Innovation in Public Service
In 1985, Dr. Lord was appointed to the cabinet post of Commissioner of Human Services in her home state of West Virginia, the first woman to hold this position. The agency had 3,000 employees and a budget of 640 million dollars. Among the achievements during Lord’s tenure was an award to the agency and to Commissioner Lord personally, crediting West Virginia with the best administered (and lowest cost) food stamp program in the nation, and for maintaining an efficient program in a flood disaster setting. Lord also initiated the use of video-based education and training in field offices, as well as the introduction of cost-savings initiatives in medical programs.
As Commissioner, she appeared on numerous TV and radio shows including Australia’s 60 Minutes, describing the agency’s program innovations such as “Workfare.”
Among her numerous awards and recognition during this period, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Davis and Elkins College. She was also inducted into Phi Kappa Phi at WVU.