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Karen McConnell

Karen McConnell

Pharm.D., FCCP, BCPS-AQ Cardiology

Clinical Director

Cardinal Health

Denver, CO

Karen’s Story

Dr. McConnell grew up on a farm in mid-Missouri and moved to Kansas City, MO after high school. In 1999, she received her PharmD degree at the University of Missouri - Kansas City and then completed her pharmacy practice (PGY1) residency at Cox Medical Center in Springfield, MO in 2000. Dr. McConnell then moved west to Colorado and completed her specialty residency at Kaiser Permanente Colorado (KPCO). After residency, she was fortunate to stay with KPCO as a clinical pharmacy specialist.

Currently, Dr. McConnell is a member of the Section of Clinical Specialists and Scientists Educational Steering Committee. In this role, she helped with planning the 2015 Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition and is currently working on the 2016 Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition. Dr. McConnell also attended ASHP’s Ambulatory Care Summit earlier this year. As she has worked in Ambulatory Care for over 13 years, Dr. McConnell has a passion for advancing pharmacy practice in this arena. She also helped write the ASHP Pharmacy Residency Excellence award application for the KPCO PGY2 Ambulatory Care residency.


Dr. McConnell worked as a clinical pharmacy specialist in cardiology in Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s ambulatory care cardiology clinic for several years. She worked closely with 20 cardiologists (general, interventional and electrophysiologists), nurse practitioners and registered nurses in downtown Denver. Their very busy cardiology clinic is a part of the integrated healthcare system. For patients on complex cardiovascular drug therapy, Dr. McConnell was consulted by various members of the cardiovascular and primary care teams.

In May 2015, Dr. McConnell became a Clinical Director and cardiology subject matter expert for Cardinal Health. In this role, she helps health systems with clinical initiatives to improve patient safety, treatment efficacy as well as improve cost effectiveness. She creates educational content to provide various health systems across the nation with up-to-date information on cardiovascular diseases and drugs. Dr. McConnell is a clinical associate professor at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Significant Projects

Dr. McConnell has taught national cardiology sessions at a preparatory course for Ambulatory Care board certification annually since 2011. She has also written cardiology-related book chapters for recertification for both Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialists (2013 and 2016) and Board Certified Ambulatory Care Specialists (2014). Dr. McConnell also has a passion for continuing professional development for pharmacists. She was the primary investigator for a randomized, controlled study comparing traditional continuing education to continuing professional development, and has published three manuscripts with the results. Locally, Dr. McConnell has given cardiology-related continuing medical and pharmacy education programs to physicians, pharmacists and other staff for KPCO and Cardinal Health. She was a member of the Residency Advisory Council for the ASHP accredited PGY2 Ambulatory Care residency at KPCO .

Advice for Someone New to Your Specialty Area

“Cardiology is an a very broad specialty. It is important to master all the sub-specialties, from the most common cardiology disease states (e.g., cardiovascular disease, heart failure) to the more rare ones (e.g., pulmonary hypertension). The role of the clinical pharmacy specialist in cardiology is to help with patients on complex cardiovascular therapy, and with patients with multiple co-morbidities where the best course of action isn’t always clear. In this role, you will become invaluable to even the most seasoned cardiologist. You must earn the trust and respect of your providers, and prove yourself every day. The patients need you.”

ASHP’s Value to Members

“ASHP has over 40,000 members, and there is strength in numbers. ASHP is valuable because it brings together the various aspects of the pharmacy profession, including inpatient, ambulatory care, information technology, and administration. It provides valuable educational and networking opportunities. It is great for students, residents, and new as well as seasoned pharmacists.”

“Pharmacy is in need of a unified voice. ASHP can collaborate with other pharmacy organizations to ensure that the pharmacists’ voice is heard throughout the nation and throughout healthcare. ASHP has showed a concerted interest in progressing pharmacy practice, which is instrumental to our future success.”

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