Current and Past Residents

Current Resident
Shanna Messex, PharmD


I began my career in pharmacy in 1998 as a pharmacy technician at Rite Aid Pharmacy in rural Alabama. I began college at Jacksonville State University, and I moved to Huntsville to complete my bachelor’s degree at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH). I retained my job as a technician at Rite Aid throughout the following six years while I completed my degree in Art History and English with aspirations to be a college professor. While at UAH, I met Dane Messex, the man who would become my husband. We married in 2008 and had a daughter, Elizabeth, in 2011. I continued to work as a pharmacy technician in a few different roles for a total twenty years. I fell more in love with pharmacy each year I worked and the more I became involved in the profession. I decided work toward pharmacy school and to returned to school for the required prerequisites after my daughter started school. I attended Alabama A & M for my chemistry, math, and microbiology classes, and was accepted to Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy as an early decision candidate in 2018. I became more interested in mental health and women’s health during school and was encouraged by my mentor to apply for residency. I went to ASHP Mid-year to meet people from the residencies I had been researching face-to-face. It was there I met Dr. Joanna Risby and she was the happiest, most influential resident I spoke to. My conversation with her was exactly what I needed to hear to make my decision about applying to residency, and it put the managed care residency with UT and TDMHSAS at the top of my list. Receiving the invitation to interview with UT/TDMHSAS excited me, I was extremely nervous during the interview, and after the interview, I was terrified that I had ruined my chances. When Match Day arrived and I matched with UT/TDMHSAS I was overjoyed, and now that I am in the position I have hoped for, I cannot wait to learn as much as possible. I am also excited to be earning my teaching certificate and take on the role of an educator – my original hope when I first attended college. I feel that my early adult-life goals have come full circle, and I am exactly where I am meant to be.

Past Residents
Joanna Risby, PharmD


I received my Doctor of Pharmacy from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Originally from Georgia, I am happy to be back in the South, a nice bonus to being part of this unique residency program. My excitement for my time in this program stemmed from the diverse learning experiences that will simultaneously challenged me professionally and personally. I chose this residency program because it offers learning experiences that align with my interests in managed care, substance misuse, and health policy. As the only resident, I recognize that this program offered me the opportunity to tailor my residency training and receive highly individualized feedback as I progressed through the year. I truly believe this program provided me with a diverse but solid foundation in clinical and administrative pharmacy that I will utilize throughout my pharmacy career.

Cole Green, PharmD


Although my home state is Tennessee, I attended the University of Kentucky where I graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy and a Masters in Business Administration. I chose this residency program because I value the both utility and the range of learning experiences that are provided. I recognized how the different learning experiences provided would not only further develop my clinical skillset and business acumen but also position me to become a distinctive candidate post-residency. As the sole resident, this program is special in that learning experiences may be customized and the resident can gain maximal benefit while also giving back to the residents of Tennessee.

Ileana Arce, PharmD


I am originally from New Jersey, where I attended and graduated from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. When I was originally searching for residency programs, I wanted to ensure that the residency program I chose incorporated my interests, including public health, specifically health policy, managed care, and psychiatric pharmacy practice. Once I came across this program, I realized that I did not need to look any further! This program offers residents the unique opportunity to work with TennCare, engage in formulary management decisions, participate in therapeutic drug monitoring, and work directly in the field of health policy.

Throughout my residency learning experiences, I have not only grown professionally and discovered more about the field and role of pharmacists in managed care but have made a longstanding impact in pharmacy for the residents of the state of Tennessee. Currently, I am in the process of finishing a master’s program in Health Outcomes, Policy, and Economics (MS-HOPE) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The knowledge from the PGY1 pharmacy residency program has significantly aided in providing me with a solid foundation to succeed in this rigorous program. With the combination of residency training and master’s level work, I have also entered the workforce in Pennsylvania under a managed care position focused on providing clinical and quality pharmacy services to Medicare and Medicaid populations. Later in my career, I hope to transition into an industry role that encompasses my current and previous managed care professional development.

This residency program truly trains and challenges you while giving you multiple unique experiences to pursue a career in any field (clinical, managed care, industry) after completion!

Katie Webb, PharmD


I graduated from the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy in 2016. Following graduation, I was able to gain experience working as a pharmacist in several settings including community pharmacy, managed care, and substance abuse. It was during my time working in an opioid treatment program that I gained a new insight into the world of substance abuse, the issues these patients face on a daily basis, and the unique opportunity for pharmacists to have a real impact on this area of patient care and public health. This experience really motivated me to find a residency program that would provide unique and diverse learning opportunities within the mental health and substance abuse fields.  

My time as a resident at the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services truly prepared me for a successful and impactful career in a wide range of settings and roles. I am currently serving as the Outcomes Research Manager and Clinical Pharmacist on the corporate leadership team at Pathway Healthcare. I am responsible for identifying outcomes to measure, designing reports, performing data analyses, interpreting findings, and translating discoveries into actionable directives to optimize the quality of care and clinical outcomes for our patients. My unique experiences as a resident with the department have really enabled my ability to be successful in this non-traditional role. 

