Diane L. Spatz

Edge Runner of the American Academy of Nursing

Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN is a Professor of Perinatal Nursing & the Helen M. Shearer Professor of Nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.  Dr. Spatz also is the Director of the Lactation Program and a Nurse Researcher at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. A proud alumna, she received her Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

Dr. Spatz is an internationally renowned clinical nurse scientist who has translated the science of human milk and breastfeeding worldwide.  Dr. Spatz is well known for her undergraduate case study course, Nursing 361, with over 300 graduates who have influenced breastfeeding practice and policy both in the United States and abroad.  Currently, Dr. Spatz is the Faculty Advisor to Student Nurses at Penn and has served in this role since 1999.  As Faculty Advisor, Dr. Spatz spends significant time mentoring students and leading Penn Nursing students to win state and national scholarships and awards.  In addition, Penn students have served on the Board of Directors for the National Student Nurses Association and the State Association. Dr. Spatz serves as Faculty for the Sigma Theta Tau and Johnson & Johnson Maternal Child Leadership Academy.  This Academy develops nurse leaders worldwide.  

At The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Spatz developed the Breastfeeding Resource Nurse program in 2001.  This program was developed to better educate and train nurses to provide the most current and evidence-based care to families across the CHOP enterprise.  Throughout the years, over 650 nurses have completed the program. Additionally, Dr. Spatz’s DVD on Skin to Skin Contact: Transfer of the Intubated Infant, is utilized in neonatal intensive care units worldwide. And the “Power of Pumping” DVD, released in June 2013, is a powerful educational tool that translates the science of human milk for families and clinicians.

In her research efforts, Dr. Spatz has many accomplishments.  She has been awarded over 25 research grants as the principal investigator and/or co-investigator, including several grants from the National Institutes of Health.  Dr. Spatz has published over 80 articles, book chapters, policy statements, and evidence based practice guidelines.  She authored the first position statement on human milk and breastfeeding for the National Association of Neonatal Nurses as well as the new position statement on the Risks of Not Breastfeeding for the International Lactation Consultant Association.  .

Dr. Spatz has lectured widely both nationally and internationally.  In 2007, she was a Visiting Professor at the University of Western Australia. Her “10 Steps for Human Milk/Breastfeeding for Vulnerable Infants” have been implemented in NICUs throughout the United States. In January 2013, Dr. Spatz was invited by the Thai Breastfeeding Foundation and Thai government to provide a 2 ½ day human milk and breastfeeding symposium and her 10 Step model is now being implemented in every neonatal intensive care unit in Thailand.  In March of 2013, Dr. Spatz served as the Frances A. Matsuda Visiting Scholar at the University of Hawaii, consulting with faculty, students, and every birth hospital on Oahu, as well as conducting a 1 ½ day symposium for the Hawaii Breastfeeding Coalition.

Dr. Spatz is the Chair of the American Academy of Nursing’s Expert Panel on Breastfeeding and their representative to the United States Breastfeeding Committee.  Lastly, Dr. Spatz is the recipient of numerous awards including: the Research Utilization Award from Sigma Theta Tau International and from the University of Pennsylvania, the Dean’s Award for Exemplary Professional Practice, the Expert Alumni Award and the Family and Community Department’s Academic Practice Award.   She is also the recipient of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Lang Award for Scholarly Practice and Policy.