Infectious Disease Residency in Pediatrics at Connecticut Children’s

Program Overview

This UConn PGY2 pharmacy residency in Infectious Diseases involves managing patients at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut. The residency provides important core and elective activities that will provide the skills necessary to become a pediatric antimicrobial stewardship pharmacist and/or clinical faculty member. Specifically, the resident will be highly involved in our nationally recognized antimicrobial stewardship program as well as clinical, quality, research, and academic activities pertaining to infectious diseases and pediatric activities at Connecticut Children’s and the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy.

UConn

UCONN School of Pharmacy is located in Storrs CT, which is about 30 minutes from Hartford. The school is a top ranked school by US News & World Reports and is #1 in New England. The school also has more than half of pharmacy students go on to residency training and is #1 in pharmacy residency matching in New England.

Connecticut Children's

CT Children’s is a 187 bed freestanding children’s hospital (located next door to Hartford Hospital). The hospital includes many acute care patients including a pediatric intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care unit, hematology/oncology unit and 2 medical-surgical units at the main campus. CT Children’s is consistently named among the best in the nation for several of its pediatric specialties in the annual US News & World Report “Best Children’s Hospitals” rankings. Connecticut Children’s is home to a full range of pediatric subspecialties, including pediatric intensive care, hematology/oncology, and solid-organ transplant patients. The hospital also has a cystic fibrosis center and cares for patients with multiple complex lung diseases.

Infectious Disease Service

The Infectious Diseases division includes infectious diseases and immunology physicians and a pediatric infectious disease pharmacist. Clinical staff includes five social workers, two nurses, a medical office assistant, and an advanced practice nurse practitioner. Our team.

Antimicrobial Stewardship Program (ASP)

The Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at CT Children’s was created in 2009 and has been expanding ever since. In 2020 it was recognized as a Center of Excellence in Antimicrobial Stewardship by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Connecticut Children's Anti Microbial Stewardship Program Logo

The ASP practices continuous quality improvement as a method to improve antimicrobial therapy for our patients. Additionally, daily practices include patient antimicrobial design, assessment, review and monitoring. Review and approval of restricted medications. The ASP is also involved in designing and monitoring of antimicrobial usage in clinical pathways as well as creation and monitoring of antimicrobial protocols to continue to optimize hospital wide antimicrobial usage. The ASP provides education to physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. The ASP also provides hospital staff with a monthly newsletter. Over the years, the ASP has demonstrated an impact in improving appropriate usage of antimicrobials based on indication as well as reducing the use of broad spectrum antibiotics and total antibiotics usage, as measured by days of therapy per 1000 patient days.

Pharmacy

The CT Children’s pharmacy department includes about 20 pharmacist FTEs to provide 24/7 coverage for the Hartford campus. The pharmacy department has clinical pharmacists assigned to each of the following areas: pediatric critical care, neonatal intensive care, medical -surgical floors, and Hematology/Oncology.

Technology

The use of technology for efficiency includes: EPIC/Willow as the electronic medical record, Theradoc for ASP review and reporting, Pediatric Health Information System for antibiotic benchmarking, a bar-code enabled carousel to optimize space in the pharmacy, the use of Dose Edge for IV verification, Omni-Cell for drug distribution.

Rotations

Orientation

During the resident’s first few weeks they will be oriented to the hospital processes as well as learning about basic pediatric and infectious diseases topics, taking course work in immunizations, quality improvement and research, ethics, and compliance. Additionally, during this time the resident gains confidence in the EPIC and Theradoc software systems, hospital antibiogram and data supporting the hospital clinical pathways and per-pharmacist protocols.

