By Daniel Sellen
University of Toronto
Welcome to our latest Milk Minutes!
In this edition we celebrate the work of members across generations and careers, the results of the most recent ISRHML Executive Committee and Trainee Interest Group annual elections, a new cohort of TEP awardees, and look forward to upcoming milestones in the intellectual life of our research community.
In the articles below you will find profiles on trainee member Maisha Naowar, moving personal tributes to our dearly departed founding colleague Armond Goldman by Paula Meier and Carol Wagner, news about significant activities of Diane Spatz, Janet Williams, Adrianna Greco, Margaret Butler, and Carrie-Ellen Briere, and information about upcoming meetings and events of interest to members.
We also express our sincere thanks to everyone who stepped up as candidates in the 2023 elections for Executive Committee; once again, we had an exceptional slate representing diverse interests across our membership. Congratulations and hearty thanks to our nominees and to our outgoing, continuing and new leaders. Newly elected as Members are Kirsi Järvinen-Seppo and Tricia Johnson. Janet Williams was acclaimed as Secretary. Our special thanks go to Zhenghong (Carrie) Li, Magnus Domellöf and David Sela for fantastic service to the Society throughout their terms on the Executive Committee. Noura El Habbal continues as Trainee Interest Group (TIG) President and shares below the results of the TIG elections. We look forward to everyone’s continued contributions to guiding the work and to growing and stewarding the collegial, educational, innovation and field-defining resources of our Society.
Our collective congratulations to the latest group of recipients of the most recent round of the ISRHML-FLRF Trainee Expansion Program grants, announced earlier this year shortly after our previous Milk Minutes went live. Adwoa Gyamfi and Michael A. Pitino received Trainee Bridge Fund (TBF) grants; and Omobolaji Adewuyi, Marion M. Bendixen, and Sara Shama received Trainee Travel Fund (TTF) grants. Our congratulations to all of them, and to all the impressive applicants in another highly competitive pool! We look forward to all the results of these exciting learning and research activities.
Looking ahead, we anticipate our next round of trainee awards, new webinars and trainee events, and planning for the next biannual International Conference. Application for the latest round of ISRHML – Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Trainee Expansion Program (TEP) awards opened during 2023 World Breastfeeding Week. We encourage all research trainees, supervisors and mentors to consider both the Bridge Fund and Travel Fund opportunities. You can find all the application details and read about previous recipients here.
Stay tuned on your favourite selections among our several ISRHML communications channels for upcoming news about the creation of new working groups tasked with moving forward priorities identified in last year’s strategic planning exercise, the Frontiers in Nutrition issue on Human Milk Feeding as a Complex System (submissions still open here) and plans for our next bi-annual international conference.
And don’t forget to renew your membership and encourage your colleagues and trainees in the field to join us as members!
Meanwhile, I wish all of our members around the globe well and hope to see you again soon.
TIG President’s Update August 2023
By Noura El Habbal PhD, RD, President TIG Governing Committee
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Gregory Lab, Connell School of Nursing, Boston College
Hello ISRHML members and Milk Minutes readers! I am excited to share some updates from the Trainee Interest Group (TIG) over the past few months and share some upcoming events!
I would first like to sincerely thank all our trainees for being a part of the TIG and for participating in our most recent TIG elections. I would also like to thank all our previous TIG Governing Committee (GC) members, Dr. Michelle Asbury (TIG President, 2021-2023), Nina Juntreal (Social Media and Communications Chair, 2021-2023), Alex Gogel (Secretary and Trainee Outreach Chair, 2020-2023), Dr. Nurul Husna M Shukri (Trainee Membership Chair, 2021-2023), Margaret Butler (Newsletter and Blog Editor, 2021-2023), and Dr. Meghan Azad (TIG Advisor, 2021-2023). All your efforts are gratefully acknowledged, and with our most recent elections, I am excited to welcome the newest TIG GC as I start my TIG President role for the years 2023-2025: Dr. Sarah Nyquist (Trainee Membership Chair), Dr. Kelsey Johnson (Global Representation Chair), Eow Shaing Yen (Social Media and Communications Chair), Adrianna Greco (Newsletter and Blog Editor), and Dr. Anita Esquerra-Zwiers (TIG Co-Advisor). I would also like to thank our continuing TIG GC members: Dr. Kristin Elgersma (Secretary) and Miranda Loutet (Professional Development Chair). I am eager for all the amazing work the TIG GC will be up to in the years to come!
