2020 40 Under 40 Honoree: Kelley Baumgartel
“Nurses are at the table now."
Kelley Baumgartel is an assistant professor at Duquesne University and the founder of and principal investigator at the Human Milk Science Institute and Biobank.
She’s also a nurse, which surprises those who still see nurses as mere assistants in the world of medicine.
“Nurses are at the table now,” Baumgartel says. “We’re taking our clinical experiences and bringing new questions to the table. We’re studying the lived, messy experience.”
Baumgartel’s own research focuses on breast milk variability and whether those variables contribute to neonatal outcomes. It’s a question she developed while working as a bedside nurse in pediatric and neonatal intensive care units.
The Biobank, which she founded in 2019, is the county’s first nonprofit milk bank that provides researchers with the breast milk samples they need to conduct research and advance human milk science. It’s affiliated with the Mid-Atlantic Mother’s Milk Bank, which offers pasteurized donor milk for medically vulnerable babies. Baumgartel sits on the board.
“It’s a really beautiful symbiosis between the two,” she says.