Caitlin Wise, PharmD

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I completed my undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University before completing my Pharm.D. with the University of Texas at Austin. During my collegiate years I became very interested in psychiatric pharmacy and health policy. I have seen firsthand how challenging it can be for patients to navigate our complex healthcare system, and wanted to address mental health from a systems point of view as that is where I see most breakdowns in care occuring. The residency program with the TN Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse was a perfect fit. The program allowed me to explore psychiatry from multiple angles including the clinical practice at MTMHI, the billing and insurance practice at TennCare, the academic practice with UT CoP, and the legislative and regulatory practice with TDMHSAS.

Since completing the residency program, I have assisted in the opening of a new psychiatric hospital, Pinewood Springs. I then transitioned into my current role at East Nashville Wellness Center as CEO and Pharmacy Director. East Nashville Wellness Center is a non-profit outpatient mental health and substance use clinic my partner and I co-founded. Since opening our doors I spend my days balanced between providing psychiatric care to patients as well as running the administrative side of the business. I truly feel that the residency I completed with TDMHSAS allowed me to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to succeed in my current position.

Erica Schlesinger, PharmD

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 “I graduated from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy in Memphis, Tennessee. I was drawn to the PGY-1 pharmacy residency program with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services due to their immensely diverse learning experiences. It allowed me the opportunity to refine my strengths and love for patient care while also giving me the opportunity to explore the world of managed care, research, and legislation. The preceptors and program director allowed me to learn and work independently and come back and ask questions when necessary. This management style offered me the opportunity to work independently and collaboratively as I developed as a resident. In addition, the program afforded me leadership and public speaking opportunities through lectures and teaching in the Teaching & Learning Program through the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy.  Overall, the program set me apart from my peers with my public speaking and project/time management abilities. The ability to work independently and collaboratively is fostered in this program and truly prepared me for my next career step. I am currently working for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services as the Assistant Chief Pharmacist.”

Scott Denno, PharmD

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I was drawn to the TDMHSAS/UT residency program as it was the only PGY1 program offering managed care and inpatient psychiatric pharmacy learning experiences. The additional learning experiences in health policy, substance abuse treatment, and teaching certificate program allowed me to quickly transition to my career post residency as an Inpatient Internal Medicine Clinical Pharmacist at the Kansas City VA Medical Center. In this position I manage a variety of disease states with an attending physician and medical residents through daily rounding. I find that my residency learning experiences with psychiatric pharmacy and substance use disorder treatment are utilized daily, whether it be making an intervention on a patient or providing education to medical residents related to those disease states. In addition to my clinical duties, I help manage the VA drug formulary, precept pharmacy students and pharmacy residents, educate physicians and nurses and develop hospital policies/protocols. Some notable achievements of mine would be development and implementation of the first inpatient scope of practice at KCVA and leading the development of COVID19 treatment protocols for the hospital. Lastly, my proudest achievement is seeing students/residents I precepted move on to have successful careers.

Brooke DeFosse, PharmD

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Dr. Brooke DeFosse is a Clinical Product Specialist with axialHealthcare, a national leader in pain care and opioid medication solutions, based in Nashville, TN.  As an axial clinician, she serves as a resource for multifunctional teams to ensure that Axial’s solutions, underlying data assets, and enablement strategies have clinical oversight and are continuously improving. Her work with the product team includes quality assurance of clinical data, support of metric development, ongoing solution design and enhancement of clinical workflows to end users.

“Being a resident at the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse was a truly rewarding and unique experience. The residency program is dedicated to developing residents into excellent clinical pharmacists and leaders. During my residency year, I was able to grow exponentially both professionally and personally.  The residency offered me a wide variety of learning opportunities both in a clinical and managed care environment that has allowed to excel in a non-traditional pharmacy role.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to have trained under Dr. Geminn and the other fantastic preceptors and cannot thank them enough for investing their time and talents in both the residency program and my pharmacy career.”

2014- 2015
Rachel Bauer, PharmD

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I am currently the Mental Health Transitions of Care Pharmacist at the Salt Lake City VA. The VA has made a dedicated national effort to expand access to mental healthcare for our nation's warriors. Often this means contracting with community hospitals outside the VA system for acute needs. My job is to bridge the pharmacy gap at discharge from a non-VA psychiatric admission by providing medication reconciliation, clinical pharmacy assessment and workup, discharge medication education, and facilitation of providing discharge prescriptions ASAP. This requires a great deal of care coordination, communication skills, PBM knowledge, and clinical knowledge about mental health (particularly substance abuse). 

The PGY1 in Managed Care with TDMHSAS uniquely prepared me for this position by providing opportunities to navigate government systems and processes, manage and collaborate with PBMs and formularies, collaborate with interdisciplinary teams outside traditional healthcare, coordinating care during transitions of care, knowledge and practice of non-traditional pharmacy roles, in-depth clinical knowledge of substance abuse and other mental health conditions, and policy management (particularly with regard to controlled substances). I also completed a PGY2 pharmacy residency in psychiatry at University of North Carolina Medical Center. 