The TIG webinars have also been ongoing. A special thanks to Miranda Loutet and Sara Shama for organizing two recent webinars: “A Global View of Human Milk Banking” which was hosted virtually in February and presented by Kimberly Mansen, Dr. Victoria Nakibuuka, Debbie Stone, and Dr. Maryanne Perrin, and “Global Perspectives on Careers in Academia” which was hosted virtually in June and presented by Dr. Taha Elajnaf, Dr. Alex George, Dr. Lars Bode, and Dr. Kozeta Miliku. Thank you to our presenters for sharing their time and experience with us! If you are an ISRHML member and would like to access recordings of the webinars hosted by the TIG, you can log into your account on the ISRHML website at www.isrhml.org and then use this link here.
The TIG GC will also be hosting our first virtual networking event on Thursday August 10th, at 5pm Eastern Standard Time (2pm Pacific Daylight Time, 9pm Greenwich Mean Time). If you are a trainee who is a human milk or lactation research enthusiast, please join us for a chance to network with other trainees in an informal, welcoming, and inclusive setting. This event is open to ISRHML and non-ISRHML trainees. To register for the event, please use this link here. We hope to see many of you there!
As a reminder, the Trainee Expansion Program (TEP) will be accepting applications from August 1 and until October 1, 2023. The TIG GC hosted a virtual webinar, “Advice for Trainee Expansion Program (TEP) Applications”, back in August 2022 to provide an overview of the TEP application process, selection criteria, and eligibility; you can access the webinar recording by logging into the ISRHML website at www.isrhml.org and then using this link here. You can also find more information about the TEP applications, the Trainee Bridge Fund and the Trainee Travel Fund here.
If you have any news you would like ISRHML to share on our social media platforms or in future Milk Minutes newsletters, please let us know by emailing [email protected]! We also follow our trainees’ Google Scholar profiles to help showcase their work. We encourage you to make a Google Scholar profile and share it with us at [email protected] so we can highlight your newest publications!
If you are interested in getting involved with the TIG, you can fill out this form and one of our TIG Governing Committee members will contact you with more information. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected] if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas for future events.
Lastly, if your membership has expired, we hope you will consider renewing and continue being a part of the ISRHML community, as well as connect with other trainees on our Slack channel and receive emails regarding our upcoming events! Thank you to all the trainees for being the most integral part of this journey and at the heart of all the work we do!
From Bangladesh to Texas, a trainee’s journey to improve breastfeeding support
by Maisha Naowar, Graduate Research Assistant
College of Health, Community, and Policy, The University of Texas, San Antonio
Breastfeeding practices vary significantly across the globe, displaying inconsistency on a global scale. I am a physician from Bangladesh and have experience working in obstetric wards in two distinct level-one hospitals. Surprisingly, I encountered a shortage of available measures in post-partum and ante-natal wards that could potentially assist in improving breastfeeding support.
Driven by the quest for a resolution to this aforementioned issue, I decided to delve deeper into lactation research as I think there are ways to effectively address this without additional financial burden to the parent(s) and instead through implementing awareness and preparedness for breastfeeding and lactation.
I am now a graduate student at The University of Texas, San Antonio, and working as a research assistant in the Integrated Nutrition and Physiology (INaP) lab under the mentorship of Dr. Jimi Francis. In our lab, we research the variability of milk samples in response to various stressors and seek to find the myriad of biologically active components in human milk. My specific research interests include determining the association of certain biomarkers with the risk of developing hypertensive disorder during pregnancy, determining macronutrient variability in banked donor milk, using biosensors to better explain infant breastfeeding biomechanics, and assessing inflammasomes in human milk.
Our recent paper, “An Analysis of Intraoral Pressure to Evaluate Infant Feeding Using a MEMS Biosensor” was accepted for publication in IEEE Xplore. The results of this work quantitatively demonstrate that the duration of breastfeeding infants’ suckling periods is more diverse and generally shorter compared to infants that are bottle feeding. To assess this, we utilized a MEMS pressure catheter to measure oral pressure in infants during both bottle and breastfeeding. Sensor data was then analyzed to quantify the oral pressure, suckling period, number of suckles per minute, and number of bursts per minute. Future work in this area will include incorporating additional sensors to detect infant swallowing and jaw movement to provide further insights into lactation physiokinetics.
Our team will also be presenting our poster on the “Difference Between Labeled and Analyzed Nutrient and Energy Content in Banked Human Milk” at the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, this year. Additionally, our abstract on “Nutrient Associations with the Risk for Hypertensive Disorder of Pregnancy “was accepted for publication in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as well as for a poster presentation this fall at the Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo.
