National Breastfeeding Research Consortium Call for Applicants

In response to the 2011 Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, several federal agencies came together in May 2011 to form the Federal Breastfeeding Working Group (FBWG) for implementation of the steps outlined in the Call to Action document. Call to action item 18 was to "strengthen existing capacity and develop future capacity for conducting research on breastfeeding." 

An implementation strategy to achieve this goal was the development of a National Breastfeeding Research Consortium (NBRC). Such a consortium would help to prioritize key research areas, increase the generalizability of research on breastfeeding, enable expanded and advanced research to be performed, and foster the timely translation of research into practice. The intent of the consortium is to foster collaboration between disciplines (clinical/behavioral/social scientists) and across sectors (ecomomics, legal,labor).

The FBWG, which provides agency coordination and oversight for activities outlined in the Call to Action seeks nominations of qualified individuals representing the diversity of fields engaged in advancing the breastfeeding agenda, to serve on NBRC.


The purpose of the NBRC is to identify:

  • priority research gaps,
  • new ways to support efforts to address a comprehensive research agenda, and,
  • strategies for translation of new research findings into evidence-based programs/policies and standards of care.
Examples of priority areas that might be the focus of the NBRC would include but not necessarily be limited to efforts to:

  • Standardize and promote definitions of specific terms (e.g., human milk vs. breast milk when referring to human lactation and infant nutrition, definitions of "milk" in the context of feeding human infants, etc.).
  • Develop and update national agendas for surveillance and research on topics related to breastfeeding and infant and young child nutrition.
  • Spearhead funding strategies to help accomplish the agenda developed by the consortium.
  • Facilitate communication among researchers and allied communities.
  • Promote the dissemination of research findings and monitor the translation of research into best practices.
  • Enhance the training of scientists in basic and applied research on mammary gland and lactation biology, breastfeeding, and relevant aspects of women's and children's health. These enhancements may include the development of specific curricula in medical schools and allied health professionals to ensure a skilled and sustainable cadre of scientists to support the breastfeeding agenda as outlined in the Call to Action.

Additional functions of the NBRC also could include:

  • Development of strategies/methods to link various researchers and allied communities to share new data, develop new strategies of interface, virtual exchanges of relevant resources;
  • Refine existing and develop new operational approaches for implementation of the goals of the Call to Action;
  • Identify and highlight opportunities to hold annual meetings perhaps piggy-backed with existing conferences;
  • conduct periodic teleconferences;
  • develop metrics to measure progress.  

The NBRC will be made up of approximately 15 experts in breastfeeding and human lactation research. The FBWG seeks nominations for professionals from varied backgrounds and work settings with demonstrated expertise in one or more relevant areas listed below.

  • Lactation management
  • Composition of breast milk
  • Mammary gland physiology
  • Human milk banking
  • Maternal and child nutrition
  • Social determinants
  • Proximal determiants of feeding behavior
  • Policy research
  • Program evaluation research
  • Health effects on women
  • Health effects on children
  • Contaminants in breast milk
  • Economics of breastfeeding
Nominations may be submitted by organizations or individuals. Note, however, that experts will participate in this group as individuals, and in their capacity as members of this group, individuals will not officially or implicitly represent any organization with which they are affiliated. Individuals may submit nominations on their own behalf or on behalf of another individual.


Group members must be able to attend one face-to-face meeting per year to deliberate on reports on evidence and related programmatic activities, and develop recommendations. Meetings will usually be held in Washington DC/Bethesda, MD area and last for 1.5 days each.

Members will be reimbursed for travel expenses. Between face-to-face meetings, members will also participate in teleconference and exchange e-mail as needed.

Terms of Membership:

Following establishment of the NBRC and selection of initial group members, nominations for future members to replace outgoing members will be accepted on a continuous basis. Applications will be active for three years from the date of submission. Membership will be in 3 year terms that rotate within the group. [NB: Initial establishment of this rotation pattern will require the length of membership terms within the first 4 years of the Group to vary - one third of members will rotate off after the second year, one third after the third, and one third after the fourth.]


Federal employees and private citizens with clear financial, professional, or organizational conflicts of interest are not eligible for consideration.

Submit nominations to:

Ursuline Singleton,
HHS Office on Women's Health
Phone: 202-260-0217; Email:
[email protected]

  • Letter of Interest indicating of why the individual is interested in, and would be a good fit for, the National Breastfeeding Research Consortium
  • Nominee's current curriculum vitae.
The nomination deadline is March 29, 2013.

FBWG members will review nominations and conduct phone interviews with a subset of nominees. These nominees will be asked to provide information on financial holdings, consultancies, corporate affiliations, and research grants/contracts, to permit assessment of real or perceived conflicts of interest. All nominees will be notified of the final selections via email upon conclusion of the in-depth review.

For questions about the NBRC and the nomination process, please contact (via email):

Tonse Raju, [email protected]

Ursuline Singleton, [email protected]

Daneil Raiten, [email protected]


1. Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/breastfeeding/calltoactiontosupportbreastfeeding.pdf