Pediatric Antimicrobial Stewardship (longitudinal)

Antimicrobial Stewardship is the focus of the program as one of the core goals is to train the resident to be able to run a stewardship program of their own. The resident will have projects and requirements related to stewardship throughout the year including the ASP monthly newsletter, formulary reviews, quality improvement projects, a research project, and assisting with tracking and reporting ASP metrics with the data analyst. Additionally, the resident will take on more responsibility for the ASP committee each month. To share their knowledge learned, the resident also provides a weekly clinical pearl to the pharmacy department. Additionally, the resident will have about half of their year dedicated to day-to-day antimicrobial stewardship activities. Some examples of these are: prospective review and feedback (inpatient and outpatient), culture review, and pre-prescription authorization for antimicrobials.

Outpatient Stewardship (longitudinal)

The resident will participate in the improving antimicrobial stewardship for outpatients by reviewing and providing recommendations to discharge, outpatient and emergency providers. This experience will broaden the resident’s knowledge to include common pediatric (neonate through adolescence) outpatient infectious disease issues including otitis, skin and soft tissue infections, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV post-exposure prophylaxis.

Clinical Pediatric Infectious Diseases (2 months)

The resident will be an integral part of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Clinical Service. The resident learns to recognize and treat common pediatric infections and is responsible for reviewing patients, providing recommendations for: patients therapies, monitoring, and follow-up. Additionally, being a part of the team the resident provides antimicrobial education to other healthcare trainees.

Hospital Committees (longitudinal)

The resident will participate in multiple hospital wide committees throughout the year. These include infection prevention, medication safety, and pharmacy and therapeutics. The resident takes on more responsibility throughout the year for each of these committees and by the end of the year is able to: provide significant organism report to infection prevention, complete formulary reviews and be the key infectious diseases pharmacist for pharmacy and therapeutics.

Microbiology (longitudinal)

Throughout the year the resident learns more about microbiology testing, procedures as well as individual organisms how they are tested, their morphology, susceptibility, and associated infections in pediatric patients. These discussions include traditional and more current molecular testing. Additionally, throughout the year the resident will become more comfortable working with the microbiologist staff and asking appropriate questions to help determine optimal therapy for patients.

Research Project (longitudinal)

The resident identifies a research project (with the assistance of the preceptor, if needed) that will answer an infectious disease related question and be inline with hospital priorities. The resident will create a protocol, conduct the data collection, with assistance perform the analysis of their data and determine conclusions. The resident will present the project as a poster for a national/international pediatric and/or ID meeting and draft a manuscript for submission to a reputable journal.

Academia (longitudinal)

The resident will have many opportunities to teach various learners throughout the year. The resident will be able to provide lectures in the Immunology and Special Populations Course as well as lead active learning workshops. Experiential teaching opportunities are also provided where the resident will gain precepting experience for IPPE, APPE, and/or PGY1 residents. The resident will also be given the opportunity to participate in the Uconn teaching certificate program. Additional teaching opportunities will exist at the hospital where the resident will provide inservices to healthcare providers regarding antimicrobial therapies and protocols.

Pharmacy Practice (Staffing) (longitudinal)

The resident will staff the Antimicrobial Stewardship on the assigned shifts, usually every other weekend. During that time they gain independence and confidence in being able to independently manage the program.

Elective Experiences

Adult antimicrobial stewardship, Cystic Fibrosis, Emergency medicine, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Pediatric Intensive Care, Solid organ transplant, Pediatric Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine, and additional options if available.

Other Experiences & Meetings

Throughout the year the resident will present journal clubs, complete formulary monograph(s), drug use evaluation(s), quality improvement projects, clinical protocol/pathway development, and review article(s).
Weekly Meetings: Microbiology review, Pearl presentation, ID case conference

Sharing Antimicrobial Reports for Pediatric Stewardship (SHARPS) international meeting and outpatient stewardship, Pharmacy and Therapeutics, Infection Prevention, Medication Safety (quarterly), Antimicrobial Stewardship

Application and Process

To apply you must:

Applicants with experience in pediatrics and infectious disease / antimicrobial stewardship on rotation, research, and/or job experiences will be preferred. In addition to specific knowledge, significant clinical experience participating as part of an interprofessional healthcare team is also preferred.

