A board-certified forensic pathologist who attended medical school on a U.S. Navy scholarship, Jonathan T. Lord, B.S. ’73, M.D. ’78, is now senior vice president and chief innovation officer for Louisville, Kentucky-based Humana. While on active duty in the Navy for 11 years, he served in many prestigious posts, including the Medical Command’s Quality Assurance Division in the Office of the Surgeon General. “When opportunities come by, take them,” he says. “You get so much further in conversations with people when you start out with a ‘yes’ instead of ‘maybe’ or ‘I’ll see’ or ‘no.’”

At Humana, Lord’s responsibilities include designing innovative health plan products that encourage wellness and empower people to navigate the health care system. He also helps create multifaceted research programs, such as the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine–Humana Health Services Research Center.

“People’s lifestyles, eating habits, and longevity are creating a whole host of chronic illnesses,” says Lord, noting “the paradox of abundance.” He says that medication can help but that behavioral changes are more powerful for “living the best life possible.”

Lord is widely published on various clinical and business topics and has received many awards, including the 2002 Karen Coughlin Individual Disease Management Leadership Award. His current board appointments include NeuroMetrix, Stericycle, Kentuckiana Works, and the Kentucky e-Health Board. Among their philanthropic interests, Lord and his wife, Alice, support Louisville’s public parks, the Salvation Army, and the Clifton Center in Louisville, and they have made estate bequests to the University of Miami and to Notre Dame, Alice’s alma mater. Avid golfers, the Lords have a blended family of three boys and three girls.

An adjunct professor of community and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical College, Lord recently guest lectured in University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala’s Health Policy course. “I’ve lived by the power of emergence versus the power of planning,” Lord says about his transition from clinical practice. “The more comfortable you are making a change, the easier it is to make the next change.”

— Leonard Nash