Program Leadership & Preceptor Biographies

 

PROGRAM LEADERSHIP

Rajan Desai, Pharm.D., MBA

Director of Pharmacy Services

Residency Program Sponsor

Email: RDesai@houstonmethodist.org

 

Academic Background:

  •  Undergraduate School: Genetics Texas A&M University
  •  Graduate School: PharmD Texas Tech University, MBA - Texas A&M University Kingsville

 

 

 

HMSL and System Committee Involvements:

  • System Pharmacy Council
  • Houston Methodist Sugar Land Pharmacy P&T, Co-Chair
  • Team Leader Hospital-wide Cost Savings Initiatives
  • Houston Methodist Sugar Land Leadership Guiding Coalition
  • Houston Methodist Specialty Pharmacy Advisory Board

 

Professional Organization Affiliations and Recent Projects:

  • Chairperson - MARCOMM Committee, American College of Healthcare Executives (2020)
  • Panel presenter - Texas State of Reform Conference, Austin, TX Measuring value in the PBM and Pharmacy Space (2020)
  • Houston Methodist High Impact Director Recognition (2020)
  • Council Member - Houston Community College Technician Program Advisory (2018 - Present)
  • Pharmacy SME for Kaizen Project impacting 100+ Hospital clients Cardinal Health (2017)

 

Personal Information: Dr. Desai grew up in 3 different counties (U.K., India, and U.S.A) but has called Houston home for the past 20 years. In his personal time, he enjoys watching and playing various sports, reading non-fiction, and listening to finance and political podcasts. 

 

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John Blee, Pharm.D., BCPS

Operations Manager

PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency Director

Email: JBlee@houstonmethodist.org

 

Residency Preceptor, Area of Focus: Management 

 

Academic Background:

  • Undergraduate School: University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Graduate School: University of Houston

 

 

  • Residency Background: PGY1-2 Health-System Pharmacy Administration, Harris Health System, Houston, TX
  • Certifications: Board Certified in Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS)

 

HMSL and System Committee Involvements:

  • System Smart Pump Subcommittee, Chair
  • Operations Collaborative
  • Epic Willow Workgroup
  • Pharmacy Formulary Actions Follow-up Committee
  • Maternal and NICU Quality Assurance and Process Improvement Committee
  • Medication Safety Committee

 

Personal Information: Dr. Blee is an Army veteran and worked in U.S. government national intelligence and counter terrorism before changing careers to become a pharmacist. He is a big sports fan, avid video game player, and foodie who also enjoys spending time with his family.

 

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Gordana Isajloska-Jasmak, RPh, BCPS

Clinical Manager

PGY1 Pharmacy Residency Coordinator

Email: GIsajloska@houstonmethodist.org

 

Residency Preceptor, Area of Focus: Management 

 

Academic Background:

  • Graduate School: University "Cyril and Methodius" School of Pharmacy, Skopje, Macedonia

 

  • Certifications: Board Certified in Pharmacotherapy (BCPS)

 

HMSL and System Committee Involvements:

  • System and local Med Safety Committee, Co-chair
  • Cardiology
  • OB-Gyn
  • ASP
  • Bariatric
  • Cancer Committee
  • ICU
  • Delirium
  • DAC-system
  • System and local P&T Department of Medicine
  • System Pain Committee
  • Emergency 
  • Stroke

 

Project and Research Accomplishments:

  • Telecounseling
  • Tocilizumab MUE- pending
  • R-EPOCH Outpatient Implementation and Kaizen project related to the implementation
  • Lead and oversee multiple cost savings initiatives
  • Medication reconciliation / medication history process at Houston Methodist Sugar Land
  • System Quality and Safety Peer Award (2017)

 

Personal Information: Mrs. Isajloska-Jasmak lived in Europe (Macedonia) until she was 28 years old. She loves travelling, enjoys food tasting, reading good books, and listening to history and social-related podcasts. 

