Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN
The provision of human milk and breastfeeding ensures optimal health and developmental outcomes for children, yet less than 20% of infants in the United States are exclusively breastfed for 6 months. Many women are at high risk for not breastfeeding due to a lack of exposure to and education on breastfeeding. Diane Spatz has created models of research, education, and clinical practice that have improved outcomes in the field of human milk and breastfeeding.
Through the Breastfeeding Resource Nurse model that she developed at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and her 10 Step Model to Promote & Protect Human Milk and Breastfeeding in Vulnerable Infants, Dr. Spatz is making a difference in the lives of mothers and infants worldwide. The Breastfeeding Resource Nurse model is an evidence-based training program in lactation support and care. The 10-step model for human milk and breastfeeding in vulnerable infants helps clinicians and mothers make an informed choice about why human milk is a medical intervention, and then provides skilled and comprehensive breastfeeding support to mothers who choose to breastfeed. CHOP and other hospitals in the U.S. and worldwide, including in India, Thailand, and the United Kingdom, use the 10-step model.
“Human milk is a life-saving intervention. My model helps mothers achieve their breastfeeding goals, making a difference in the lives of women and babies every day.”
- PhD, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing , 1995
- MSN, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing , 1989
- BSN, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing , 1986
Over 1,000 nurses at CHOP have taken the Breastfeeding Resource Nurse course and provide families with evidence-based lactation support and care. Since implementation of Dr. Spatz’s 10 step model at CHOP, the number of infants discharged from the NICU on human milk feeds has increased from about 30% to more than 86%.
As a clinician educator and a nurse researcher in lactation and director of the Lactation Program at CHOP, Dr. 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 also developed a DVD on skin-to-skin transfer of the ventilated infant and the motivating and empowering DVD –“The Power of Pumping” – both of which are used in hospitals around the world.
Dr. Spatz’s testimony informed the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding (2011), 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 (the 10 step model).
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
A first-generation college student, Dr. Spatz 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. Dr. Spatz’s 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 (BSN, MSN, and PhD).
Selected Career Highlights
- Chair, Expert Panel on Breastfeeding, American Academy of Nursing
- American Academy of Nursing representative, United States Breastfeeding Committee
- Winner, Edge Runner Award, American Academy of Nursing (Edge Runners have developed care models and interventions with significant, sustained clinical and financial outcomes)
Devido, J.A., Doswell W.M., Braxter B.J., Spatz D.L., Dorman J.S., Terry M.A., Charron-Prochownik, D. (2017) Experiences of Parish Nurses in Providing Diabetes Education and Preconception Counseling to Women with Diabetes. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing 2017 Jan 16. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1016/j.jogn.2016.10.010.
Kamoun, C. & Spatz, D.L. (2017). The Influence of Islamic Traditions on Breastfeeding Beliefs and Practices Among African-American Muslims in West Philadelphia: A Mixed Methods Study. Journal of Human Lactation. Doi: 10.1177/0890334417705856
Froh, E.B, Deatrick, J., Curely, M.Q. & Spatz, D.L. (2017). Mothers of infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia describe “breastfeeding” in the neonatal intensive care unit: “As long as it’s my milk, I’m happy.” Journal of Human Lactation. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1177/0890334417709469
Spatz, D.L., Evans, A. & Froh, E.B. (2017). Creation of a Regional Human Milk Assembly: A Model to Influence Practice Change in the NICU. [Epub ahead of print] Advances in Neonatal Care. doi: 10.1097/ANC.0000000000000393
Froh, E., Dahlmeier, K., Spatz, L. (2016) NICU Nurses and Lactation-Based Support and Care. Advanced Neonatal Care 2016 Dec 27. [Epub ahead of print] doi:10.1097/ANC.0000000000000370
Cunniff, A, Spatz, D. (2016) Mother’s Weaning Practices when Infants Breastfeed for More than One Year. MCN American Journal for Maternal Child Nursing 2016 Dec 5. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000310
Baumgartel, K, Groer, M.W., Cohen S.M., Ren D, Spatz, D.L., Conley Y.P. (2016). Maternal Interleukin Genotypes Are Associated with NICU Outcomes Among Low-Birth-Weight Infants. Biological Research for Nursing 2016 Sep 6. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1177/1099800416664585
Froh, B, Spatz, D.L. (2016). Navigating Return to Work and Breastfeeding in a Hospital with a Comprehensive Employee Lactation Program: The voices of Mothers. Journal of Human Lactation 2016 Sep 6. [Epub ahead of print] Doi: 10.1177/0890334416663475
Koo, K, Spatz, D.L. (2016). National Survey of Convention Centers’ Lactation Facilities. Journal of Human Lactation 2016 Jul 1. [Epub ahead of print] Doi: 10.1177/0890334416653740
Bostick, M.W., Albrecht, S.A., Baghdadi, N., Haley, C., Spatz, D.L. (2016). Do American Colleges and Universities Support Lactation Needs of Students? Breastfeeding Medicine, 11: 376-379. Doi: 10.1089/bfm.2016.0022