Over 150 representatives from 30 nonprofit North American milk banks attended the Symposium on Human Milk Banking in Columbus, Ohio last week. Typically a biennial event organized by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), it was the first in-person meeting since 2019 due to the pandemic.
Lindsey Groff, Executive Director for HMBANA, kicked off the two-day event followed by more than 25 speakers. Sessions covered a wide variety of topics related to best practices, research, professional development and education.
University of North Carolina Greensboro professor and researcher, Maryanne Perrin, PhD, MBA, RDN, discussed preliminary findings from the Global Study to Characterize Nutrients in Donor Human Milk. After examining and comparing a broad range of nutrients and biofactors in human milk, final results of the study are expected to aid nutritional care around the world for the growing number of preterm infants who receive donor milk.
Other presentations addressed the importance of federal and local legislative action on behalf of nonprofit milk banks; strategies for protecting healthcare data; milk processing laboratory standards; and donor milk’s future role in the broader field of maternal and child health. Multiple breakout sessions provided a forum for discussing topics such as equity, milk donation after loss, milk drives and breastfeeding support.
Overall, the symposium provides a unique and invaluable opportunity to connect milk bank professionals who share a common passion for helping fragile babies. To further advance the field of nonprofit milk banking worldwide, everyone is looking forward to the International Donor Milk Conference in Austin, Texas in April 2024.