Giving - Office of Development and Alumni Relations

USF Health lactation room named for first chair of pediatrics

A group of donors united to name the USF Health lactation room in honor of the late Lewis A. Barness MD, founding chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. A dedication ceremony was held to celebrate the naming of the Lewis A. Barness MD Lactation Room in June.

As a researcher, Dr. Barness made a significant impact on the field of infant nutrition and metabolism, using science to advocate the benefits of breast milk for infants.

“Lew Barness was an outstanding clinician, teacher and humanistic physician,” said Dr. Steve Specter, emeritus professor of molecular medicine and lead donor to the Lewis A. Barness MD Lactation Room. “He was a visionary and innovative researcher, who saw the great nutritional value in babies nursing and led the effort to collect the data to prove his hypothesis — a view that is widely recognized today in human nutrition.”

“Anything that promotes breastfeeding as well as provides a safe, clean and quiet space to pump is a privilege to be able to use,” said Marissa Thielen, a mom of two who works in the Office of Clinical Research. “When I find rooms such as this one, I am so grateful. They need to be absolutely everywhere.”

Joe Ford, associate vice president for shared student services at USF Health, noted that the room is frequently in use, illustrating the impact of Dr. Barness’ research. “Even though I never had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Barness, I know that he smiles back at us because this room is a very special space and was much needed here at USF Health.”

Donors, staff and students gathered at a small ceremony to dedicate the Lewis A. Barness MD Lactation Room in the USF Health WELL Student Center.

Ribbon cutting for named lactation room

The son of the late Lewis A. Barness MD cuts the ribbon for the newly dedicated lactation room.


Student mom with breastmilk

A student cheers the availability of a private room for nursing mothers.