The application process:

  • Interested candidates will complete the application via PHORCAS: including letter of intent, curriculum vitae, official transcripts, and three letters of recommendations. At least 2 of the letters of recommendation should be from clinical preceptors at PGY1 program. All reference writers are requested to provide comments on the candidate’s clinical knowledge, experiences working with other healthcare providers, ability to multi-task and willingness to accept constructive criticism, and strength of communication skills.
  • The residency advisory committee (RAC) will review and rank all applications that are complete by the application deadline, using a predetermined process.
  • Applicants will be invited to a virtual interview
  • All candidates who completed the virtual interview will be evaluated and considered for ranking by the RAC. After the RAC meeting the ranked candidates will be submitted to the residency matching program.

Benefits

Benefits include: Salary, Health Insurance, Parking for the hospital, Time off and Tuition/travel costs to meetings to present research and/or recruit future residents

Recent Pharmacist Residency Preceptors

Jennifer E. Girotto, PharmD, BCPPS, BCIDP

Residency Program Director; Associate Clinical Professor, University of Connecticut; Co-DirectorAntimicrobial Stewardship, Connecticut Children’s
Email: jgirotto@connecticutchildrens.org or jennifer.girotto@uconn.edu
Dr. Jennifer Girotto is the Residency Program Director and primary preceptor for many of the PGY2 Infectious Diseases residents core rotations. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Connecticut and completed her postgraduate specialty residency in Pediatrics at Boston Children’s. She joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut with a practice site at Connecticut Children’s in 2003. At Uconn, she is currently an Associate Clinical Professor with didactic responsibilities including teaching immunizations, pediatrics, and pediatric infectious diseases topics. At Connecticut Children’s she is the Co-Director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program and Infectious Diseases Pharmacist where she is involved in multiple quality improvement projects and research.

Femi Felix-Ukwu, PharmD

Pediatric Critical Care Pharmacy Specialist
Connecticut Children’s
Dr. Felix-Ukwu is a pediatric critical care pharmacist. He completed his PGY1 residency at Texas Children’s Hospital. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor at Uconn where he provides expertise on PICU care and takes UCONN APPE students on PICU rotation. He is actively involved in patient research within the pediatric intensive care unit.

Paulette Grocki, PharmD, BCPS

Lead Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Connecticut Children’s
Dr. Grocki is a pediatric clinical specialist. She is an Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor at Uconn where she provides expertise on pediatric care and takes UCONN APPE students on rotation. She has led efforts for creating the pharmacist clinical ladder at Connecticut Children’s and assists the residents on administrative and organizational responsibilities.

Kristin Linder, PharmD, BCPS, BCIDP

Infectious Diseases Specialist & PGY2 Infectious Diseases Residency Program Director, Hartford Hospital
Dr. Kristin E. Linder received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from MCPHS University in Boston, MA and completed her postgraduate pharmacy practice residency and specialty training in infectious diseases at Hartford Hospital. She joined the faculty of Long Island University (Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences) as Assistant Clinical Professor in 2016 and served as an infectious diseases clinical specialist at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Linder returned to Hartford HealthCare in the fall of 2017 as an infectious diseases clinical specialist, where she serves as co-chair of the Hartford HealthCare Antimicrobial Stewardship Council and is actively involved in research and precepting residents and students. Her research and clinical interests include implementation of antimicrobial stewardship initiatives, treatment of multidrug resistance organisms, and treatment of infectious diseases in immunocompromised patients.

Joseph Kuti, PharmD

Associate Director, Clinical and Economic Studies, Center for Anti-infective Research and Development (CAIRD), Hartford Hospital
Dr Kuti is Associate Director of Clinical and Economic Studies at the Center for Anti-Infective Research and Development at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. He received his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from Rutgers University, College of Pharmacy in Piscataway, New Jersey. While completing his doctorate, he served as a clinical pharmacist for the medical and surgical intensive care units at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He then completed a post-doctorate fellowship in Antibiotic Management and Pharmacoeconomics at Hartford Hospital. He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology, American College of Clinical Pharmacy, Infectious Disease Society of America, and past-President and honorary Fellow of the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists. Dr Kuti’s primary area of research includes the pharmacokinetics, -dynamics, -economics, and outcomes of antimicrobial therapy in severe infections. His research has been published in over 200 peer-reviewed papers.

