Cynthia Danford, PhD, CRNP, PPCNP-BC, CPNP-BC, FAAN, is a nurse scientist II in Cleveland Clinic’s Office of Nursing Research and Innovation. Dr. Danford’s research interests are focused on working with children and families to instill healthy lifestyle habits and decrease overweight/obesity and cardiovascular risk. She embraces a family-centered approach and recognition of situational context in order to help families set realistic goals related to healthy lifestyle choices. Her research has grown from her nursing experience.

As a certified pediatric nurse practitioner, Dr. Danford has extensive clinical experience in pediatric nursing and pediatric primary care. She has worked in home, community, in-patient, and clinic settings. Dr. Danford has taught graduate and undergraduate levels at several universities as an academician. The courses she has taught include both pediatric nursing theory and clinical courses as well as nutrition, role transition, and neonatal ICU, OB and medical-surgical clinical. She most recently held a faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.

Contributing to the advancement of nursing science, Dr. Danford has many publications related to issues of overweight, obesity, and healthy lifestyles. She has presented her work nationally and internationally (Russia, Japan, Denmark, Canada, Spain, Ireland). She has received funding for her innovative research with event history calendars, most recently from the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) National Institute of Health (NIH).


  • Research Fellowship, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • PhD, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California
  • MSN, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
  • BS, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana


  • Certified Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (PPCNP-BC), American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care (CPNP-PC), Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

Contact Information

Cleveland Clinic
Office of Research and Innovation
9500 Euclid Avenue/ T4-43
Cleveland, Ohio 44195



Dr. Danford is an active member of the International Family Nursing Association (IFNA), where she serves as co-chair of the research committee and member of the conference planning committee. She previously served as co-chair of the IFNA Research Collaboration Subcommittee. Her involvement in IFNA has led to many international research collaborations and opportunities to build family nursing science worldwide. As a member of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) and former president of the Association of Faculties of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (AFPNP), Dr. Danford is completing six years as AFPNP liaison to the NAPNAP Research Committee, where she has been involved in setting future pediatric research priorities as well as reviewing grant applications and conference abstracts for presentations and awards. In academia, she has served on numerous nursing and university-wide committees; she recently co-chaired the University of Pittsburgh Equity, Inclusion, Anti-Discrimination, and Advocacy Committee (EIADAC). Dr. Danford was also influential in advancing Russian nursing education through collaboration with the Russian Ministry of Health on a Russian Nursing Education Project.

Clinical Practice & Teaching

Clinical Practice & Teaching

Clinical Practice

Dr. Danford has clinical expertise in pediatrics using a family-centered approach. She is a primary care pediatric nurse practitioner with a focus on wellness and illness prevention. She has provided care in home, community, and child life settings. She has past experience working in various pediatric settings, including neonatal and pediatric ICUs.


Dr. Danford’s academic experience has included both undergraduate and graduate education. She has been on the faculty at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, The Ohio State University, Wayne State University, and University of Pittsburgh. She has primarily taught pediatric theory and clinical courses for BSN, MSN, and DNP students. Throughout her career, she has also taught medical-surgical and OB clinical as well as nutrition, neonatal ICU specialty, health assessment, diversity, and role transition courses. She has mentored PhD students on their dissertation research and DNP students on quality improvement projects.

Research & Publications

Research & Publications

Dr. Danford’s research focus is on families with young children with whom she works to explore healthy lifestyle behaviors related to eating, physical activity and sleep in order to minimize overweight, obesity and cardiovascular risk. She uses event history calendars to engage children and parents/caregivers in assessing environmental factors, which may influence lifestyle choices and subsequently guide tailored development of meaningful lifestyle goals. She has received funding through AETNA, American Nurses Foundation and most recently, National Institute of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Development (NIH/NICHD). She has delivered numerous national and international presentations and has several publications. Her past work is available on request.

Research Funding

Self-Regulating Lifestyle Behaviors to Decrease Obesity Risk with Parent-Preschool Child Dyads Using Event History Calendars (EHCs). NIH NICHD R21(5 R21 HD091712-02). 2018-present.

Fathers’ Experience in Families with a Child with a Chronic Illness: A Systematic Review. Submitted to Minnesota State University, Mankato and the Glen Taylor Nursing Institute for Family & Society, the International Family Nursing Association (IFNA). 2021-present.

2022 - Presentations

Danford, C.A. and Heuer, B. (17 March 2022). Preparing the next generation of pediatric nurse practitioners: Precepting. Podcast: Teampeds Talks.

Heuer, B. and Danford, C.A. (22 March, 2022). Introduction to pediatric APRN precepting. Workshop (3 hours) at NAPNAP 43rd National Conference on Pediatric Health Care, Experts in Pediatrics, Advocates for Children. Dallas, Tx.

2021 – Publications

Danford, C.A. and Mooney-Doyle, K. (2021, October). Illuminating Family Research in Planetary Health. International Family Nursing Association.

Smith, G.L., Schultz, C.M., & Danford, C.A. (2021). DNP or PhD? Dispelling misconceptions. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 17(9), 1122-1123.

2021 – Presentations

Danford, C.A. (9 November 2021). Steps to minimize obesity risk by giving voice to preschool children using event history calendars. Oral poster presentation for Healthy LifeStars 2021 Conference: Improving Health Outcomes Through Preventing Childhood Obesity Conference. Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy. Virtual.

Danford, C.A. (9 November 2021). Environmental context matters: Association between chaos, daily routine, BMI, and weight perception in parent-preschool child dyads from low-income families. Oral poster presentation for Healthy LifeStars 2021 Conference: Improving Health Outcomes Through Preventing Childhood Obesity Conference. Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy. Virtual.

Professional Involvement

Professional Involvement

  • American Nurses Association (ANA) (Member)
  • International Family Nurses Association (IFNA) (Member, Co-Chair Research Committee; IFNA 16 2023 Conference Planning Committee)
  • National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) (Member, AFPNP Liaison to Research Committee)
  • Association of Faculties of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (AFPNP) (Member, Past President)
  • National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) (Member)
Honors & Awards

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN)
  • Outstanding Researcher of the year (AFPNP)
  • Top 25 Pediatric Nursing Professors
  • Excellence in Nursing Research Award (AFPNP)