Founded in 1990, the Tennessee Pharmacists Research and Education Foundation (TPREF) exists to advance the practice of pharmacy through research and education.

Through the Tennessee Pharmacists Research and Education Foundation (TPREF), pharmacists and pharmacy professionals have been afforded many opportunities to create, innovate, and advance pharmacy practice through patient-focused grants and educational programs. TPREF currently administers more than $1 million in grants and programs solely focused on improving patient outcomes and advancing pharmacy practice. TPREF is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt research and educational organization and a direct subsidiary of TPA.


Founded in 1884, the Tennessee Pharmacists Association (TPA) advances, protects, and promotes high-quality, pharmacist-provided patient care in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Pharmacists Association (TPA) was founded in 1884 to fight the Special Merchants License Act of 1882, which sought to unfairly tax pharmacists on the sale of medicinal alcohol. J. O. Burge, one of the original pioneers of the Association, is credited for his efforts to convene pharmacists from across the state to pass the Pharmacy Act, which not only relieved pharmacists of this unfair tax, but also resulted in the formation of the Tennessee State Druggists’ Association, now known as the Tennessee Pharmacists Association.

Since its inception, TPA members have fought relentlessly to advance, protect, and promote patient access to pharmacist-provided care. Because of the advocacy, support, and engagement of our past and present TPA members and leaders, pharmacy professionals have been rewarded with an ever-expanding scope of practice and numerous opportunities to advance pharmacy through forward-focused models of care. TPA is one of the most highly regarded state pharmacy associations in the country, thanks to a progressive pharmacy practice act that allows pharmacists to deliver care, administer immunizations, enter into collaborative pharmacy practice agreements, contract and credential as medical providers, and work daily to help patients achieve the best possible health outcomes, reduce overall costs to the health care system, and improve patient access to care.

Recent TPREF Initiatives

CDC/TDH 1305 Grant

Chronic health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension continue to affect a large number of patients in Tennessee. Medication non-adherence and lack of access to disease management programs result in worsening of these conditions and increased costs to our overburdened health care system. Through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), TPREF has been able to increase the number of pharmacies and pharmacists trained and accredited by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) to provide Diabetes Self-Management Education and Training to patients.  


  • Advanced training in Diabetes Self-Management Education and Training (DSME/T) for approximately 70 pharmacists, in order to increase the level of services provided to patients through their practices.

  • Accreditation support for 70 pharmacies through the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) Diabetes Education Accreditation Program.

  • Improvement in access to pharmacist-provided diabetes management services for Medicare patients through DSME/T-accredited pharmacies.

Tennessee Prescription Take-Back Project

Prescription drug abuse is one of the most important public health crises facing our state and our country, and pharmacists are perfectly positioned to help patients and their communities combat this epidemic. Through a grant from the Count It! Lock It! Drop It! program and the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, TPA and TPREF played an active role in combating prescription drug abuse by increasing patient access to state-wide pharmacy-based drug disposal options.


  • Provision of grant support to 25 pharmacies to offset the initial costs, installation, and ongoing management of permanent drug disposal boxes .

  • Reduction in unused, unwanted, or out-of-date medications in homes and medicine cabinets through the installation of permanent drug disposal boxes in pharmacies.

  • Increase in patient access to safe and convenient drug disposal options to combat prescription drug abuse.

CDC/TDH 1815 Grant

Pharmacists, as medication experts on the health care team, are among the most knowledgeable and accessible health care providers. Through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), TPREF is working to increase the number of pharmacists trained in the areas of Medication Therapy Management (MTM) and collaborative pharmacy practice, to improve patient access to care and promote optimal health outcomes.


  • Increase in the number of pharmacists providing advanced patient care services to improve the lives of patients.  

  • Increase in engagement of pharmacists in the provision of medication management or Diabetes Self-Management Education/Training (DSME/T) for patients with diabetes.

  • Support the engagement of pharmacists in hypertension and cholesterol management in clinical settings.

Recent TPA Initiatives

State-Level Provider Status for Pharmacists

Recognition, credentialing, and payment for pharmacist-provided care and services by insurers and payers remain a top priority for the pharmacy community at the state and national levels. Through advocacy, TPA continues to actively work to increase coverage for pharmacist-provided care and services.


  • Enactment of legislation requiring managed care organizations to recognize, credential, and pay pharmacists for authorized care and services provided within their scope of practice.

  • Facilitation of the credentialing and contracting process between pharmacists and insurers in Tennessee.

  • Creation of advanced training for pharmacists in the delivery of patient care services.

Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Pilot Program through Medicaid

Medication Therapy Management (MTM) provided by pharmacists has demonstrated significant value for patients and the health care system. A review of pharmacist-provided medication management has been found to produce a return-on-investment (ROI) of $4 in savings for every $1 spent. Through advocacy, TPA worked to create a pharmacist-provided Medication Therapy Management (MTM) in Medicaid pilot program as a new service for eligible TennCare patients.


  • Creation of a novel pharmacist-provided Medication Therapy Management (MTM) pilot program for eligible TennCare patients and evaluation of outcomes and impact of pharmacist-provided care.

  • Authorization for qualified Tennessee-licensed pharmacists to provide MTM services to eligible TennCare patients enrolled in Patient Centered Medical Homes and Tennessee Health Link organizations.

  • Facilitation of the credentialing and contracting process between pharmacists and TennCare insurers for the provision of MTM services.

Community Pharmacy Transformation Pilot Project

Community pharmacists are perfectly positioned to transform patient care and our health care system, but the current model for delivery of care in the community pharmacy setting needs improvement. Through a grant from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), TPA and TPREF are leading the way through the Community Pharmacy Transformation pilot project. This project leverages the skills, knowledge, and accessibility of community pharmacists and certified pharmacy technicians, to enhance the delivery of pharmacist-provided care and services for patients in community pharmacy practice settings.


  • Transformation of community pharmacy practice in independent and chain community pharmacies across Tennessee through optimized product workflow and elevation of the level of patient care services provided by pharmacists.

  • Optimization of patient health outcomes through pharmacist-provided care and services via collaborative pharmacy practice (CPP) and technician product verification (TPV).

  • Administration of advanced training for certified pharmacy technicians in technician product verification, to ensure a high level of patient safety.