Ruth A. Lawrence Investigator Award for Research
in Human Milk Science


Bestowed in honor of Dr. Ruth Lawrence's contribution to the field of breastfeeding medicine, the annual award is presented in Dr. Lawrence's name to recognize a medical fellow or postdoctoral scholar for their research in the science of human milk.

The International Conference on Human Milk Science and Innovation (ICHMSI) invites potential applicants to submit an entry for award consideration. The award winner will be notified on December 5, 2023. The award winner will receive $10,000 plus travel expenses, and an invitation to present his or her research at the next ICHMSI conference in February 2024.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The applicant must be a trainee (student, post-graduate trainee/resident/fellow) or physician/academic researcher within the first five years after completion of postgraduate training.
  • The research must be original and related to, but not limited to,
    1. Biologic activities of human milk or its components,
    2. Applications of human milk or its derivatives to clinical medicine and/or
    3. The impact of environment (broadly speaking) on breast milk production, lactation or breast milk content. Laboratory studies involving non-human material or model systems will not be considered.
  • The research must have been published or accepted for publication in a journal indexed in Medline or EMBASE no more than 12 months prior to the submission date.
  • Award submissions are currently closed.

Award Selection

Award submissions for 2023 are currently closed.

2022 Winner of the Award is Alecia-Jane Twigger View Announcement

2019 Winner of the Award is Nurul Husna Mohd Shukri

2018 Winner of the Award is Steven D. Townsend View Announcement

2017 Winner of the Award is Adam Lewandowski View Announcement

About Ruth A. Lawrence, MD

Dr. Ruth Lawrence received her MD from the University of Rochester School of Medicine at a time when women students were few and far between. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at Yale New Haven Hospital, then returned to Rochester where her work as the head of Nursery Services resulted in the development of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in 1960, and the first baby in the world to be placed on a ventilator. This launched the use of ventilators in newborns and pediatric patients. She also developed the Poison Control Center concept and has served as the Medical Director of the Finger Lakes Regional Poison Center for over 50 years. In addition to these appointments, she has been a distinguished Professor of Neonatology, Obstetrics, and Gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and School of Medicine, the Medical Director of the Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Study Center and held the Northumberland Trust Chair in Pediatrics for many years.

As more low birth weight infants survived thanks to respiratory support, the impact on the developing brain became a primary concern. Dr. Lawrence's research has focused on the investigation of the dynamic relationship between human milk and the developing brain, as well as other interests related to clinical toxicology, breastfeeding, and human lactation. She has dedicated her career in utilizing emerging research on breastfeeding and human lactation to facilitate a greater understanding of the topic for both healthcare professionals and the public. Dr. Lawrence is widely published in her field and is the author of the highly influential book, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, (now in its 8th edition) which has served as a definitive clinical guide for breastfeeding, breastfeeding-related issues, and the care of lactating women since the publication of the first edition in 1979. She is a founder of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) and founder and first editor-in-chief of the ABM official journal, Breastfeeding Medicine.