100-year-old nurse receives Surgeon General's Medallion award

Loretta Ford, CRNP, PhD, a 100-year-old nurse who helped establish the nurse practitioner profession, received the Surgeon General's Medallion — the highest honor civilians can recieve for public health service, local ABC affiliate Denver7 News reported Jan. 11. 

In 1965, Dr. Ford co-founded the first nurse practitioner program at the University of Colorado in Boulder, which allowed nurses who went through additional schooling to diagnose and prescribe treatment. 

"That really started what is the nurse practitioner profession," Sophia Thomas, DNP, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, told the station. "Now there are 290,000 nurse practitioners providing over 1 billion patients each year."  

Dr. Ford became interested in public health when she noticed a gap in the care children and families needed. 

"Public health is my field, I'm a committed public health nurse," she told Denver7. "The reason I got into the things I've gotten into in my career has always been based on the values and worth of public health." 

Dr. Ford has authored more than 100 publications and received multiple awards throughout her career. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame in 2012. 

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