Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award, an award honoring longstanding and profound impacts on neonatal nursing from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN). Spatz is a Professor of Perinatal Nursing and the Helen M. Shearer Term Professor of Nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing). She is also the director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Lactation Program.

Spatz began her career in nursing as a first-generation college student at Penn Nursing where she received all of her formal education including a BSN degree in 1986, MSN in 1989, and PhD in 1995. With the help of mentors at Penn Nursing who realized and nurtured her potential, Spatz joined the Penn Nursing faculty after earning her PhD where she now mentors her own students and involves them in her research projects.

In her academic roles as clinical educator and nurse researcher in lactation, Spatz educates and consults on breastfeeding care for families, including providing prenatal and post-delivery education for mothers with infants with complex surgical or non-surgical anomalies. Her development of DVDs on skin-to-skin transfer of ventilated infants and her empowering DVD, The Power of Pumping, are both used in hospitals around the world.

As an educator and mentor at Penn Nursing, Spatz teaches one of the only undergraduate case study courses in human milk and breastfeeding in the world. She also teaches guest lectures on breastfeeding and research to BSN and MSN programs. Among Spatz’ other achievements is induction as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2007 and recognition as an Academy Edge Runner in 2015 for her model of care to promote and protect human milk and breastfeeding for vulnerable infants.

In a 2011 Call to Action to the United States Surgeon General, Spatz provided a testimony to support breastfeeding, providing steps for a society-wide approach to supporting breastfeeding mothers and babies. Her testimony highlighted the critical role of nurses in lactation support and the critical need for human milk and breastfeeding for vulnerable infants.

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