 

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PRECEPTORS

Aileen Korulla, Pharm.D., BCPS

Clinical Specialist

Email: AKorulla@houstonmethodist.org

 

Residency Preceptor, Area of Focus: Internal medicine, NICU

 

Academic Background:

  • Undergraduate School: University of Houston
  • Graduate School: University of Houston
  • Certifications: Board Certified in Pharmacotherapy (BCPS)

 

 

 

HMSL and System Committee Involvements:

  • System Pain Committee
  • NICU Collaborative
  • Maternal and NICU Quality Assurance and Process Improvement Committee

Professional Organization: ASHP

 

Project and Research Involvements:

  • Time to initiation of optimal antimicrobial in gram-positive bacteremia and fungemia
  • Tylenol IV cost saving initiative
  • Coordination of APPE student orientation

 

Personal Information: Dr. Korulla was born and raised in Kuwait and moved to Houston after high school. She loves to read, travel, and spend time with family. She is active in church ministries: singing in church choir, teaching Bible classes (9th grade Sunday school teacher) and Young Families Fellowship.

 

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Brittany Yalamanchili, Pharm.D., BCPS

Clinical Specialist

Email: BYalamanchili@houstonmethodist.org

 

Residency Preceptor, Area of Focus: Internal Medicine

 

Academic Background:

  • Undergraduate School: Rutgers, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy
  • Graduate School: Rutgers, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy

 

 

  • Residency Background: Penn Medicine, Princeton Medical Center
  • Certifications: Board Certified in Pharmacotherapy (BCPS)

 

HMSL and System Committee Involvements:

  • Sepsis Committee
  • Stroke Committee

Professional Organization: ASHP, TSHP, ACCP

 

Project and Research Accomplishments:

  • Treatment duration for gram-negative bacteremia
  • Medication Reconciliation/Medication History Program
  • IVIG Usage and Cost-Savings Initiative
  • Heparin Low-Dose Protocol Quality Improvement Project Preceptor

 

Personal Information: Dr. Yalamanchili grew up in New Jersey and recently moved to Texas. In her spare time, she loves to watch football (Fly Eagles Fly!), and enjoys anything pumpkin spice.

 

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Chiamaka Ike, Pharm.D., BCCCP

Clinical Specialist

Email: CIke@houstonmethodist.org

 

Residency Preceptor, Area of Focus: Critical Care, Emergency Medicine

 

Academic Background:

  • Undergraduate School: University of Texas at Austin
  • Graduate School: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy

 

  • Residency Background: UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX (PGY1), CHI St. Luke's Health - Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, Houston, TX (PGY2-Critical Care)
  • Certifications: Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacist (BCCCP), Board Certified Cardiology Pharmacist (BCCP), Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS)

 

HMSL and System Committee Involvements:

  • ICU Steering Committee
  • Sepsis Core Measure Committee

 

Project and Research Accomplishments: Dr. Ike is currently working on several initiatives including process and quality improvements such as:

  • Sputum Culture Driven Antibiotic Deescalation
  • Vasopressor conservation strategies
  • Tocilizumab medication utilization evaluation. 

 

Personal Information: Dr. Ike enjoys working out, group fitness, cooking, gardening, watching a lot of TV, and reading.

 

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Holly Ryan, Pharm.D., BCPS

Clinical Specialist

Email: HRyan@houstonmethodist.org


Residency Preceptor, Area of Focus: Emergency Medicine

 

Academic Background:

  • Graduate School: University of Houston College of Pharmacy
  • Residency Background: Memorial Hermann Memorial City (PGY1)
  • Certifications: Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS)

 

 

Project and Research Involvements: 

  • Cost-saving initiatives
  • Expansion of clinical services
  • Process improvement

 

Personal Information: Dr. Ryan was born and raised in Australia. She moved to the U.S. with her family in 2008 at which time she decided to change careers and pursue pharmacy. She loves vacationing with family, scuba diving and thriatlon, training her dogs, and listening to 80's music. 

