated from North Dakota State University in 2018. He is experienced in the compounding of Chemotherapy and biologics, our 340B program, transitions of care planning and medication therapy management.  He assists the site coordinator with precepting of all IPPE/APPE students. This fall he will be transitioning to our community practice.