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

Director, Lactation Program

Professor of Perinatal Nursing and Helen M. Shearer Professor of Nutrition, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Faculty Advisor to Student Nurses at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, is a world-renowned lactation clinician, researcher and educator. Her expertise is in the provision of human milk/breastfeeding in mothers who have infants with complex surgical anomalies. 

As director of CHOP's lactation program, Dr. Spatz is also a nurse researcher and holds a joint appointment at The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing as a professor of perinatal nursing and the Helen M. Shearer professor of nutrition. She is also faculty advisor to students nurses at Penn's School of Nursing.

Dr. Spatz consults with families from around the world who relocate to Philadelphia to be cared for at the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment. She works with moms and their babies who have a variety of fetal diagnoses — from congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation (CCAM) to twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) — to educate and consult in breastfeeding care. 

In particular, Dr. Spatz has an extensive background in lactation for high-risk mothers and neonates. She provides detailed prenatal education for all mothers with high-risk pregnancies who will deliver in the Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit, the world's first birth facility created for mothers carrying babies with birth defects.

She also provides consultation for mothers after they deliver, in the critical period of establishing lactation. Dr. Spatz works with moms at their baby's bedside in the Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU) to ensure they have all the resources they need to successfully provide human milk for their babies.

In addition to working with patients, Dr. Spatz shares her expertise with nurses throughout the Hospital in an intensive 16-hour Breastfeeding Resource Nurse course. She received a division grant to produce a DVD of Skin-to-Skin Transfer of the Ventilated Infant that is now distributed worldwide. Dr. Spatz also received two grants from the Philadelphia Department of Health to fund breastfeeding promotion programs at two CHOP Care Network Primary Care sites.

Dr. Spatz's funded research has included studies such as breastfeeding services for low-birth weight infants (1996-2000), nursing home care for high-risk pregnant women (1995-2000), and a National Institute of Nursing Research-funded study with John Hopkins University about the support for low-income breastfeeding (2003-2007).

She was also the principal investigator for a Foerderer Foundation-funded study: An Innovative Program for Breastfeeding Education and Training (2002-2005);  A Retrospective Review of Infants Readmitted with Early Breastfeeding Difficulties (2005-2006); and The Use of Human Milk and Outcomes of Infants with Congenital Surgical Anomalies (2006-2007).


Her current funded research includes The Role of Human Milk and Breastfeeding in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (2011-present) and 25-year retrospective of the Clinician Educator (CE) Role at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (2010-present).

Dr. Spatz is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) and is chair of the expert panel on breastfeeding for the national group. She is also AAN's representative to the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, and in 2007 was invited to be a visiting professor and research associate at the University of Western Australia.

Dr. Spatz is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) and is chair of the expert panel on breastfeeding for the national group. She is also AAN's representative to the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, and in 2007 was invited to be a visiting professor and research associate at the University of Western Australia. She is also a member of the Baby-Friendly USA NICU Task Force.

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