Heather Kutzler, PharmD, BCPS

Solid Organ Transplant Specialist
Hartford Hospital
Dr. Heather Kutzler is the Clinical Transplant Pharmacy Specialist, focusing on the care of kidney, liver, and heart transplant recipients. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy at the University of Connecticut, and completed her PGY1 residency at Hartford Hospital. During her residency, she completed multiple experiences in solid organ transplant, including an off-site rotation at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Dr. Kutzler also serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy by offering a solid organ transplant APPE rotation. Her research and clinical areas of interest include optimization of immunosuppression and post-transplant pain management.

Scott May, PharmD, BCPS, BCCPS

Pediatric Critical Care Pharmacist
Connecticut Children’s
Dr. May is a pediatric critical care pharmacist. He completed his PGY1 residency at St. Francis Hospital where he stayed on and became a critical care pharmacist. He recently transitioned to pediatric critical care. He is actively involved in patient research within the pediatric intensive care unit.

Joanna Young, PharmD, BCPS

Pediatric Clinical Specialist,
Connecticut Childrens
Dr. Young is a Pediatric Clinical Specialist, focusing on neonatal intensive care, dialysis, and medical-surgical patient populations. She completed her PGY1 residency at Central Baptist then was a Pediatric Pharmacist at Parkview health for many years before joining Connecticut Children’s. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Uconn School of Pharmacy where she shares expertise in the pediatric scholars track and takes students on NICU APPE rotations.

Current and Past Residents

Current Residents

Patricia Jackson, PharmD
Email: Pjackson01@connecticutchildrens.org
Education and Postgraduate Training:
PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency, Hospital of Central Connecticut (2020)
Doctor of Pharmacy, University of St. Joseph’s (2017); Bachelor of Science, Biology, University of St. Joseph’s (2014)

Samantha Basco, PharmD
Email: Sbasco@connecticutchildrens.org
Education and Postgraduate Training:
PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency, Benefis Hospital (2020)
Doctor of Pharmacy, University of Georgia (2019)

Past Residents

Lauren Puckett, PharmD
Current Position: Antimicrobial Stewardship Pharmacist, Lucille Packard Hospital/Stanford Children’s
Education and Postgraduate Training:
PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency, Medical University of South Carolina (2019)
Doctor of Pharmacy, University of Houston (2018); Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry, Texas A&M University (2013)

Betool Al-Mazraawy, PharmD
Current Position
Education and Postgraduate Training:
PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency, Yale New Haven Hospital (2019)
Doctor of Pharmacy, University of St. Joseph (2018); Bachelor of Science, Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut (2015)

Grant Stimes, PharmD, MPA, BCPS, BCIDP
Current Position: Antimicrobial Stewardship Pharmacist, Texas Children’s Hospital
Education and Postgraduate Training:
PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency, Iowa Hospital and Clinic (2018)
Doctor of Pharmacy & Masters of Public Administration, Drake University (2017)

Kailynn DeRonde, PharmD, BCIDP

Current Position: Infectious Diseases Clinical Pharmacist, Holtz Women and Children’s Hospital / Jackson Memorial Hospital
Education and Postgraduate Training:
PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency, Children’s Hospital Colorado (2017); Doctor of Pharmacy, University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (2016)

Brittany Rodriguez, PharmD, BCIDP
Current Position: Antimicrobial Stewardship Pharmacist, Texas Children’s Hospital
Education and Postgraduate Training:
PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency, Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, CHRIST'S Santa Rosa Healthcare System (2016); Doctor of Pharmacy, Feik School of Pharmacy (2015)

