45Years of Hope and Healing logo

Where were you in 1978?

The Tennessee Medical Foundation was in its inception -- an idea inspired at a national conference on Impaired Physicians that was brought home by leaders of the Tennessee Medical Association and grew into what is now known as the Tennessee Medical Foundation and its Physician's Health Program. The TMF is celebrating its 45th year as a lifeline for physicians and other health professionals struggling with addiction, mental and behavioral health disorders and other conditions that impact their health and their ability to care for their patients. 



In September 1978, Tennessee Medical Association President John Dorian, MD, attended a presentation on impaired physicians at a national American Medical Association conference; he returned home determined to address the problem in Tennessee.

Dr. John Dorian in 1978 Dr. Bill Anderson in 2012


The TMA Board of Directors established a Committee on Impaired Physicians, with William C. Anderson, MD, as volunteer and then part-time medical director. Dr. Anderson’s vision and dedication to helping troubled physicians across the state laid the foundation for the program in the decades to come.

Photo of Dr. Roland Gray and Dr. David Dodd
Dr. Roland Gray (L) with his predecessor, Dr. David Dodd, in 2002

The TMF hired its first full-time medical director, David T. Dodd, MD, in 1984; he is still remembered for his passion and leadership. In 1992, the program was transferred to a nonprofit, the Tennessee Medical Foundation, and was renamed the Physician’s Health Program (PHP). In January 2002, Roland W. Gray, MD, succeeded Dr. Dodd and Dr. Gary Olbrich as medical director and led the PHP solidly until his retirement in February 2017. Today, Michael J. Baron, MD, serves as medical director and continues to provide confidential care for physicians and other healthcare professionals the program is charged to assist.

Dr. Baron (R) with Meharry Medical College leaders following a 2023 presentation.

Initially focused on substance use, the TMF mission has expanded to assist with a wider range of problems, including mental, emotional, and behavioral health disorders. Today the TMF seeks to provide proactive help, education, and resources, and is active in state and national efforts to reduce stigma and encourage health professionals to seek help before a problem threatens patient safety, their career, or their lives.

Sadly, we have lost four of these revered TMF leaders: Dr. Dodd in December 2010; Dr. Anderson in November 2013; Dr. Gray in October 2018; and Dr. Dorian in July 2021. We honor their legacy of the past 45 years, and pledge to carry on the mission to Save Lives, Save Careers far into the future.



“To me, there’s not anything the TMA has ever done that’s been as important as the Impaired Physicians Program, not just for physicians in the state but for the public.”

--Don Alexander
TMA Staff 1978 / TMA CEO 1995-2013


Everyone deserves a second chance.

Give now to ensure that Tennessee health professionals receive that through the TMF for decades to come.


Read more about our history, founders, and timeline, as well as our activities and outcomes for the past year in our 2022 Annual Report.