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Loretta C. Ford, Co-founder of Nurse Practitioner (NP) Profession, Receives U.S. Surgeon General’s Medallion for Contributions to Nation’s Health

About Loretta

AUSTIN, TEXAS — The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) applauds the U.S. Surgeon General’s selection of Loretta C. Ford, EdD, RN, PNP, NP-C, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP, as the recipient of the Surgeon General’s Medallion. The Medallion, the highest honor granted to a civilian by the Public Health Service and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, is awarded by the Surgeon General for actions of exceptional achievement to the cause of public health and medicine. Dr. Ford, who will celebrate her 100th birthday on December 28, 2020, co-founded the first NP program at the University of Colorado and created a profession that is integral to our nation’s health care infrastructure.

“Dr. Ford has received this recognition for her vision and commitment to the health of our nation,” said AANP President, Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP. “Thanks to her trailblazing efforts, millions of patients have access to high-quality health care from NPs, the provider of their choice, and the profession has grown to more than 290,000 strong.”

“As we celebrate Dr. Ford’s 100th birthday, I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to this titan of American health care. From co-creating the NP profession to advocating for patient access to NP care, she has played a profound role in strengthening health care access and choice for America’s patients,” said David Hebert, JD, Chief Executive Officer of AANP.

For more than half a century, Dr. Ford has been an active champion for the NP community in areas of practice, education and research. At the University of Colorado in 1965, Drs. Ford and Henry Silver started the nation’s first NP program. This pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) program expanded the role of public health nurses to focus on illness prevention and health promotion. Ford then became the founding dean of the University of Rochester School of Nursing in 1972 and continued to positively influence graduate-level nursing education, developing a model that melded practice, education and research.

Dr. Ford is an inaugural member of the Fellows of the AANP (FAANP), the author of more than 100 publications and has served as a consultant and lecturer to multiple organizations and universities. She holds several honorary doctorate degrees and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Living Legend Award from the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) and the Gustav O. Lienhard Award from the National Academy of Medicine. She has also been inducted into both the National Women's Hall of Fame and the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame.


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 290,000 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

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