Ford inducted into Colorado Women's Hall of Fame

DENVER — CU College of Nursing (CON) health care pioneer Professor Loretta Ford, RN, FAAN, FAANP has just been inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.

Ford and nine other honorees were recognized during last night’s gala celebration. Just last year, in October, Ford was inducted in the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

During CON festivities earlier this week, Ford was recognized with Henry Silver, MD, Pediatrics, School of Medicine, for developing curriculum to educate pediatric nurse practitioners. The result of their effort was the first nurse practitioner program in America and a model of nursing practice that quickly spread nationally and internationally.

Ford, a CU alum (​BS ’49, MS ’51 and EdD ’61), had left Colorado for the University of Rochester where she founded the School of Nursing and served as dean.

(Photo: Colleagues from left, Judy Igoe, Loretta Ford, Sue Hagedorn and Ann Smith)

“It was like watching cells divide,” recalled School of Medicine Dean Richard Krugman, MD. “What started as two people and an idea — that Lee [Loretta Ford] and Henry [Silver] had — grew to a national and international profession. It was 40 years before interprofessional education became a buzzword —these two schools were demonstrating that physicians and nurses could be colleagues, work together and solve some of the major health problems of the United States.”

“As our nation struggles with a healthcare cost and access crisis and a growing provider workforce shortage (both in total number as well as in geographic distribution) advanced practice nursing plays a critical and more important role than ever in providing efficient and effective care to a broad population of patients and families,” said Lilly Marks, vice president for health affairs University of Colorado and executive vice chancellor Anschutz Medical Campus.

During a March 7 reception, the College of Nursing Alumni Association also honored Ford with its inaugural Pathfinder Award for creating a career pathway for nurses that thrives to this day. There are more than 167,800 nurse practitioners today in the United States. (

Those attending the reception also watched a new documentary, “Loretta Ford: A disruptive Innovator,” produced by alumna and emeritus faculty, Sue Hagedorn, PhD ’95, RN, PNP, WHNP, FAANP.

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