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Professor Diane Spatz Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses

The award honors longstanding and profound impact on neonatal nursing.

Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, Professor of Perinatal Nursing and the Helen M. Shearer Term Professor of Nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN).

Spatz also directs the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Lactation Program. She was inducted as a fellow to the American Academy of Nursing in 2007 and was recognized as an Academy Edge Runner in 2015 for her model of care to promote and protect human milk and breastfeeding in vulnerable infants. 

As a clinician educator and a nurse researcher in lactation, Spatz educates and consults in the breastfeeding care of families, including providing prenatal and post-delivery education for mothers with infants diagnosed with complex surgical and non-surgical anomalies. She has developed a DVD on skin-to-skin transfer of the ventilated infant, as well as the motivating and empowering DVD –The Power of Pumping – both of which are used in hospitals around the world.

Spatz’s 2011 testimony informed the United States Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, which provides steps for a society-wide approach to supporting mothers and babies who are breastfeeding. She highlighted the critical role of nurses in lactation support and the critical need for human milk and breastfeeding for vulnerable infants.

Spatz was a first-generation college student and had mentors at Penn Nursing who saw her potential. After she earned her PhD, she joined Penn Nursing’s faculty, where she mentors students and involves them in all of her research projects. Her case study course is one of the only undergraduate courses in human milk and breastfeeding in the world. She also provides guest lectures on breastfeeding and research in the BSN and MSN programs and mentors students at all levels of their educational careers.

Spatz received all her formal education at Penn Nursing. She received her PhD in 1995; her Masters of Nursing Science in 1989; and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1986.