What is the Infectious Diseases Pharmacy Fellowship?

The Infectious Diseases Fellowship will combine infectious diseases clinical practice and research in a two year program.  The fellow will be trained as a clinical practitioner in the Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center for Antimicrobial Stewardship with patient care, monitoring, research, and teaching components.  The first year will focus more heavily on clinical activities and progress into the second year with an extensive research focus. Research will be conducted in collaboration with expert faculty researchers from the University of Houston College of Pharmacy.   

What is the history of the residency program at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center?

An ASHP-accredited residency in hospital pharmacy was first initiated at BSLMC (formerly St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital) in 1972.  It continued for some time, producing many graduates who have since assumed significant positions in all areas of the country.  Full accreditation for the new program at BSLMC was awarded by the ASHP Commission on Credentialing in September 1992.  As of the fall of 2013, we have had 62 graduates of the current program and six in training.  Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center has several other residency opportunities.  We have a post-graduate year 2 (PGY2) Critical Care Residency which was accredited in 2003 and has seventeen graduates and one in training.   We also have a PGY2 Cardiology specialty residency program started in July 2008 and received full accreditation 2011.  Also in 2008, we established a two year Infectious Diseases Fellowship in conjunction with the University of Houston College of Pharmacy.  We have had five fellows complete the program.  There are currently two in the program.  Most fellows have stayed on to complete a third year.  Lastly, we have a PGY1/PGY2 MS and Pharmacy Administration residency in conjunction with the University of Houston that was established in July 2009 and received full accreditation in 2011.  We have had four graduates in the program and two in training.  In 2012, we expanded the PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency to 6 positions.  In addition, we added a PGY2 Solid Organ Transplant Residency program, which has had two graduates, one in training and received full accreditation in 2013.

How is the infectious diseases fellowship offered at Baylor St. Luke’s?

The fellowship is a full-time (2 years) program which requires a commitment of 40-48 hours per week. The fellowship is conducted through the accomplishment of formal learning objectives, consistent with the accreditation standards of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). The program has an established core of learning activities but may also be custom tailored to each resident’s background, experiences, and personal goals for the program. 

The start date of the fellowship is around July 1st.  Earlier or later start dates may be arranged based on individual circumstances.  Ample time is given off to take the licensure exam if that is an issue.   ID Fellows staff every third weekend and can expect to cover one major and one minor holiday during the year, in addition to a clinical practice rotation.  Two weeks of paid vacation are available during the year, and are given as additional pay if not used. 

Tell me more about “staffing experiences”.

We knew you’d ask.  Staffing experiences mean that the resident will be dedicated to working as a clinical practitioner here at BSLMC -- this is a critical component to the program as often times, this is your first opportunity to be an independent Pharmacist.  Residents complete their staffing component through every third weekend assignments and a 4 week required rotation (Clinical Practice).  While staffing, residents rotate through positions focused on patient centered services as well as centralized prospective order review.  We believe that such staffing experiences are a very important part of meeting practice residency goals and objectives and that the absence of such experiences diminishes the resident’s growth and practice maturity in the program.

It is our belief that meaningful staffing experiences are absolutely necessary in the infectious diseases fellowship.  We are, after all, focused on training competent practitioners who will provide pharmaceutical care to acutely ill and critically ill patients.  Staffing experiences gives the fellow the opportunity to function independently as a practitioner by conceptualizing and integrating accumulated experience and knowledge and transforming it into improved pharmaceutical care for patients who are acutely and critically ill.  The absence of such experiences diminishes the fellow’s growth and practice maturity in the program. 

What is the stipend and what benefits are included? 

The current stipend per year is $ 47,760.  Fellows are entitled to the same benefits as clinical pharmacists.  St. Luke’s has a “choice plan” for insurance benefits, with many options available to fit the individual or family situation. 

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center allocates “benefit dollars” to employees, who then can spend them on the benefits of their choice.  The allocation covers the needs of the individual employee, with payroll deduction for increased individual coverage or family/dependent plans.    Parking is provided for free at a remote lot with access to Metro Transit (Metrorail) and free, air-conditioned shuttle service at all hours. 

