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lactation online learning

Toward More Equitable Human Lactation Science: The BEGIN Project

This webinar will articulate the purposes and structure of the project, explain why equitable human lactation research is critical, and demonstrate the application of a translational research framework using various case study examples of current gaps across human milk research.

Member Price $24.00

Nonmember Price $54.00


This webinar was presented live on April 20, 2022.

Student pricing $10.00

Human lactation is a complex concept—universal yet unique to individuals across ethnicities and cultures. Since there is no "one size fits all" approach to human milk and lactation, patient recommendations should be rooted in ethical and equitable research that reflects the needs and challenges of diverse populations.

The "Breastmilk Ecology: Genesis of Infant Nutrition: BEGIN Project" initiated by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and conducted in partnership with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, was intended to support research to address a myriad of outstanding questions regarding the role of human milk in safe and efficacious infant feeding practices.

A critical aspect of this effort was the recognition that, to promulgate new guidance, there needs to be a deeper understanding of the biology of human milk and most specifically the factors affecting it (i.e., the ecology). The BEGIN Project was thus designed to determine what we know about that ecology and how to study it along with a strong focus on the importance of consideration for the range of factors affecting translation and implementation of new evidence to support context specific, equitable, safe and efficacious guidance, decisions and practices in infant feeding.

This webinar will articulate the purposes and structure of the project, explain why equitable human lactation research is critical, and demonstrate the application of a translational research framework using various case study examples of current gaps across human milk research.

CPE Level: 2
CPEU: 1.0

Performance Indicators:

  • 6.3 Disseminates research findings to support knowledge translation.
  • 1.7 Applies cultural competence and consideration for social determinants of health to show respect for individuals, groups and populations.
  • 8.1.4 Demonstrates knowledge of nutrient requirements throughout the life span and their role in health promotion and disease management.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the purposes and principles of the BEGIN collaborative initiative and a translational research framework.
  • Identify ways the BEGIN Project broadens human lactation research in an equitable and ethical manner.
  • Describe the application of the translational research framework through the use of case studies that highlight gaps in human milk research.


Gabriela Proaño, MS, RDN

Gabriela Proaño, MS, RDN is a registered dietitian with both a clinical nutrition and research background. She began her career working as a clinical dietitian for the Veteran Affairs Healthcare System. There, she expanded her experience in medical nutrition therapy and nutrition counseling for conditions such as weight management, diabetes, heart disease, etc. Currently, Gabriela works a senior research project manager for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' research team. She works on domestic and global research projects on topics such as malnutrition and chronic kidney disease, the Academy's Council on Research, and supporting Academy Foundation fellow research projects. She has also led nutrition care process workshops for nutrition and dietetics professionals in the US, Asia, and Latin America. She is currently a doctoral student in Dietetics and Nutrition at Florida International University. Her research interests include implementation science, maternal and child nutrition, and global health.

Daniel J. Raiten, PhD, FASN

Daniel J. Raiten, PhD, FASN, has a BA in history and political science, BS/MS in animal science/agriculture and a PhD in Human Nutrition from Penn State University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center. He has spent the majority of his career at the interface between research and translation to support evidence informed practice, programs and policies in food safety and nutrition.

He has served as the Program Director for Nutrition at NICHD/NIH since 2009 where Dr. Raiten is responsible for the portfolio of grants and related activities to support and advance the MCH nutrition agenda in the US and globally. He is a 5-time recipient of the NIH Director's Award and the DHHS Secretary's Award. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Society for Nutrition in 2020. 

Laurie Nommsen-Rivers, PhD, RD, IBCLC

Laurie Nommsen-Rivers (she/her), PhD, RD, IBCLC, is an Associate Professor of Nutrition, and the Ruth Rosevear Endowed Chair of Maternal and Child Nutrition, at the University of Cincinnati. She is a registered dietitian since 1990 and an international board-certified lactation consultant since 1993. She served as the associate editor of the Journal of Human Lactation from 1997- 2006. After receiving her master's degree in Nutrition from the University of California Davis, Dr. Nommsen-Rivers spent 18 years working with hundreds of parents and their infants as a senior research associate at UC Davis.

Motivated by a desire to accelerate the evidence base for improving clinical lactation practice, she returned to the University of California in 2004 to obtain a PhD in epidemiology. Between 2009 and 2016 Dr. Nommsen-Rivers was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Neonatology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

She has co-authored over 100 research publications related to the breastfeeding dyad with a focus on barriers that impede lactation success. Her current work focuses on physiologic factors that influence milk production during lactation. She has also served on expert committees for the USDA, NIH, and National Academies of Sciences, toward the improvement of the health and clinical management of the lactating parent-infant dyad.

Release Date:: April 20, 2022


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