It is crucial to emphasize that the most significant aspect of research in this field is the vast sea of new found knowledge and unfolding new dimensions in maternal and child health care. While gathering data, working with infants, pregnant mothers, and women in the post-partum phase presents its challenges, it is nonetheless exciting and rewarding. However, promoting the well-being of vulnerable populations and working in a field of healthcare that has a generational impact is what propels us forward.
I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to ISRHML, for their comprehensive efforts in the realm of human milk and lactation research, fostering young scientists, and providing extensive global opportunities to advance the field of lactation.
Maisha has a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree and is currently a graduate student pursuing her Master’s degree in Medical Data Analytics at the College of Health, Community, and Policy at UTSA
In memoriam…Armond Samuel Goldman, MD (May 26, 1930-January 16, 2023)
By Drs. Carol Wagner and Paula Meier
Armond Samuel Goldman, MD was an early member of ISRHML. He was in all aspects of his life a kind and visionary soul who inspired others. He leaves behind a legacy in immunology and human milk research that changed the way we view human milk as a biological system. He was one of the first to look at human milk under a microscope and discovered the presence of human milk macrophages and helped decipher the complex immunological system that exists in human milk. His presence at ISRHML conferences and his inspiration of both young and older scientists will be greatly missed. He leaves behind his 2021 paper, History of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation, published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, which chronicles the origins and early leaders within ISRHML
Memoire from Carol Wagner: I first met Armond in Plymouth, MA at the 1997 ISHRML biannual meeting headed by David Newburg and Ardythe Morrow. It was my first time attending such a conference, and I was fully captivated. At that one meeting alone were the giants in human milk research Armond Goldman (a later Macy-Gyorgy recipient), Margit Hamosh, Stuart Patton (who received the Macy-Gyorgy Award at that meeting), Ruth Lawrence, and Robert Jensen, all leading the way to change our view of human milk and its importance in health and development. There was an energy between these leaders like none other, each adding to the knowledge of what was known about human milk that has led the way to important discoveries in the 21st century. Armond was no exception.
Armond shared with me his journey of how he and his colleague Dr. Smith came to study human milk and discover its abundance of milk leukocytes in 1968. He described taking a sample of freshly pumped colostrum and placing it on a slide and then looking under the microscope and seeing cells interacting with each other. He said that he would never forget that first glimpse into the world of human milk—the complexity and structure—and vastness that could be discerned but perhaps never understood fully—seen with the eye through a microscope. He and Dr. Smith went on to publish that seminal work: Smith CW, Goldman AS. The cells of human colostrum. I. In vitro studies of morphology and functions. Pediatr Res 1968; 2: 103–109. Their work led to other seminal publications that changed our perception of human milk and breastfeeding. Rates of breastfeeding in the 1960’s and early 70’s for all women were at all time lows around 28-30% and it was this awareness of human milk as an extraordinary living fluid and immunological delivery system involving the mother-infant dyad that turned the tide. Dr. Goldman was instrumental in turning that tide.
Dr. Goldman’s obituary appeared in the Galveston County, The Daily News. Click here to read the full obituary.
We all miss Armond—his brightness, his laughter, his kindness, his sensitivity toward others, his willingness to go the extra mile to solve a scientific or medical mystery, and the vision that he shared with us. We are better scientists in our quest for understanding the mysteries of human milk. We bow our heads to acknowledge the loss of such a great man.
Donations to Dr. Goldman’s memory may be made to the UTMB Blocker History of Medicine Collections at the Moody Medical Library or the UTMB Department of Pediatrics.
Memoire from Paula Meier: I first met Armond at the 1997 Plymouth ISRHML meeting, at which time he encouraged me to apply for full membership in the society and then served as one of my sponsors. I recall sharing with him at a later ISRHML meeting that my young son had been diagnosed with learning issues, and he pulled from his own childhood to offer assurance. He shared with me that his father noted early on during Armond’s education that he didn’t “learn” in the same ways as his peers. His father didn’t share the “why” with him, but subsequently, devised “home” work in addition to the school’s “homework” to augment his education and his own personal learning style. Armond told me that he was well into junior high when he realized that his friends did not have “home” work in addition to “homework.” This story was so incredibly uplifting to think that Armond (whom I revered) also learned differently. My son outgrew these issues, but as all parents know, the period of getting there is fraught with angst, and Armond’s words were a blessing.
