American Leadership Fellows Program

CPOS Research Feature: Besty Blake 


Betsy Blake, PharmD., Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Interprofessional Education, is working with several others on a project for the AACP Academic Leadership Fellows Program that involves the process of “interview selection” for PGY1 pharmacy residencies entitled,  “Comparing Pharmacy Residency Program Candidate Selection Criteria with Colleges of Pharmacy Student Residency Preparation Mentoring Strategies.”

In order for practicing pharmacists to gain advanced clinical and administrative training, it is beneficial for pharmacists to pursue a post-graduate residency.  The focus of this research project is on the comparison interview selection criteria of students for Post-Graduate Year (PGY) 1 residencies and the advisement they are provided by faculty in schools of pharmacy.  Students applying for PGY1 residencies are matched with prospective hospitals through a process that is very similar to that used by medical students to obtain residencies.  Unlike medical residencies, where the number of applications generally matches the number of residency positions, the number of pharmacy students seeking residencies outnumbers the number of available PGY1 residencies by approximately 3 to 1.  Hence, excellent advising and student preparation are necessary (but insufficient) conditions to obtaining a PGY1 residency.  Unfortunately, little information exists about the general set of characteristics that selection committees use to screen applicants for PGY1 residencies.  This, in turn, prevents faculty advisors from adequately assisting students as they prepare for PGY1 residencies.

Besty’s group is investigating if there is a difference in the advice that pharmacy faculty members give to pharmacy students pursuing residencies compared to what residency program directors use for selection of candidates for an interview for the residency position.  As part of this effort, lists of residency program directors for PGY1 residency program directors as well as list of pharmacy practice faculty members who are members of AACP were collated.  Each group was sent an invitation to complete an online survey regarding the importance of specific criteria determined from literature review and experience.  Random samples of each group were then invited to participate in a qualitative interview via telephone.  All results will be collated and analyzed to determine if a difference exists.  Results will then be disseminated to minimize any discrepancies in recommendations to students. The value in the survey is that: a) students seeking residency training will be better prepared for the matching/selection process;  b) the results will empower faculty advisors to provide better student support services; c) and there will be greater transparency in the selection process as a whole.

Besty joined SCCP in 2005 as an adjunct clinical assistant professor. Her practice (at the VA) is in chronic disease state management in an ambulatory care setting. Betsy is currently analyzing the benefit of pharmacists in the patient centered medical home for chronic disease state quality improvement. She is also greatly involved in the development and expansion of inter-professional education on the USC campus. She collaborates with faculty and administrators from each of the 5 health science units at USC, as well as faculty from the School of Medicine in Greenville.  Betsy’s other research interests involve the scholarship of teaching. She is fascinated with curriculum improvement and would like to find more ways to make students independent learners and think critically so that they will be more successfully.  She is also interested in various teaching styles to improve content retention.