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Loretta C. Ford, EdD, RN, PNP, NP-C, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP, received the Surgeon General’s Medallion, the highest honor granted to a civilian by the Public Health Service and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, for her extraordinary accomplishments in public health and medicine. Dr. Ford, who celebrated her 100th birthday on December 28, 2020, co-founded the first Nurse Practitioner (NP) program and created a profession that is essential to our nation’s health care infrastructure.

Drs. Ford and Henry Silver started the nation’s first Nurse Practitioner program at the University of Colorado in 1965. This pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) program expanded the role of public health nurses to focus on illness prevention and health promotion. Dr. 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 fused practice, education, and research.

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