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Specialty Pharmacy Community Residency

This 12-month post-graduate program offers a unique community practice environment to develop expertise in specialty pharmacy.


Postgraduate year 1 (PGY1) community residency in specialty pharmacy

Gain the skills and knowledge needed to work with high-level specialty disease states. Our American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and American Pharmacists Association (APhA) accredited community-based pharmacy residency program is a 12-month post-graduate program that provides a unique community practice environment to develop expertise in specialty pharmacy.

Based at the Optum® Specialty Pharmacy National Distribution Center in Phoenix, Arizona, the program offers a variety of patient care services to support chronic or complex specialty disease states and treatments, including:

  • Oncology
  • Autoimmune disorders (inflammation, asthma, multiple sclerosis)
  • Infectious diseases (hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV)

Our residency offers the fundamental chronic disease state management/learning for clinical programs. Additionally, it offers expanded learning opportunities through partner sites, such as Optum Care Primary Care and Genoa Pharmacy.

The clinical pharmacists work with manufacturer industry, third-party payer and other health care professionals to manage patient medication therapy and help improve patient outcomes.

By completing our residency, you will gain skills and work with leaders not otherwise afforded to an entry-level pharmacist.

Program details



Based in Phoenix, Arizona


12-month post-graduate program


ASHP-APhA accredited

Specialty patient care

  • Oncology and limited distribution drugs
  • Inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases (rheumatology, dermatology, gastrointestinal, asthma, multiple sclerosis)
  • Infectious diseases (HIV, HCV, HBV)
  • Specialty clinical counseling
  • Electives

Longitudinal experiences

  • Operations staffing
  • Chronic disease management at Optum Care Clinic
  • Education and professionalism
    • Completion of a professional teaching certificate
    • Core pharmacist education support
    • Professional organization and committee involvement
    • Optum Nursing Continuing Education Program
  • Projects
    • Research
    • Quality improvement
    • Pharmacy services

More information

To participate in the program, you must:

  • Be a graduate of an Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)-accredited college of school of pharmacy or equivalent
  • Become a licensed pharmacist in Arizona within 120 days of program start date

Prior specialty pharmacy, leadership and research experience is encouraged.

  • Competitive salaried position with paid time off
  • Travel reimbursement for clinical meetings
  • Medical, dental, vision and life insurance plans

Avella Specialty Pharmacy was founded in 1996 as a single pharmacy in Phoenix, Arizona. We expanded to multiple locations throughout metro Phoenix, as well as other cities across the country. In the fall of 2018, we joined UnitedHealth Group®.

Now part of Optum Specialty Pharmacy and the UnitedHealth Group family of businesses, we bring breakthrough medications, innovative clinical pharmacy programs, and technological tools to providers and patients across the nation.

Our residency offers the fundamental chronic disease management/learning for clinical programs. Additionally, there are many more opportunities to work with high-level, complex specialty disease states that few pharmacists have experience in.

By completing our residency, you will be able to gain skills and work with leaders not otherwise afforded to an entry-level pharmacist.

You’ll have multiple opportunities for partnership with pharmacy students and colleges of pharmacy, including: precepting Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE) rotation students on site, core pharmacist education support through revision of learning modules and presentations, and the completion of a teaching certificate, helping to teach an elective 10-week class “Intro to Specialty Pharmacy,” developing and presenting nursing CE programs, and earning a teaching certificate in partnership with Midwestern-Glendale campus.

Current elective rotation options include, but are not limited to:

  • Business Development
  • Clinical Programs Management
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Capabilities Management
  • Rare Diseases and Gene Therapy
  • Cancer Guidance Program: Pathways Program
  • Specialty Guidance Program
  • Neurology Center of Excellence
  • Pharmacy Management

We look for candidates who are interested in specialty pharmacy and motivated to make the most of this experience. As an ideal resident, you would have a chronic disease state background and an interest in managing patients in an outpatient setting in both chronic and specialty disease states.

Although not always possible, you would have had some experience working in a specialty pharmacy setting or specialty disease state area (e.g., in Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPE) or APPE rotation, internship and/or research project).

You would be able to initiate and complete a research project and have time management skills to incorporate working with APPE students, pharmacist roles and clinical management into your workflow.

  • Acquiring Arizona Pharmacist license within 120 days of program start date
  • Successful completion of all scheduled rotations and corresponding assessments
  • Successful completion of professional teaching certificate
  • Research Project presentation at Southwestern States Residency Conference and manuscript suitable for publication
  • Initiation and evaluation of Quality Improvement Project (QIP), Collaborative Practice Agreement (CPA) and Pharmacy Services Project

Reach out to our team to learn more 

Fill out the form to contact the residency program team for more information.