CHOP Milk Bank Director Appointed to Federal Task Force

CHOP Milk Bank Director Appointed to Federal Task Force

Congratulations to Diane Lynn Spatz, PhD, clinical coordinator of Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania’s Mothers’ Milk Bank, upon her recent appointment to the Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women, which is coordinated by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health.

Established by Congress under the 21st Century Cures Act, the task force advises the Secretary of Health and Human Services on research aimed at optimizing therapies for pregnant women and nursing mothers. Tasked with reviewing current research on pregnancy and lactation, it seeks to identify ethical issues surrounding the inclusion of pregnant women and nursing mothers in clinical research, and chronicling federal activities on therapies for pregnant women and nursing mothers. The effort also focuses on specific drugs, formulations, and pharmacological factors that may affect the health outcomes of pregnant women, nursing mothers, and their children.

In the task force’s November meeting, Dr. Spatz presented on, “Why is there no research on lactating women?” Addressing the need for research on lactation and medications, Spatz emphasized how currently there is no available medication in the United States to treat milk supply and therefore women order it from other countries. Women who donate milk or wish to donate milk to an HMBANA milk bank could be a great resource for research on this and related topics. For example, when mothers are not eligible to donate, their milk is often used for research already. Such a resource could increase the nation’s research capacity.

According to Dr. Spatz, “I recommended to the task force that we discuss this at our next meeting. As the discussions progress, I will continue to advocate for human milk research, and proper medical support for lactating women, in any way possible. It’s an honor to represent HMBANA’s perspective and CHOP’s research in this austere body.”

We applaud this unique opportunity for Dr. Spatz and look forward to supporting her pursuits in our nation’s effort to improve medications and research for pregnant and lactating women.

CHOP Milk Bank Director Diane Spatz (right) with former student Melissa Yore Gorman.