 

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Jessica Kay, Pharm.D., BCPS

Clinical Specialist

Email: JKay@houstonmethodist.org

 

Residency Preceptor, Area of Focus: Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine

 

Academic Background:

  • Undergraduate School: St. John's University
  • Graduate School: St. John's University
  • Residency Background: Northport VAMC
  • Certifications: Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS)

 

 

HMSL and System Committee Involvement: Bariatric Committee

 

Project and Research Accomplishments: 

  • Prothrombin Complex Concentrate cost-savings initiatives and quality improvement
  • Bio-K Project

 

Personal Information: Dr. Kay loves to travel, experience new cuisine, cook, and spend time with family.

 

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Zhili Fu, Pharm.D., BCOP

Clinical Specialist

Email: ZFu@houstonmethodist.org

 

Residency Preceptor, Area of Focus: Hematology/Oncology

 

Academic Background:

  • Undergraduate School: Henan Medical University
  • Graduate School: Nova Southeastern University
  • Residency Background: Houston Methodist Hospital (PGY2-Oncology)
  • Certifications: Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist (BCOP)

 

HMSL and System Committee Involvement: Cancer Committee

 

Project and Research Accomplishments: Dr. Fu is currently working on a few system research projects such as:

  • FOLFOX in obese
  • Nivolumab dose modification
  • Oral chemo adherence 
  • Outpatient R-EPOCH at HMSL

 

Personal Information: Dr. Fu enjoys travelling and yoga.

 

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Meghan Thibeaux, Pharm.D., BCPS

Clinical Specialist

Email: MNThibeaux@houstonmethodist.org


Residency Preceptor, Area of Focus: Internal Medicine, Medication Safety

 

Academic Background:

  • Undergraduate School: Bachelor of Science in Nutrition at Texas A&M University
  • Graduate School: Texas A&M University College of Pharmacy
  • Residency Background: Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital (PGY1)
  • Certifications: Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS)

 

HMSL and System Committee Involvements:

  • Local and system Medication Safety Committee
  • System Delirium
  • HMSL Delirium Champion

 

Project and Research Accomplishments: 

  • Asymptomatic Bacteriuria
  • Ertapenem Medication Use Evaluation
  • Daptomycin Medication Use Evaluation
  • Alteplase Cost-Savings Initiation
  • Fentanyl Patch SBAR
  • Tolvaptan.Conivaptan Continuous Quality Improvement Project
  • Diabetes in Special Populations CE

 

Personal Information: Dr. Thibeaux enjoys outdoors especially hiking, biking, and swimming as well as spending quality time with family. 

 

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Minju Mathew, Pharm.D., BCPS

Pharmacy Administrative Specialist

Email: MMathew7@houstonmethodist.org

 

Residency Preceptor, Area of Focus: Pharmacy Administration

 

Academic Background:

  • Undergraduate School: University f Houston
  • Graduate School: Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy
  • Certifications: Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS)

 

 

HMSL and System Committee Involvements:

  • Narcotic Diversion Committee
  • HMSL Safety Forum

 

Project and Research Accomplishments: Pyxis Optimization and Inventory Management to reduce medication waste

 

Personal Information: Dr. Mathew enjoys watching or playing team sports, gardening, and spending time with family.

 

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Nitha Chou, Pharm.D., BCPS
Clinical Specialist
Email: NKChou@houstonmethodist.org

Residency Preceptor, Area of Focus: Internal Medicine, Neonatal ICU

 

Academic Background:

  • Undergraduate School: University of California, Davis
  • Graduate School: Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences - Worsceter
  • Residency Background: St. Anthony's Hospital of Baycare Health System (PGY1)

 

  • Certifications: Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS)

 

HMSL and System Committee Involvement: Diabetes Advisory Council (DAC)

 

Project and Research Accomplishments: 

  • IVIG Cerner Order set
  • Standard dose Heparin protocol CQI project
  • Basal plus insulin order set
  • Injectable chemotherapy medication reference

 

Personal Information: Dr. Chou lived in Vietnam, California, Massachusetts, and Florida. Houston is now her home where she enjoys exploring local cuisine and travel destinations with family. 