2013 – 2014
Cory Villanueva, PharmD

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I have worked in staff pharmacist and pharmacy manager roles for CVS Health (Westchester County, NY) and Tops Pharmacy (Onondaga County, NY) until transitioning into a pharmacy operations manager position at Genoa Healthcare. In this position, our team provided inpatient and outpatient pharmacy and medication management services for individuals with behavioral health and substance use disorders. The managed care residency provided me with managed care and psychiatric pharmacy experience as well as experience working with an interdisciplinary team. This experience had helped me manage the responsibilities and demands of the position as well as to further the integration of the pharmacy with our on-site clinic and grow the business.

I recently moved into a Clinical Pharmacist role in Specialty Programs with UnitedHealthcare Pharmacy. It is a dynamic, exciting role within a managed care environment that merges clinical and business competencies.

2012 – 2013
Jake Boswell, PharmD, BCPP

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I am currently a board-certified clinical pharmacist 1 at Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute. I completed the residency in the 2012-2013 cycle. My time in the residency really helped me to develop my skills as a psychiatric pharmacist. I was involved in day-to-day operations at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute, and I was able to participate in the treatment of patients with opiate addiction through the State Opioid Treatment Authority Designee position. My time with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health Managed Care Residency positioned me to take a job at Lipscomb University/Rolling Hills Hospital/Vanderbilt Hospital PGY-2 Psychiatry Residency. The knowledge I gained from my PGY-1 with TDMHSAS allowed me to immediately step into the position and be able to use the skills I gained immediately to be a part of the treatment teams at the various hospitals I worked. I gained many skills during my PGY-1 residency, but one of the most important skills I learned was formulary management. Being a member of the Formulary Review and Oversight Committee taught me how to objectively look at medications and help choose appropriate medications for the formularies at the Regional Mental Health Institutes, then extending into my PGY-2 Psychiatric residency, and even into my current practice at Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute. The knowledge and leadership skill that I gained has led to being voted Preceptor of the Year two times for South College’s School of Pharmacy and two-time Employee of the Year at MBMHI. I have also served as the Chattanooga Area Pharmacists Society President for a number of years and have since stepped back into the Vice-President role. The TDMHSAS Managed Care Residency was a fantastic experience and one that I would recommend to any future or current pharmacist to consider.

Wesley Geminn, PharmD, BCPP

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Throughout pharmacy school I gained an appreciation for pharmacy residencies but after some light research, looking into general pharmacotherapy residencies I decided that this type of residency wasn’t for me.  I couldn’t have been more excited to learn about the residency at the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services because it offered that out-of-the-box and unique experience that I was looking for.  Throughout the residency I was amazed at the different experiences at the bed-side and at the state level made available to me that I would not have thought possible when I was a student.  Not only did I develop a unique perspective on provision of pharmacy services and the role pharmacists play at a state and legislative level, I also experienced a significant amount of growth of personal and professional maturity and confidence.

After graduating from this residency was excited to start my career as a clinical psychiatric pharmacist at Memphis Mental Health Institute in Memphis, TN. In that role I acted as a clinical, staff, and informatics support pharmacist.  In this role I attended treatment teams, instructed pharmacy and medical students, and gave guest lectures at the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy nearby.  I remained engaged with he residency by acting as a resource for the subsequent residents and helping with special projects for the program. Later, I transferred to Western Mental Health Institute, another state psychiatric facility, in Bolivar, Tennessee where I was able to serve in the same role.  As of June 2015, I was honored to be promoted to the Chief Pharmacist for the department and taking the role of Residency Program Director. The previous Chief Pharmacist, Jason Carter, PharmD who started residency program in 2010, instituted a legacy of caring for young students and pharmacists, a passion for the profession, and a dedication to serving those living with mental illness or substance use disorders.  This is a legacy that I try to continue every day.

Joseph Pandit, PharmD, BCPP

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I serve as Clinical Pharmacist for HCA's Tristar Skyline Madison Campus. We are a 121-bed acute care psychiatric facility serving the Middle Tennessee community. Our facility provides services from Adolescent to Geriatric patients treating a variety of illnesses ranging from anxiety to schizophrenia to substance use disorders. My practice involves daily consultation with providers for medication review, education, and pharmacovigilance. 

My time in residency with the TN Dept of Mental Health allowed me to develop skills across different settings. Time spent at the Middle TN Mental Health Institute had me working within a health care team of psychiatric providers while providing pharmacy services to patients with persistent mental illness. The residency also granted the opportunity to cultivate competence in formulary management among the Tennessee Medicaid and Cover Rx plans. I also spent time serving as the State Opioid Treatment Authority designee in oversight of the state's methadone clinics. The year in residency provided a profound experience of growth for me academically, professionally, and personally.