Susan schroeter photo

A Resilient Residency for PharmD Alumna Shows Her Capacity For Care

CLAREMONT, Calif. – As a Postgraduate Year One (PGY-1) pharmacy resident at the Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center, Susan Schroeter, PharmD ’18, feels she is exactly where she wants to be professionally. She hopes to practice pharmacy in a hospital setting, ideally in ambulatory care, and the residency program is helping to expand her clinical skills and knowledge.

Schroeter is completing multiple rotations—in critical care, oncology, infectious disease, ambulatory care, drug education, and several other areas—and interacting with a variety of healthcare providers at Kaiser Permanente to optimize patient care. The residency also incorporates a yearlong research project that will culminate in Schroeter presenting her work focused on oral chemotherapy and barriers to medication adherence.

“I knew a residency would push me beyond what I thought I was capable of doing,” she says.

Schroeter, who held an ambulatory care pharmacy internship at Kaiser Permanente’s Riverside Medical Center during her time as a student in the KGI School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, was one of only two residency recipients selected from a pool of 110 applicants.

“I feel lucky to have been chosen. I’m not sure what differentiated me from the others, although a preceptor here mentioned that I displayed a lot of ‘grit’ during the interview, and that impressed her,” says Schroeter.

She demonstrated that same grit when she transformed herself from an underprivileged student at Cerritos Community College into a quality assurance professional at the healthcare company Baxter International. Her determination was evident again when she returned to the KGI Doctor of Pharmacy program shortly after giving birth.

Schroeter showed similar resolve when her father suffered a heart attack during her second year at KGI. She realized he needed a healthcare advocate after he ended up with several medications, adverse effects, and an irreversibly damaged heart.

“Many people don’t have the healthcare knowledge to be an advocate and figure out the best therapy. Pharmacists are medication experts who are able to bridge the gap and do this kind of management,” says Schroeter. “That’s why I’m interested in working in ambulatory care, where I can closely monitor patients, observe their progression, and make an immediate impact. Because of my personal experience, I consider every patient like a family member.”

When her residency ended in August of 2019, Schroeter applied for permanent positions with the goal of staying on at Kaiser Permanente.

No matter what she does or where she goes, former KGI Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences David Ha is certain she will be successful. He served as Schroeter’s faculty advisor and observed her work during her final pharmacy practice rotation as a KGI student.

Ha says of the alumni speaker at KGI’s 2019 Commencement, “Susan is one of the best students I’ve ever worked with. She’s one of the greats. She’s able to communicate effectively and develop relationships across disciplines. She’s just very genuine and very good at demonstrating that. She garners trust and collaboration almost instantaneously. She’s able to sway hearts and minds, and she leads by example.”