Remembering Lois D.W. Arnold, PhD, MPH, ALC

14481851_10154423867447211_4406283603342166041_oMost of you have already learned of Lois D. W. Arnold’s, PhD, MPH, ALC passing. While our hearts are heavy, we find comfort in the memories we shared with her. Lois’s friends, acquaintances and colleagues have shared these words in her memory.

You can read Dr. Arnold’s professional obituary written by Dr. Karin Cadwell here.

I roomed with Lois during a meeting and though I didn’t know her well we had lots of laughs and good exchange of ideas as we were both so passionate about helping mothers and babies with breastfeeding.

Judith Bole Roepke

I have been in the breastfeeding community since 1973. By then Lois Arnold was already a household name. Our paths crossed at breastfeeding conferences. I knew who she was but I doubt she knew who I was. When I attended a session when she was in the audience I felt I had chosen my session wisely. When I was on the board for the San Jose Mothers’ Milk Bank of Santa Clara County in San Jose California in the early 2000’s we understood how much the work she was doing influenced how we could function.  As a charter member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), our standards of processing donated breast milk even then was basis of operation for milk banking organizations. Because of that, even in the days of AIDS and worry about the safety of human milk, we were able to survive as an organization and we were trusted to provide safe milk for the fragile infants we serviced.  When I worked in the mother baby unit and NICU in the mid 2000’s in a hospital in Austin Texas, there was no question of safety of the milk the babies were getting. So many of those fragile infants that thrived to adulthood through the years may not know Lois Arnold’s name, but she likely has a star in her crown for each of them.

Beverly Morgan, IBCLC FILCA

I first came into the lactation world in the early 1980’s, when Lois had already been at work in milk banking for many years. I was in awe of her knowledge and skill.

Lois and I shared a Woods Hole research bond; she had worked at the Marine Biological Lab there for many years as a bench scientist, studying the nervous system of squid and other sea creatures (my husband worked at the neighboring Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for many years). She often joked that it was wonderful work, dissecting and studying the creatures in the morning, and then cooking them up for lunch! She was incredibly knowledgeable about zoology, and shared many vivid tales, most memorably one about the sex lives of octopus that has scared more than one early adolescent into abstinence.

When I first joined the Healthy Children faculty, I was invited to share a hotel room with Karin Cadwell and Lois Arnold in San Diego during the La Leche League Physician’s conference. It was my first pajama party with such luminaries of lactation. It was love at first site for me with both women. Lois and I lunched together during the conference. After scanning the menu, she tossed it down and declared that she was ordering two desserts, announcing they sounded too good to miss.  Her bravado cinched the deal: I was her fan for life.

Lois was unabashedly Lois. Independent in every sense of the word, she always told it the way she saw it; perspicacity could have been her middle name. A few times I felt the need to interpret her behavior for those not familiar with New England Yankee spirit she embodied: thrifty, a bit gruff, committed to justice for the most vulnerable among us, possessed of a wonderful sense of humor, and an enormous heart that she chose not to wear on her sleeve. She was a treasure, one I’m so honored to have known.

We will all miss Lois dreadfully. May we always remember the brilliance of her mind, the warmth of her heart, and the twinkle in her brilliant eyes!

Cindy Turner-Maffei, MA, ALC, IBCLC

I had the honor of having Dr. Arnold as an instructor for a class I attended at Union Institute and University. I took Human Milk for the Preterm Infant. It was not an easy class by any means but it was one of the classes where I learned the most. Lois pushed me to be a better writer. She pushed me harder because she believed that I could do better. And I came out of that class better for it.

I had many conversations with Lois in email about the non-profit that I am involved with in my hometown. Lois was intrigued by how we operate as we an informal/formal milk bank. While our organization does not pasteurize the donor milk that we get, we do require that our donor moms have lab testing done. Lois was very curious about our protocols and I was happy to share wither more about the organization that I hold very near and dear to my heart.

I enjoyed the class that I had with Lois and my heart breaks for her family as they grieve her passing. She was a great instructor and I am glad that I took her class!

May you rest in peace Lois! Sending much love and prayers to your family.

Brooke Simmons

I met Lois when I took the class for my CLC. Since the class was held in CT, and we both were coming from the Cape, we carpooled. Having no background in maternal health or biology, really no experience except the practical value of breastfeeding both my children, I was eager to learn but also very intimidated by Lois’ towering intelligence. I spent the 3 hour ride asking ignorant questions (probably testing her patience).