Aimee Dassner, PharmD, BCIDP
Current Position: Infectious Diseases /Antimicrobial Stewardship Pharmacist, Children’s National
Education and Postgraduate Training:
PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency, Atlantic Health System (2015); Doctor of Pharmacy, Creighton University (2014); Bachelors of Science, Biology, Lafayette College (2010)

Heather Magsarili, PharmD
Current Position: Drug Information Pharmacist, MedImpact, San Diego California
Education and Postgraduate Training:
PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency, Children’s Medical Center Dallas (2014); Doctor of Pharmacy, University of Arizona (2013)

Publications Completed During Residency

1: St Germain RM (Maiden name for Fallon RM), Yigit S, Wells L, Girotto JE, Salazar JC.
Cushing syndrome and severe adrenal suppression caused by fluticasone and protease
inhibitor combination in an HIV-infected adolescent. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2007
Jun;21(6):373-7.

2: Fallon RM, Girotto JE. A review of clinical experience with newer antifungals
in children. J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Jul;13(3):124-40.

3: Fallon RM, Kuti JL, Doern GV, Girotto JE, Nicolau DP. Pharmacodynamic target 10
attainment of oral beta-lactams for the empiric treatment of acute otitis media
in children. Paediatr Drugs. 2008;10(5):329-35.

4: Courter JD, Girotto JE, Salazar JC. Tipranavir: a new protease inhibitor for the pediatric population. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2008 Dec;6(6):797-803.

5: Courter JD, Kuti JL, Girotto JE, Nicolau DP. Optimizing bactericidal exposure for beta-lactams using prolonged and continuous infusions in the pediatric population. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2009 Sep;53(3):379-85.

6: Courter JD, Baker WL, Nowak KS, Smogowicz LA, Desjardins LL, Coleman CI, Girotto JE. Increased clinical failures when treating acute otitis media with macrolides: a meta-analysis. Ann Pharmacother. 2010 Mar;44(3):471-8.

7: Courter JD, Teevan CJ, Li MH, Girotto JE, Salazar JC. Role of tipranavir in treatment of patients with multidrug-resistant HIV. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2010 Oct 5;6:431-41.

8: Magsarili HK, Girotto JE, Bennett NJ, Nicolau DP. Making a Case for Pediatric Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs. Pharmacotherapy. 2015 Nov;35(11):1026-36.

9: Dassner AM, Nicolau DP, Girotto JE. Management of Pneumonia in the Pediatric Critical Care Unit: An Area for Antimicrobial Stewardship. Curr Pediatr Rev. 2017;13(1):49-66.

10: Dassner AM, Girotto JE. Evaluation of a Second-Sign Process for Antimicrobial Prior Authorization. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2018 May 15;7(2):113-118.

11: Rodriguez BA, Girotto JE, Nicolau DP. Ceftazidime/Avibactam and Ceftolozane/Tazobactam: Novel Therapy for Multidrug Resistant Gram Negative Infections in Children. Curr Pediatr Rev. 2018;14(2):97-109.

12: DeRonde KJ, Girotto JE, Nicolau DP. Management of Pediatric Acute Hematogenous Osteomyelitis, Part I: Antimicrobial Stewardship Approach and Review of Therapies for Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus,
Streptococcus pyogenes, and Kingella kingae. Pharmacotherapy. 2018 Sep;38(9):947-966.

13: DeRonde KJ, Girotto JE, Nicolau DP. Management of Pediatric Acute Hematogenous Osteomyelitis, Part II: A Focus on Methicillin-Resistant 11 Staphylococcus aureus, Current and Emerging Therapies. Pharmacotherapy. 2018
Oct;38(10):1021-1037.

14: Stimes GT, Girotto JE. Applying Pharmacodynamics and Antimicrobial
Stewardship to Pediatric Preseptal and Orbital Cellulitis. Paediatr Drugs. 2019
Dec;21(6):427-438.

Connecticut Children's Medical Center

Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford, Conn.