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Rebecca Kavanagh

Rebecca Kavanagh


Assistant Professor, HIV Clinical Pharmacist

Touro College of Pharmacy, SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Brooklyn, New York

Her Story

Dr. Kavanagh received her Pharm.D. degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Buffalo, New York in 2015. She then went on to complete PGY1 residency in Pharmacy Practice at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn, NY followed by a PGY2 Ambulatory Care pharmacy residency focused on academia at Long Island University with The Brooklyn Hospital Center. After completing her residency training, she joined the pharmacy practice department at Touro College of Pharmacy in summer of 2017. Dr. Kavanagh maintains her Board Certification in Ambulatory Care Pharmacy (BCACP), and has earned the HIV Pharmacist Professional Certification (AAHIVP) from the American Academy of HIV Medicine. Kavanagh’s practice site is at the Special Treatment and Research (STAR) Program at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, where she practices as an HIV clinical pharmacist.

Dr. Kavanagh is serving in the Section of Ambulatory Care Practitioners as a member of the Section Advisory Group on Clinical Practice Advancement. She is actively involved with the state affiliate chapter, the New York State Council of Health-System Pharmacists, where she serves on the Education Committee and Webinar Subcommittee.


Established in 1860, SUNY Downstate is one of the nation's leading urban medical centers. SUNY Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Health Related Professions, College of Nursing, School of Graduate Studies, School of Public Health, and University Hospital of Brooklyn. As the only academic medical center in Brooklyn, SUNY Downstate serve a large population – over 2.3 million people – and one that is among the most diverse in the world.

The Special Treatment and Research (STAR) Program at SUNY Downstate Medical Center was founded in 1991. At the STAR program, outpatient medical care is provided to HIV-positive, Hepatitis C positive and at risk adults. The STAR program provides rapid HIV testing, medical examinations, prenatal care, patient education, hepatitis C screening and treatment, mental health services, nutritional counseling, substance use counseling, buprenorphine therapy, treatment adherence counseling, social work and psychiatry services, specialized domestic violence/trauma counseling for women, care coordination, LGBT services, hormone therapy, High Resolution Anoscopy (HRA) and family-centered case management. Specialized gynecological care is given to HIV-positive women.

Recent Significant Projects

Dr. Kavanagh developed and implemented an interdisciplinary clinic model at her clinical site, where the pharmacy team participates in medical visits for the patients who visit the STAR program. By implementing this prospective adherence assessment and medication review, she has helped decrease medication errors and increase patient satisfaction within the clinic. She developed and implemented an outpatient naloxone prescribing policy, allowing high risk patients to obtain potentially life-saving emergency naloxone kits at no cost to the patient. She is currently researching the effect of pharmacist interventions in cholesterol control for people living with HIV, and has been involved with many ongoing quality improvement initiatives at the STAR program. She has been an invited guest lecturer for students in the SUNY Downstate Physician Assistant program, as well as for medical residents completing their post-graduate training in the STAR program. She also enjoys her role as a PGY1pharmacy preceptor at Downstate Medical Center, and is passionate about educating the next generation of pharmacy practitioners.

Initial Involvement in ASHP

Dr. Kavanagh became involved in ASHP as a student to learn more about the clinical pharmacy track and residency. As a resident and new practitioner, she saw her preceptors excelling in their fields by maintaining active involvement in professional pharmacy organizations, and she recognized that ASHP is a resource for lifelong learning, networking, and a medium to provide ongoing service to her community.

Advice for Someone New to Specialty Area

“Use every opportunity presented to you as a chance to learn and grow. What may seem like more work could actually be an opportunity to branch into a new sub-specialty, and to make a name for yourself in the world of pharmacy. Maintain a work-life balance so you can truly find passion in your career. Forge relationships with other professionals, physicians, nurses, medical assistance, case managers, and mental health specialists. These relationships not only improve patient care, but can also lead to rigorous research projects and publication.”

Value of ASHP

"ASHP gives you an opportunity to keep up with the ever-advancing field of ambulatory care pharmacy practice. It provides a network of expert clinical pharmacists, who are eager to mentor and educate new practitioners. It also provides resources you can use to elevate the level of care you provide to your patients."

"ASHP provides advocacy for the pharmacy profession, promotes lifelong learning and education, develops resources for its members to help provide a high level of patient care."

Ambulatory Care Practitioner

Ambulatory Care Practitioner

Improving patient care and health outcomes in ambulatory care settings

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Section of Ambulatory Care Practitioners

Professional group for ASHP members working in ambulatory care settings

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Pharmacy Advancement Initiative (PAI)

PAI 2030

Tools and resources aimed at advancing pharmacy practice through the next decade
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