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AANP Announces Loretta Ford Centennial Scholarship Winners

Black and white photo of a young Dr. Loretta Ford with another nurse, who holds an infant

AUSTIN, TEXAS — In December 2020, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) established the Loretta Ford Centennial Scholarship to celebrate the 100th birthday of Loretta C. Ford, EdD, RN, PNP, NP-C, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP, co-founder of the nurse practitioner (NP) role. In 1965, Dr. Ford, along with Dr. Henry Silver, pioneered the curriculum for an advanced practice registered nurse program — the first NP program — that ultimately transformed the nursing profession. Today, more than 325,000 NPs are licensed in the United States. Now, because of this scholarship, five nurses are closer to turning their dreams of becoming NPs into reality.

This one-time scholarship was created to inspire the next generation of NPs by encouraging current registered nurses (RNs) to gain advanced nursing education and develop the qualities Dr. Ford exemplifies as an educator and nurse. She envisioned an advanced nursing degree to provide more accessible health care and, through this scholarship, AANP is making it possible for deserving nurses to advance their careers and contribute to high-quality patient care.

Of the 139 applicants, five were chosen to receive $10,000 each in scholarship funding to support them as they become NPs and continue the legacy Dr. Ford began. Applicants were scored based upon their personal stories detailing their unique experiences — personal or professional — effecting change, overcoming challenges, working collaboratively to gain the confidence of colleagues and applying their lessons learned.

AANP is pleased to announce the recipients of the Loretta Ford Centennial Scholarship:

  • Ayomide Aruwajoye, RN, BSN, from St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Kari Bernhardt, BSN, RN, CEN, DNP-S, from Bismarck, North Dakota.
  • Shaina Ann Tupas Santonil, BSN, RN, from Seattle, Washington.
  • Alicia C. Williams, BSN, RN, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Stephen Wurz, RN, BSN, from Great Falls, Montana.


The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 325,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NPs' patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. To locate an NP in your community, visit For more information about NPs, visit For COVID-19 information from AANP, visit