I also would share that Armond started every clinical presentation with the fact that he learned everything he knew about breastfeeding and human milk from his wife Barbara. He told the story that as a physician, he was given courtesy packs of commercial formula when expecting the first baby, and was proud to provide them for the family. He said that Barbara told him there would be no formula in this house—that she was going to breastfeed. He always credited his interests in human milk with Barbara’s knowledge and influence.
[Dr. Goldman also wrote a review article that details the history of ISRHML. Click here to read Armond S. Goldman; History of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation. Ann Nutr Metab 12 August 2021; 77 (2): 83–89.]
Congratulations to Diane Spatz (current ISRHML Treasurer) who recently was inducted as an inaugural Fellow of the Association of Women’s Health Obstetric Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN)! AWHONN represents 350,000 nurses who care for childbearing families in the United States. Diane is currently a Professor of Perinatal Nursing & the Helen M. Shearer Professor of Nutrition at University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing with joint appointment as a nurse scientist-lactation at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in the Center for Pediatric Nursing Research and Evidence Based Practice. Diane is the Founder of the CHOP Mothers’ Milk Bank. Diane is an active researcher, clinician, and educator. In 2004, Diane developed a 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). Diane has been named a prestigious “Edge Runner” for the American Academy of Nursing and her nurse driven models of care have been critical in improving human milk and breastfeeding outcomes and thus the health of women and children globally. Congratulations, Diane!
By Janet Williams
The newsletter team is undergoing some transitions! Margaret Butler who was serving as the TIG co-editor is rotating off. Thank you, Margaret, for all your help and effort on the newsletter! We wish you the very best in your future endeavors! Click here to access Margaret’s recently published article in the Journal of Human Lactation titled “US Breastfeeding Outcomes at the Intersection: Differences in Duration Among Racial and Ethnic Groups with Varying Educational Attainment in a Nationally Representative Sample.” Her co-authors are Britney Smart, Elijah Watson, Shreya Narla, and Lauren Keenan-Devlin. Congrats, Margaret!
With Margaret rotating off, we welcome Adrianna Greco as the new TIG co-editor for the newsletter! Adrianna joins us from Vancouver where she recently started her PhD work with Yvonne Lamers. Adrianna’s research focuses on assessing dietary patterns of toddlers and their mothers and the association with later neurodevelopmental outcomes in toddlers. Adrianna also has a background in human milk composition through her Masters degree, and is excited to join the ISRHML newsletter team! Side note, congratulations to Adrianna for being a finalist in the Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Poster competition at the recent American Society for Nutrition meeting in Boston!
And since I have accepted the role of ISRHML Secretary, Carrie-Ellen Briere will be taking the role of Newsletter co-editor along with Adrianna. Excited and looking forward to working with both of you! Thank you to all of those who give of their time to be on the newsletter team. I am so grateful and honored to be able to work with all the members of the newsletter team!
Calling All Trainees!
Applications are now open for the Trainee Expansion Program (TEP) grants! These merit-based scholarships are for early career academics in the field of human milk and lactation. TEP grants are a partnership project of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML) and the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation (FLRF). Two types of grants are offered and up to USD 250,000 per year total are awarded for research projects. Applications close 1 October 2023!
To learn more about the Trainee Bridge Fund (TBF), click here.
To learn more about the Trainee Travel Fund (TTF), click here.
Calendar of Events
World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, 2023. Learn More.
ISRHML Trainee Interest Group: Trainee Networking Happy Hour, August 10, 2023. Learn More.
International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) 2023 Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV, USA, August 13-15, 2023. Learn More.
International Milk Genomics Consortium (IMGC) Hybrid Symposium 2023 in Cork, Ireland, September 6-8, 2023. Learn More.
5th Meeting of DOHaD Latin American Chapter in Valdivia, Chile, September 7-10 2023. Learn More.
7th Annual US DOHaD Meeting in Kansas City, MO, USA, September 17-19, 2023. Learn More.
American Academy of Pediatrics in Washington, DC, USA, October 20-24, 2023. Learn More.
Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine 28th Annual International Meeting in Schaumburg, IL, USA, November 9-12, 2023. Learn More.
International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) – European Meeting: Copenhagen, November 12-15, 2023. Learn More.
Human Milk Institute Symposium 2024, in La Jolla, CA, USA, March 18-19, 2024. Learn More.
International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) – Annual Meeting: Atlanta, Georgia USA, May 5-8, 2024. Learn More.