Over the next week, as I sat in class, or shared a meal with Lois I also had the good fortune to discover her sense of humor and her generous, true desire to teach.

Julie Allen Hamilton

I have known Lois Arnold since 1992. I was part of the original WellStart team from Illinois. In 1993 I started the dedicated Lactation program at my Hospital. HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield Illinois.

Our Hospital became the 12th hospital in the nation to become Baby Friendly Certified in 1998. We were the first in Illinois.

Lois Arnold used to come to our facility to teach the CLC course. She was knowledgeable, kind, and well received by all the participants over the many years she taught at our hospital.

We will miss her smiles, exciting stories and her love of mothers and their babies.

Janet Tolley RNC-OB, BAN, IBCLC

My memory of Lois comes from her introduction story…..after having her daughter, Katy, Lois found herself having “enough milk to feed an army!” Her sister Hannah, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, suggested that she look for a milk bank and Lois found Hawaii Mother’s Milk. At first a donor, she began to drive around Oahu as a volunteer milk collector, Katy on one hip, cooler on the other. The milk bank community provided friendship and an opportunity to blossom that her academic career in zoology never did. She wrote the newsletter, processed milk and took on more and more of the management. Of course her superb intellect became engaged and she enrolled in the MPH program at the University of Hawaii writing every possible paper and doing every possible project on breastfeeding and the wonders of human milk.

Lois sat and passed the first IBCLC exam in 1985 in Georgetown and recertified multiple times. Moving closer to her childhood home, family and friends in the late 1980’s, Lois organized the US and Canadian milk banks (those that hadn’t shut down in the AIDS scare) into the Human Milk Banking Association of North America and became its first volunteer executive director. She tirelessly wrote articles, researched and advocated on behalf of milk banking including convening meetings with the FDA  and OSHA to set the standards for milk banks that have endured until today.

In the 1990s, Lois joined the Healthy Children faculty  and set a goal of teaching in 50 states. One of my favorite memories was teaching with her in Montana one week and driving across Wyoming to teaching in Nebraska the next week. We spent time in Yellowstone where her knowledge of geology, flora and fauna was impressive. She, of course, has planned our trip to the minute to maximize the pleasure of exploring our great country. Lois loved to travel and our trips together to China, Russia, Romania, Cuba, Latvia, Sweden, the UK, Denmark, Egypt and more were always made more fabulous by her thoughtful pre-travel work and post-travel scrapbooks. The Chinese Minister of Health deemed her “The Mother of Milk Banking” and that’s a good description.

Lois’s PhD dissertation on policy related to human milk, asked the question, “where does human milk and milk banking belong in the realm of governmental policy?” She later re-wrote and added to her thesis for the book, Human Milk in the NICU.

As a colleague, we remember Lois as a tireless worker, an intellect of the highest caliber, a teammate. As a teacher, Lois was dedicated to presenting the highest level of evidence and content integrity. As a friend, her consideration and loyalty will always be remembered.

Karin Cadwell, PhD, RN, FAAN, IBCLC, ANLC

I was still pretty new [as a member of the Healthy Children faculty] and trying to figure out all the paperwork- seemed overwhelming at first. Not wanting to admit I was confused I finally asked her a simple question, I think about how she seemed to have a great system of doing daily paperwork. Lois was tickled that the newbie was so interested in her “system”. At dinner we talked about and wrote down a day by day schedule for paperwork, which was really helpful and we had a great “bonding moment”- many more followed.  I had great respect for her accomplishments, I was in the presence of the Mother of modern human milk banking, now I was in the presence of a friend.

Donna Walls, RN, BSN, ICCE, IBCLC, ANLC

Lois was my favorite and most respected professor at UIU. We’d email each other with small talk when I was her student. She told me of her daughter and how she was married to a Navy pilot. I myself was Air Force so we shared that military connection. I was living in Guam at the time and she had lived in Hawaii; both tropical islands surrounded by beautiful seas. Lois pushed me to write the best darn papers I possibly could and to not give anything less than my best! Lois taught me that I was much more capable than I gave myself credit for. She was tough & I loved it!! Lois will be greatly missed. Her legacy will carry on in the world of lactation and within the hearts of so many.

Kirsten Roberts, CLC

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