Specialty Programs

​PGY2 Psychiatric Pharmacy Residency

Postgraduate Year 2

The PGY-2 Psychiatric Pharmacy Residency is offered by Riverside University Health System (RUHS) Medical Center Department of Pharmacy in cooperation with RUHS Department of Behavioral Health and University of California Riverside (UCR) School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry.

The purpose of the PGY2 psychiatric pharmacy residency program is to build on Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) education and outcomes to prepare pharmacist clinicians for pharmaceutical care of patients affected by mental illness with a wide range of acuity and disease states in a variety of settings. Upon completion of the RUHS PGY2 Psychiatric Pharmacy Residency Program, residents will be prepared to function as clinical pharmacist in a variation of settings, including a health-systems setting or academia, as well as be eligible for board certification in Psychiatric Pharmacy (BCPP).

Applicants must have completed an ASHP-accredited PGY-1 residency and obtain California Pharmacist licensure prior to beginning the PGY-2. Applications can be submitted via the PhORCAS System.

Practice Site

The residency experiences are held a multiple locations throughout the county. The majority of residency experiences will take place at RUHS Arlington Campus, located in Riverside. The Arlington campuse includes a 77-bed Inpatient Mental Health Hospital, as well as a 20 bed COVID unit and 2 Psychiatric Emergency rooms. Units include a 9 bed psychiatric ICU, two 28 bed adult units, a 12 bed adolescent unit, as well as adult and a pediatric/adolescent emergency departments. Additionally, there is an outpatient retail pharmacy specializing in mental health and servicing hospital discharges and the surrounding community.

In addition to time at the Arlington Campus, residents will spend time at the RUHS Medical Center, located in Moreno Valley, for their geriatrics and psychiatric consult liaison services (PCLS) rotations. For the Academic Psychiatry/Neurology rotation, the residents will spend time at Loma Linda School of Pharmacy, as well as multiple affiliated clinics. Finally, the resident-run psychiatric clinics are located in Riverside and Moreno Valley within Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs).

RUHS Psychiatric Pharmacists are responsible for providing both operational and clinical services at all sites. Psychiatric Pharmacists work under P&T approved protocols in the inpatient setting allowing for monitoring and ordering of appropriate lab work for clozapine, anticoagulation, and metabolic monitoring. Psychiatric Pharmacists conduct daily screening and documentation for Joint Commission Core Measure HBIPS, Long Acting Injectable (antipsychotics and naltrexone), movement disorder screening, and treatment team participation.

RUHS Arlington serves as a main training site for UCR Medical School's Psychiatry Residency, UCR’s Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship programs, and RUHS Psychiatry Residency. As such, there will be extensive collaboration with these trainees. Psychiatric pharmacy staff train student pharmacists attending multiple national universities, including University of the Pacific, University of Southern California, Keck Graduate Institute, Loma Linda University, University of Colorado, and University of St. Joseph. With the vast majority of trainees, the resident will gain ample exposure to preceptorship and hone these skills.

RUHS Psychiatric Pharmacy Faculty

Melissa Mitchell, PharmD BCPP BCPS BCGP – Residency Program Director
Andy Williams, PharmD BCPP BCGP – Residency Program Coordinator
Jessa Koch, PharmD, BCPP
Niyati Butala, PharmD, BCPP
Sabrina Snyder, PharmD
Stephanie Kourtakis, PharmD, BCACP
Dalea Kandela, PharmD
Additional pharmacy and medicine faculty provide selective learning experiences

Required Rotations

  • Orientation
  • Adult Inpatient Psychiatry
  • Advanced Inpatient Psychiatry (Supervisory Role)
  • Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Academia/Education (longitudinal)
  • Academic Psychiatry/Neurology
  • Administration
  • Ambulatory Psychiatric Clinic (longitudinal)
  • Emergency Psychiatry
  • Geriatrics
  • Psychiatric Pharmacy Operations (longitudinal)
  • Research (longitudinal)

Offered Elective Rotations

  • Consultation Liaison Psychiatry
  • Correctional Health Services
  • Extension of any required experience

Ambulatory Psychiatry Experience

The resident is given provider privileges under a collaborative practice agreement. The resident will be responsible for providing comprehensive medication management to a caseload of patients with mental illness, including initiating and adjusting medications and ordering necessary lab work. The resident will work closely with the RUHS Behavioral Health team, Family Practice, Internal Medicine, and variety of internal medicine subspecialists such as Rheumatologists and Infectious Disease medical teams. This is a longitudinal experience in which the resident will staff the clinic every week, spending half of the year in Moreno Valley and the other half in Riverside.


The resident will complete a research project suitable for presentation at the midyear meeting for American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the annual meeting of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP). The goal of the research experience is to develop a research protocol or new service that is suitable for publication. A completed manuscript is to be submitted to a journal at the end of the residency year.


The resident will have the opportunity to provide didactic lectures within CNS modules to pharmacy students at Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy and Keck Graduate Institute School of Pharmacy. The resident will also provide lectures, along with their preceptors, to the psychiatry residents and to consumers at National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at multiple local association meetings. Furthermore, the resident will gain experience precepting, including serving as the primary preceptor for one APPE student block. 


Melissa Mitchell, PharmD BCPP BCGP BCPS
Senior Clinical Pharmacist
PGY2 Psychiatric Pharmacy Residency Program Director
RUHS- Medical Center
26520 Cactus Ave
Moreno Valley, CA 92555
Phone: (951) 486-6322
Email: m.mitchell@ruhealth.org

Andy Williams, PharmD BCPP BCGP
Senior Clinical Pharmacist
PGY2 Psychiatric Pharmacy Residency Program Coordinator
RUHS- Medical Center, Arlington Campus
9990 County Farm Rd
Riverside, CA 92503
Phone: (951) 358-6551
Email: andrew.williams@ruhealth.org