 

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Punit Shah, Pharm.D., BCIDP
Clinical Specialist 
Email: PJShah@houstonmethodist.org

Residency Preceptor, Area of Focus: Infectious Diseases

 

Academic Background:

  • Undergraduate School: Butler University
  • Graduate School: Butler University
  • Residency Background: Northshore University Health System (PGY1), St. John's Hospital (PGY2-Infectious Diseases)
  • Certifications: Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS), Board Certified Infectious Diseases Pharmacist (BCIDP)

 

 

HMSL and System Committee Assignment: Local and system Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee

 

Project and Research Involvements: 

  • Lead and implement various antimicrobial stewardship projects and initiatives
    • Sputum Culture Deescalation Project
    • Real-time bacteremia/candidemia alerting
    • C.difficile and probiotics
    • Asymptomatic bacteriuria
    • Cost savings projects
    • Conduct various medication use evaluations
  • System Quality and Safety Award - 2019
  • Multiple publications in various journals and posters at national conferences
  • Diabetic foot infections chapter in Ambulatory Care Self-Assessment Program
  • Dermatophytosis in the 9th edition of Pharmacotherapy Casebook: A patient-focused approach

 

Personal Information: In his spare time, Dr. Shah enjoys playing various sports and spends time with family. 

 

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Sapana Desai, Pharm.D., BCPS
Clinical Specialist
Email: SDesai@houstonmethodist.org 

Residency Preceptor, Area of Focus: Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, Medication Safety, Neurology

 

Academic Background:

  • Undergraduate School: University of Texas Austin
  • Graduate School: University of Texas Austin College of Pharmacy
  • Residency Background: Houston Methodist Hospital (PGY1 and PGY2-Critical Care)
  • Certifications: Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS)

 

HMSL and System Committee Involvements: 

  • Medication Safety Committee
  • ICU Steering Committee

 

Project and Research Accomplishments: 

  • Information technology and medication safety process improvement initiatives on the system level
  • Cost-Saving initiatives
  • Sputum Culture Guided Antibiotic Deescalation 
  • Evaluation of emergency department factors on acute ischemic stroke treatment
  • Award: Texas Society of Health-System Pharmacists (TSHP) Innovation Collaborative Practice Award (2014)
  • Award: Texas Society of Critical Care Medicine Alan I. Fields Critical Care Trainee Category (2010)

 

Personal Information: In her spare time, Dr. Desai likes to travel, experience new cuisines, and enjoys the outdoors.

 

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Tintu Thankachan, Pharm.D.

Pharmacy Administrative Specialist

Email: TThankachan@houstonmethodist.org


Residency Preceptor, Area of Focus: Medication Safety, NICU, Management/Administration

 

Academic Background:

  • Undergraduate School: St. John's University
  • Graduate School: St. John's University
  • Professional Organization: Texas Society of Health System Pharmacists

 

 

 

HMSL and System Committee Involvements: 

  • Local and system Medication Safety Committee
  • System USP 797-800 Workgroup
  • Medication Related Clinical Decision Support (MRCDS)
  • Pharmacy At-Large Member for System P&T

 

Project and Research Accomplishments: 

  • Patient Assistance Optimization
  • NICU Turnaround Time Quarterly Review
  • Pharmacist and Technician Workflow Guides
  • Pharmacy Rover Implementation
  • Pharmacist and Technician Productivity Metrics
  • Infusion Center Inventory Control

 

Personal Information: Dr. Thankachan was born and raised in New York City and lived there for 29 years until moving to Houston, TX in 2015. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling, cooking, fitness, music and dance, and playing poker as well as spending time with family.

 

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