Prof Paula P. Meier

Using evidence to design, implement and evaluate a NICU based lactation programme: the Rush Mothers’ Milk Club as an exemplar

Paula Meier

Paula Meier, PhD, RN, is Professor of Pediatrics and Nursing, and Director of NICU Lactation Services in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Rush University Medical Center. Since 1975, she has worked as a practitioner, researcher and educator in the field of human milk, lactation and breastfeeding for premature infants and their mothers. She is former President of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation, and is an active member of the Health Advisory Council for La Leche League, International. The recipient of multiple Distinguished Alumna Awards from the University of Illinois and Rush University, in 2013, she received the Audrey Hepburn Award for Contributions to the Health and Welfare of Children from Sigma Theta Tau, International.  She has published over 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts and parent educational materials, and has mentored graduate students from a multitude of disciplines.

Prof. Meier's lifetime research focus has been concentrated in understanding and improving the initiation and maintenance of lactation in breast pump-dependent mothers of NICU infants. She has also focused on developing clinical techniques which optimise the impact of human milk on health and cost outcomes for NICU infants. She currently leads the multidisciplinary Rush University NICU Human Milk Research Team, whose numerous externally-funded translational research and demonstration projects aim to remove barriers to high-dose, long-exposure feeding of mothers' own milk to NICU infants.

At the symposium, Prof. Meier will offer new evidence on the powerful, medicinal effect of mothers' own milk feedings on infants in the NICU.