Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, FAWHONN

Helen M. Shearer Professor of Nutrition

Professor of Perinatal Nursing

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

  • Vice 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)
  • Committee Member, National Academies: Understanding Breastfeeding Promotion, Initiation and Support Across the United States: An Analysis

Accepting Mentees?

  • Yes

Accepting Fellows?

  • Yes

Selected Publications

  • Spatz, D.L. & Froh, E.B. (in press) Human milk and breastfeeding outcomes of infants with myelomenigocele. Advances in Neonatal Care

  • Tangsuksan P., Ratinthorn, A., Sindhu, S. Spatz, D. L., & Viwatwongkasem, C. (in
    press). Factors influencing exclusive breastfeeding among urban employed mothers: A
    case-control study. Pacific Rim International Journal of Nursing Research.

  • Juntereal, N. A., & Spatz, D. L. (2021). Mothers’ Experiences with Antenatal Milk Expression. MCN. The American journal of maternal child nursing, 46(5), 277–283. https://doi.org/10.1097/NMC.0000000000000749

  • Spatz, D.L., Froh, E.B. Barthlomew, D., Edwards, T.A., Wild, T., Hedrick, H. & Nawab, U. (2019). Human Milk and Breastfeeding Outcomes for Infants with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. Breastfeeding Medicine.

  • Ferrarello, D., Froh, E.B, Hinson, T.D., & Spatz, D.L. (2019). Nurses’ Views on Using Pasteurized Donor Human Milk for Hypoglycemic Term Infants. American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing. doi: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000525 [Epub ahead of print].

  • Henry-Moss D., Lee J., Benton, K., & Spatz, D. L. (2019). An Exploration of Lactation Facilities and Planning in U.S. Higher Education Campuses. Breastfeeding Medicine, 14(2), 121-127. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2018.0198.

  • Henry-Moss, D., Abbuhl, S., Bellini, A., & Spatz, D. L. (2018). Lactation Space Experiences and Preferences Among Health Care Workers in an Academic Medical Center. Breastfeeding Medicine, 13(9), 607-613. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2018.0101

  • Froh, E.B., Cascino, A., Cerreta, S.K., Karsch, E.A., Kornberg, L.F., Lilley, J.E., Welch, L. & Spatz, D.L. (2018). Status of Legislative Efforts to Promote and Protect Breastfeeding and the Provision of Human Milk for Women Returning to Work in the First Postpartum Year. Breastfeeding Medicine, 13(7), 506-509. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2018.0092.

  • Spatz, D.L. (2018). Beyond BFHI: The Spatz 10-Step and Breastfeeding Resource Nurse Models to Improve Human Milk and Breastfeeding Outcomes. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, 32(2), 164-174. doi: 10.1097/JPN.0000000000000339.

  • Hinson, T.D., Skinner, A.C., Hassmiller-Lich, K. & Spatz, D.L. (2018). Factors That Influence Breastfeeding Initiation in African American Mothers. Journal of Obstetric Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, 47(3), 290-300. doi: 10.1016/j.jogn.2018.02.007.

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