Colorado Women's Hall of Fame

Marianne Egeland Neifert, MD, MTS

Inductee Name

Marianne Egeland Neifert, MD, MTS

Date of Birth

1948

Year Inducted

2020

Category

Medicine / Healthcare

Impact

Denver

Marianne Egeland Neifert, MD, MTS

Marianne Egeland Neifert, MD, MTS–Colorado’s earliest physician breastfeeding champion– has made enduring contributions to maternal-child health in Colorado and nationwide by tirelessly providing breastfeeding education to diverse health professionals, implementing model lactation services, helping re-establish breastfeeding as a community norm, and advancing the nascent discipline of breastfeeding medicine.

In 1984, Dr. Neifert co-founded and served as the first Medical Director for the Denver Mothers’ Milk Bank, which today is the largest non-profit human milk bank in North America, serving medically fragile newborns and infants. In 1985, she co-founded the first US model of comprehensive lactation services, incorporating modern lactation technologies in the management of breastfeeding difficulties. This novel Lactation Program, implemented within Women’s Services at Denver’s St. Luke’s Medical Center, became a prototype for optimal in-patient and out-patient breastfeeding services. Dr. Neifert’s role in identifying and legitimizing medical causes of insufficient milk has served to reduce the often debilitating and unfounded guilt that can accompany women’s disappointing inability to meet their breastfeeding goals.

In 1986, Dr. Neifert established Colorado Lactation Journal Club, a recurring educational and networking venue for lactation care providers. In 1990, she co-founded the Colorado Breastfeeding Task Force (now the Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition), and in 1994, she co-founded the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, an international physician organization, which has advanced the field of breastfeeding medicine.

For decades, Dr. Neifert served as a consultant for Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on multiple statewide breastfeeding initiatives. Over 45 years, she has tirelessly educated health professionals throughout Colorado and in all 50 states. Her unstinting efforts have helped to elevate breastfeeding from a woman’s “personal choice” to a public health priority warranting society-wide support.

Also known as Dr. Mom®, Dr. Neifert’s singular example of giving birth to five children between 1968 and 1975, while completing her medical training, made her an inspiring female physician pathfinder and role model prior to the influx of women into medicine. Using her platform as Dr. Mom, Dr. Neifert additionally has shared empowering positive parenting strategies through her five books, hundreds of magazine articles, frequent media appearances, and positive parenting presentations that have helped smooth mothers’ transition to new parenthood.