Funded meetings are the ICAAC and the Texas Society of Health-System Pharmacists annual seminar and Alcalde Southwest Leadership Conference.  Presentations of projects are required to be given at Alcalde; abstract submission is required for ICAAC.

The fellow has dedicated desk space with access to a personal computer with all contemporary software and printing.  Full internet access is provided, with e-mail services.  

What other opportunities are available with the Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center fellowship? 

A major advantage in taking the fellowship program at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is its location in the Texas Medical Center (TMC).  The TMC is the largest medical center in the world, and is more than twice as large as the second largest medical center. It occupies over 500 acres, including twelve major hospitals representing over five thousand beds, and has a large central medical complex.  It is home to nine academic institutions including two colleges of medicine, two colleges of pharmacy, several colleges of nursing, dentistry, and other medical disciplines.  TMC is adjacent to the Rice University campus and the Hermann Park/Museum complex of the City of Houston.  BSLMC itself is home to the world renowned Texas Heart Institute®.  The first human heart transplant in the United States was performed here; more open heart surgical procedures have been performed here than anywhere else in the world, and St. Luke’s has the largest cardiac catheterization facility in the world.

Houston is the fourth largest city in the nation and has an abundance of recreational opportunities. Immediately to the south of the Medical Center is the large Reliant Park complex, featuring Reliant Stadium and the Astrodome Stadium.  Evenings out can include events such as the Houston Astros, Texans, Rockets or Dynamo games.  The beaches and attractions of Galveston Island are less than an hour away. Other activities include multi-cultural activities such as opera, the ballet, symphony or musicals.  In addition, there are many places to eat and try new foods.

What about the Department of Pharmacy?

The Department of Pharmacy at Baylor St. Luke’s consists of approximately 180 staff members, of which nearly 100 are pharmacists.  All contemporary services are provided.  We emphasize being a “pharmacist-centered pharmacy in a patient-centered hospital.”  Our distribution model uses unit based automation with decentralized clinical pharmacy services.  We have automated carousels and automated repackaging in Central Pharmacy.  Pharmacy Services are available 24/7 in Central Pharmacy.  We have four pharmacy satellites in the operating room (OR), Cardiovascular OR, Outpatient OR Satellite, and Emergency Department Satellite.

The hospital itself has 850 available beds, of which 157 are intensive care.  It has forty-four operating rooms and ten cardiac catheterization labs. 

What is desired in an applicant for the Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center Fellowship?

We are looking for a mature individual who has made a career decision to become a leader in health-system or institutional pharmacy.  The candidate must be prepared to make a serious commitment to satisfactorily complete all requirements of the program, as planned in advance.  This commitment includes attendance at required meetings, programs, presentations and trips, and the availability and willingness to participate in any function of the Department of Pharmacy on a 24-hour basis.  The fellowship is tailored to each individual, and regular evaluations of accomplishment must be satisfactory.  This is a mature program for mature individuals who are serious about the profession as a lifelong career, and cardiology as a specialty practice.  Applicants should hold the PharmD degree and complete an ASHP-Accredited PGY1 Residency in Pharmacy Practice prior to starting the Specialty Residency.  Texas licensure is a mandatory requirement. 

How does one apply and what about interviews? 

Our application procedures are described on a separate document but include a curriculum vitae, college transcripts (if less than five years post-graduation), letters of recommendation along with the ASHP-developed recommendation form and completion of a professional and career assessment cover letter.  A previous ASHP-Accredited PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency, or comparable career experiences, is a prerequisite for the program.  The application deadline is January 5th 

An on-site interview is considered very important and is required for a complete application.  All applications will be screened by our Residency Advisory Council, and all applicants chosen for interview will be contacted by the end of January.   The on-site interview is generally a full day, and will include a fifteen minute presentation on an ID pharmacy/pharmaceutical topic of your choice to a group of pharmacists.  You will interview with two groups of Clinical Coordinators and Pharmacy Executives as well as Residents.  The last date for interviews is normally one week before the ASHP match list submission date.   Financial assistance for the on-site interview is not available, but we will work with you in any way we can to reduce expenses.