Cynthia Booth Lord is a highly regarded academician, clinician and community champion who has played an active role in developing and shaping the PA profession. She began her career in medicine in 1983 working as a medical technologist in oncology. She went on to receive her PA certificate from Yale University School of Medicine and her Master of Health Science from Quinnipiac University. As a PA, she has spent much of her career working in both primary care and academia.
A PA educator since 1994, Lord has spent most of her time as a PA program director. She helped develop the Quinnipiac University PA program in 1994 and was its program director from 1998 through 2014. In 2015, she went on to become the founding director of the Case Western Reserve University PA Program. Her academic interests have focused on interprofessional education/collaborative practice as well as the integration of oral health into health professions’ education. Other significant contributions to PA education include being a member of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Task Force that developed the “Core Competencies for New PA Graduates”. In 2019, Lord was named chair of the Aquifer PA Educator Task Force. An educational non-profit consortium, Aquifer develops clinical cases focused on enhancing the critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills of medical, PA and NP students. Lord was one of the first PAs to become involved with Aquifer. Her scholarship includes numerous publications, abstracts, posters and videos in the areas of oral health and interprofessional education.
Since 1990, Lord has had a distinguished career of serving in leadership roles within the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and the Student Academy (SAAAPA). She was co-founder of the AAPA/PAEA National Medical Challenge Bowl with Tony Miller and Bert Simon (1991) and went on to serve as the SAAAPA Board Advisor from 2001-2003.
Serving as a member and then chair of the AAPA Constituent Relations Committee, Lord focused her work on strengthening the relationships of specialty organizations with the AAPA while respecting their status as independent organizations. The goal was to create a culture of welcoming all PAs to the academy regardless of what hat they wore or what PA organization they chose to represent.
Lord was elected to the AAPA Board of Directors in 2003. She served on and chaired several board committees including board advisor to the AAPA Committee on Diversity. While in that role, Lord helped the committee with the development and passage of the “Improving Children’s Access to Health Care Through Support of Second Parent Adoption” resolution in the AAPA House of Delegates (2004)
Lord served as AAPA board president and then chair of the board from 2008-2010. During that time, she worked with AAPA executive staff to initiate work with the White House to ensure that PAs were included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After coming off the AAPA board, Lord served on the AAPA Peer-to-Peer Assistance Sub-Committee from 2010-2012 and then went on to serve as the AAPA Representative to the NIH National Program to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk (NPRCR) Coordinating Committee from 2011 to 2013.
Lord has held similar leadership roles within the Connecticut Academy of Physician Assistants (ConnAPA), including serving as ConnAPA’s president and the Connecticut Physician Assistant Foundation’s president. Lord worked on ConnAPA’s Legislative Committee and lobbied in Hartford and on Capitol Hill for many years to help get PA legislation passed in Connecticut and at the national level. While serving as ConnAPA President, she was successful in getting the law changed so PAs could sign school physical forms (1995)!
A member of the nccPA Health Foundation Board of Directors from 2011-2017, Lord served as chair (2015-2016) and Immediate Past Chair (2016-2017). In her role, Lord helped the foundation champion oral health for all including the establishment of PA grants centered around oral health education and community outreach. She was also instrumental in bringing PAs into the conversations around mental health. Lord was a member of the nccPA Health Foundation Mental Health Convening Steering Committee.
As the first PA to serve on the Board of Directors and the Membership Committee of the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE), Lord helped develop an organizational relationship for collaboration between PAEA and IAMSE.
In her capacity as a PA educator and a PA in primary care, Lord has been a strong voice for PAs in primary care as well as a mentor for students interested in primary care. Lord has mentored several PA students with their APTR Paul Ambrose Scholars public health community projects. She was the inaugural Quinnipiac University faculty member to be appointed as faculty of the University of Connecticut (UCONN) Urban Service Track (UST) – inter-professional training and mentoring of health professions students committed to providing care for underserved urban populations.
Serving as faculty advisor, Lord was instrumental in establishing Primary Care Progress Chapters in the PA programs at both Quinnipiac University and Case Western Reserve University. Under her guidance and leadership, both QU and CWRU PCP chapters became inter-professional chapters with meaningful programs in the community. Lord also served on the Primary Care Coalition of Connecticut as the ConnAPA representative and the Connecticut Center for Primary Care Board of Directors (2014-2016). Beyond her work locally in healthcare and primary care, Lord served on the Primary Care Progress National Advisory Board from 2013-2016.
A passionate advocate for oral health integration in education and practice, Lord is an active PA “oral health champion” and one of the founders of the PA oral health initiative. She has helped develop numerous community-based oral health experiences including a collaboration with Case Western Reserve University dental medicine to enhance the relationship and the bi-directional referral process between physician assistant students and dental residents. A co-investigator on a Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine NIH/NIDCR research grant, Lord was a member of an interprofessional team of dental/medical providers and researchers working to improve access to dental care for low-income children.
Lord has served on numerous oral health advisory boards including the National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health (NIIOH), the national PA Oral Health Advisory Group, the nccPA Health Foundation Oral Health Advisory Committee and the Connecticut Coalition on Oral Health. While serving on the board of the nccPA Health Foundation, she was a co-developer of the foundation’s oral health video shorts, which were recognized at the APHA film festival in 2017. Lord was also a participant and contributor to the HRSA Oral Health Competencies (2014). In 2018, Lord was elected to serve on the board of directors for Oral Health Ohio.
Most recently Lord has focused her efforts and experience in the area of interprofessional education. She is a member of the Case Western Reserve University health professions IPE/Collaborative Practice curriculum leadership team. She is active in the numerous IPE experiences offered at CWRU. Working with the medical school (including PA), dental school, nursing and social work schools, Lord has helped develop the health professions’ programs didactic and clinical curriculum. This includes the placement and coaching of interprofessional teams of students in clinical settings, learning team skills while adding value to patient care. Lord also serves as an advisor and faculty preceptor to the Student Run Health Clinic (SRHC).
Lord’s career is distinguished by numerous awards and honors for excellence in teaching, service, leadership and contributions to the PA profession, including the ConnAPA President’s Award, the Connecticut Kidney Foundation Special Recognition Award, the Quinnipiac University PA Program Academic Teaching Award, the 2008 Quinnipiac Center for Excellence in Teaching and Service to Students Award, Business New Haven 2011 Healthcare Hero Award, the AAPA 2012 Outstanding PA of the Year PAragon Award, the 2014 Connecticut Oral Health Initiative Oral Health Champion Award, the 2015 Connecticut Academy of Physician Assistants Distinguished Merit Award, the 2016 Quinnipiac University PA Program Excellence in Teaching Award and the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Scholarship in Teaching Award (2018, 2019).
A volunteer clinician at the Lake County Free Clinic (LCFC) in Painesville, Ohio, Lord precepts PA students and serves on the LCFC Board of Directors. Prior to coming to Ohio, Lord spent over 24 years working in rural primary care in Connecticut.