During one of the sessions at the 2008 NACDS Regional Chain Conference, we projected onto the video screen some images of advertisements that NACDS was beginning to use in the Washington, D.C. area. Looking back, one of the things that I remember most was the boldness and strategic focus of the tagline: “Pharmacies. The face of neighborhood healthcare.” With the 2015 edition of this meeting just days away, it is striking how far we have come!

The theme and ads that we launched in 2008 were consequential because of their goal: to help change the sense that many legislators did not think of pharmacies as part of the healthcare delivery system, even though they had positive perceptions of the pharmacy profession and of the industry.

Now, in 2015, we are charging into this new Congress with legislation that would designate pharmacists as healthcare providers in Medicare Part B – empowering them to deliver services to Medicare patients in underserved communities, according to pharmacists’ scope of practice laws in each state. This is just one example of the growing recognition of pharmacy’s value, and the ability of highly trusted, highly educated and highly accessible pharmacists to improve and save lives.

We have gone from telling the story of pharmacy ourselves, to having members of Congress seeking to write new chapters for the good of the American people.

The progress in recent years has been achieved through your tremendous work in pharmacies in neighborhoods throughout the nation – one consultation, one vaccination, one medication synchronization, and one screening at a time. While the story of pharmacies as the face of neighborhood healthcare has always been true and powerful, the examples are even more plentiful than ever before, and the commitment to raising awareness of pharmacy’s value is indisputable.

In those ads that debuted in 2008, we vividly portrayed the ways that pharmacies help to meet the healthcare needs of patients. Now, in advocating for this new legislation, we are working to expand the reach of the tremendous services that you provide. Together, we have come a long way – and the American public will be the beneficiaries of greater efforts to realize the potential of pharmacies as the “face of neighborhood healthcare.”