Ronnie R. Felts, BS ’74, DPh

Author: UTHSC

Last Updated:

Category: Featured | Pharmacy

2024 Outstanding Alumnus Award Winner

Ronnie Felts

Dr. Felts decided at age fourteen he wanted to be a pharmacist and never wavered from that decision. He opened Joelton Prescription Shop on April 1, 1974, just fourteen days after graduating from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy as a 50/50 partner based on a mere handshake.

Dr. Felts attended Austin Peay State University, Mercer University College of Pharmacy (P1 year), University of Memphis and University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy. He graduated with two degrees while working full time.

The most fulfilling parts of Dr. Felts’ career have been imparting knowledge, serving as a mentor, and motivating aspiring pharmacy students. He had the good fortune and opportunity of supervising hundreds of P1, P2, P3, and P4 students from five different pharmacy colleges as well as students from various other nations.

In addition to his beloved alma mater, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy, he was pleased to precept students from Belmont University, Union University, Lipscomb University, and East Tennessee State University Colleges of Pharmacy. He was able to contribute back to the university and his beloved profession as an adjunct lecturer and assistant professor.

He worked for the State of Tennessee’s Department of Human Services, Adult Protective Division, for ten years as a pharmacist consultant and for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Drug Diversion Task Force. Dr. Felts was asked to testify at a US Senate subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC, and as a result, a law was passed that made it illegal to steal controlled substances from a drugstore or a pharmacist. Two documentaries highlighted Dr. Felts and his pharmacy: one from Warner Brothers of Sweden on the negative effects of overprescribing opiates in the United States based on the Wong Baker Scale, and the other from National Geographic’s DRUGS, INC. discussing the effects of the opioid epidemic on society.

Some national outlets have highlighted Joelton Prescription Shop. The pharmacy was highlighted in an article titled “Independent Superstars, The One’s To Watch” in the magazine Drug Topics, where he was given two commendations. “Handling A Crisis” received one recognition, and “Excellent Pharmacy Services” received another. Additionally, the pharmacy was listed as “One of Six Southern Super Pharmacies” for pharmacy practice in the America’s Pharmacist magazine and locally received a community choice award as “The Best of Music City Pharmacies” in 2020.

The Nashville Tennessean newspaper recognized and profiled Dr. Felts as “One of Twenty-Two of Nashville’s Successful Businessmen and Entrepreneurs of the Year.” In 2013 and 2018, he was honored with the Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy’s IPPE Preceptor of the Year Award. Dr. Felts was awarded the prestigious Bowl of Hygeia Award in 2016 and the Cardinal Health “Generation Rx Award” in 2015 in recognition of his efforts to reduce drug diversion and abuse of controlled substances. Dr. Felts created and oversaw the Community Pharmacy Diabetes Program. He treated diabetes as “a couple’s disease,” a novel approach, and gave three evening presentations in-store. For many years, Dr. Felts has been a member of the TPA and supporter of the pharmacy profession. In addition, he previously served as a member of the alumni board of directors and the dean’s advisory council at the UT Health Science Center College of Pharmacy.

After fifty-five years of marriage to Sandra, the love of his life, he has three sons: Mark, Rusty, and Todd. They collaborated to create a thirteen-week marriage enrichment program called “Marriage: The Meaning, The Myths and The Maintenance,” which is offered in four states at various churches and Christian retreat places. For over 30 years, they have led Sunday School sessions for couples and participated in the chorus. For more than 40 years, the pair have been married and members of First Baptist Church Joelton, where Dr. Felts held the position of Chairman of the Board. “You can give without loving but you can’t love without giving” is the motto he has attempted to live by.

Dr. Felts has enjoyed a full fifty-year career in this most trusted profession. With cherished memories that will last a lifetime, he is now retired