Grand Island Resident Bios - VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System
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VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System

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Grand Island Resident Bios

The RPD meets with residents monthly (as a group) and quarterly on an individual basis to assess resident progress, interests and goals. The well-rounded programs are comprehensive and flexible to match the career goals of each resident. Past residents have entered almost every avenue that pharmacy offers. Of the 40 graduates of the PGY1 program:

  • 19 are working in the VA healthcare system (ambulatory care pharmacists in PACT, inpatient and outpatient pharmacy, pharmacy managers, RPDs, CLC pharmacists and home-based primary care)
  • 1 is working for Indian Health Services
  • 16 former residents have taken non-VA clinical positions ranging from ambulatory care, to 50:50 faculty members, RPDs, inpatient clinical coordinators, pharmacoeconomics (PBM), inpatient infectious disease, inpatient oncology, PGY2
  • 4 former residents are working in a variety of other positions

The 2019-2020 residency year was the first year for the PGY2 Ambulatory Care program. Our first residency graduate is the clinical pharmacist for the Pain/Whole Health team at the Omaha VA.

Click here to view a video to meet current residents and to learn more about the program!


Kristen Grimaldi - PGY1 Resident

Hometown: Omaha, NE

Undergraduate: Northwest Missouri State University
COP: University of Nebraska Medical Center


Why the VA: The VA allows pharmacists to practice at the top of their license while collaborating with other health care professionals. Residents are given the opportunity to interact with veterans daily and learn directly from experienced clinical pharmacists. The VA offers experience in managing core disease states.

Favorite thing about GIVA that I didn’t know before the match: The pharmacy team is extremely welcoming and close-knit. I did not realize we would have multiple meetings per month giving us the opportunity to interact with residents from the Lincoln VA and Omaha VA. 

Research Project: Evaluation of Patients Prescribed Gabapentin with Renal Impairment (quality improvement project)

Career Interests: Ambulatory Care and academia. I hope to find a career as a clinical pharmacist and help patients manage their diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and smoking cessation. I hope to precept students and eventually become faculty at a college of pharmacy.

What I enjoy about Grand Island: Grand Island has a small town feel with the amenities of a city. I enjoy biking on trails in the Grand Island and Kearney area. 



Michelle Paulsen - PGY1 Resident 

Hometown: Grand Island, NE

Undergraduate: University of Nebraska - Omaha
COP: Northeastern University - Boston, Massachusetts


Why the VA: Even though I didn’t have any VA APPE rotations, the pharmacy-forward reputation of the VA precedes itself and I knew I wanted to pursue a VA residency. I specifically heard fantastic things about the Grand Island VA Hospital about the broad scope that pharmacists at the GIVA practice in, even compared to other sites around the country. Serving veterans is an honor, and I’m finding that the veteran population is diverse, offering new challenges and opportunities that have been helping me grow my clinical expertise.

Favorite Thing about GIVA that I didn’t know before the match: How supportive and welcoming all the preceptors are! Before the match, I knew the preceptors were excellent clinicians, but since joining the GIVA the preceptors have all shown that resident learning and development is a top priority.

Research Project: Impact of Population Management on Pharmacist Interventions for Patients with Heart Failure at VA Nebraska Western Iowa Healthcare System (quality improvement project)

Career Interests: My career interests are broad, and I’m utilizing the PGY1 year to explore several avenues including mental health and substance use disorders, hospice/palliative care, and ambulatory care specialties.

What I enjoy about Grand Island: I’m back home! So much has changed since I left for college, and I’m always discovering something new. There is a nice mix of indoor and outdoor activities, with a bike trail running throughout nearly the whole town, a variety of eateries, and a few key nightlife spots downtown. I also really enjoy my commute: the traffic is so much more bearable than Boston. Grand Island is the perfect size for both convenience and opportunity, with Lincoln or Omaha just a couple hours away if you need/want to make the occasional trips.  


Jess Berei

Hometown: Rockford, Illinois

Undergraduate: Drake University
COP: Drake University

PGY-1 Residency: VA Central Iowa Health Care System in Des Moines, IA


Why the VA: Many, many reasons. The biggest of which is the progressive role of pharmacy within the VA, especially in the ambulatory care setting. Being able to serve as a mid-level provider and work under scope is a unique opportunity and one that definitely allows me to practice at the top of my license. Another reason for choosing the VA is the patient population. I am constantly impressed with how selfless and caring my patients are – I consider myself lucky to be their provider!

Favorite Thing about GIVA that I didn’t know before the match: I have two favorites. The first of which is how close knit the pharmacy department is. Everyone has been so welcoming and inviting making it easy to become a part of the family. My second favorite thing is my interaction with the PGY1 residents. We share an office together and have inevitably become very close – Although I’m the only PGY2 resident, I never feel alone with those two around!

Research Project: Expansion of pharmacist clinical services to optimize the management of gout in a Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Career Interests: Ambulatory Care – I enjoy managing chronic disease states that are typically seen in the PACT clinic such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, thyroid issues, smoking cessation, etc. However, I also have interests in endocrinology, nephrology, cardiology, and pulmonology.

What I enjoy about Grand Island: I enjoy the small town feel and sense of community. I also have enjoyed exploring local restaurants and shops throughout Grand Island!