Black women do breastfeed beyond a year: Listening to their stories

Tremendous disparities in breastfeeding rates exist in the United States, with Black women having the lowest initiation and continuation rates.  Yet, some black women do breastfeed beyond one year. This presentation will discuss a recently completed research study conducted by Dr. Spatz and her Ph.D. student Stephanie Acquaye.

Wednesday, 19 July 2023

The presention first discuss some of the historical antecedents and current practices that impact breastfeeding rates in the Black/African American community. Our mixed methods study will present findings, including listening to the voices of black women who breastfed beyond a year. Their words are a powerful testament to how we need to improve evidence-based lactation care and support for ALL families.

Learning objectives

On completion of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the racial/ethnic disparities and factors that contribute to those disparities
  • Describe the experiences of black women who breastfeed beyond a year


Event details

Date           19 July 2023

Duration    1 hour

Time          20:00 – 21:00 Central European Time (13:00 – 14:00 Central Standard Time)


Diane Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN

Prof. Diane Spatz (US)

Diane L. Spatz, Ph.D., RN-BC, FAAN, is a Professor of Perinatal Nursing & the Helen M. Shearer Professor of Nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, sharing a joint appointment as a nurse scientist in lactation at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in the Center for Pediatric Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice. Dr. Spatz is the Founder of the CHOP Mothers’ Milk Bank.

Dr. Spatz is an active researcher, clinician, and educator internationally recognized for her work surrounding human milk and breastfeeding, particularly in vulnerable populations. Dr. Spatz has been PI or co-investigator on over 60 research grants, including several from the NIH.  She has authored and co-authored over 210 peer-reviewed publications and has written numerous book chapters related to human milk and breastfeeding. Dr. Spatz has authored or co-authored position statements for the International Lactation Consultant Association, the Association of Women’s Health Obstetric & Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN), the Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN), and the National Association of Neonatal Nurses. She has also written the clinical practice guidelines on human milk and breastfeeding for AHWONN and SPN, as well as a technical brief for the USAID on human milk and breastfeeding in developing countries.

In 2004, Dr. Spatz develop her 10-step model for human milk and breastfeeding in vulnerable infants.  This model has been implemented in NICUs throughout the United States and other countries worldwide (Thailand, India, China, Mexico, Japan, Chile). Dr. Spatz has been named a prestigious “Edge Runner” for the American Academy of Nursing related to the outcomes of her model.  Her nurse-driven models of care are critical in improving human milk & breastfeeding outcomes and, thus, the health of women and children globally.  Dr. Spatz is the only Ph.D.-prepared nurse appointed to the Congressional Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women.  Dr. Spatz has also been appointed to a World Health Organization Task Force on human milk and milk banking globally. Dr. Spatz was elected to the Executive Committee of the International Society of Research in Human Milk and Lactation in April 2020.

Dr. Spatz is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, 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. Dr. Spatz received the Distinguished Lang Award for her impact on scholarship, policy & practice. In 2019, Dr. Spatz received AWHONN’s Distinguished Researcher Award and was named Nurse of the Year by the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2023 she has been honoured as an inaugural fellow in the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

In the university portion of her job, she teaches an entire semester course on breastfeeding and human lactation to undergraduate nursing students, and in the hospital portion of her job, she developed the Breastfeeding Resource Nurse program.  Dr. Spatz is the Past Chair of the American Academy of Nursing’s Expert Panel on Breastfeeding and their representative to the United States Breastfeeding Committee.