Physician Leadership Award


There are two recipients for the 2011 Physician Leadership Award. Dr. Tony Hampton and Dr. Nathan Knutson came to Pensacola in 2009 to work as neonatologists at Sacred Heart Hospital. They have had a profound influence on the practice and frequency of breastmilk usage in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Sacred Heart since that time. There is a much greater emphasis now on the importance of mothers providing breastmilk for their babies for the duration of their hospital stay. The rate of breastfeeding in the NICU has increased by 70% in the past two years.

Tony Hampton, MD

Dr. Curtis Tony Ray Hampton comes to us from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (WFUBMC) where he completed his residency and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship. Dr. Hampton and his wife, Tonya have four children currently and are in the process of adopting a special needs boy from China. The Hampton children are Hannah, Hallie, Sophie and Noah.

Dr. Hampton says “I believe my support of breastfeeding came from working with my attendings at WFUBMC, especially Dr. Dillard, Dr. Cherrie Heller (EBM decrease ROP risk) and Dr. Paula Sisk (50% EBM of feeds decreases NEC risk and lots of other articles dealing with barriers to breastfeeding). Once you see the data on just how important breastmilk is for our premature infants–you cannot but help become an advocate for breastfeeding because you are an advocate for the baby.

The best way I find to influence other physicians is to lead by example. I always discuss breastmilk at every prenatal consult I do and usually at the first meeting I have with parents because it is so important.  Dr. Knutson [and I] are excited about winning this award and continuing to advocate breastmilk for our patients.

Nathan Knutson, MD

Dr. Nathan Knutson is also a Neonatologist at Sacred Heart Hospital. Dr. Knutson came to Pensacola from the University of Florida and Shands Hospital where he completed his residency and fellowship. He is originally from the Atlanta area where his father practiced Pediatrics for 20 years. His parents are now in medical missions.

Dr. Knutson is married to Laura, who also is a doctor. Laura was in Pediatric residency at UF and Sacred Heart and is now a stay at home mother to three children: Kaden, Asa, and Ari, who were each breastfed for over a year. While Laura was a resident, Nate would bring the boys to her when she was on call, which allowed her to continue to exclusively breastfeed. Laura and Nate are involved in a local church plant with several young families and many children. The vast majority of these children have been breastfed, and Dr. Knutson has seen that the bond developed by breastfeeding leads to strong families. 
During his fellowship he was convinced of the overwhelming benefits of breastmilk, because of the patients they saw and guest lecturers who spoke about the benefits. One of his attending physicians, Dr. Sandra Sullivan, worked on the study that showed an improvement in the rate of NEC. He views breastmilk as potentially life saving and is known for convincing mothers of preterm infants to pump and provide breastmilk to their babies. He will often go in the room of a mother who has said she will not pump and when he leaves, the mother calls to request a pump.

2012 – Pam Klein, MD, FAAP

Dr. Pamela M. Klein is a graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. She completed her residency at the University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital in Columbia, SC. She is Board Certified and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has been a Pediatrician in Pensacola since 1991. She received the Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies Breastfeeding Task Force Award for Pensacola in 1995 and 2000 and has served as both the Medical Director and a Board Member of the Emerald Coast Alliance for Breastfeeding Support. She is also a member of the Child Protection Team for Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Dr. Klein is currently President of Pensacola Pediatrics, P.A. Dr. Klein and her husband, Romesh Canekeratne, have three children, Mark, Simone, and Angeli. Dr. Klein created a daycare room in the Pensacola Pediatrics practice for staff children when she needed to be able to feed her first child. That room is still in use today for staff children.

Dr. Klein served on the initial Steering Committee for ECABS and as Medical Director from 2009-2011. She has been a strong voice advocating Baby-Friendly principles in the development of protocols for newborn care, such as the hypoglycemic protocol used at SHH. This required Dr. Klein to take a stance that was unpopular with many of her colleagues at the time. She has also been involved in training new pediatricians and has influenced their understanding of breastfeeding support.

2013 – Joseph Peterson, MD, FACOG

Dr. Joseph Peterson is a graduate of Loma Linda University in California. He completed his Obstetrics residency at Florida State University Residency Program here in Pensacola in 2008 and has served as full-time faculty FSU OB/Gyn Residency program since that time. He is Board Certified and a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics/Gynecology. Dr. Peterson and his wife, Erika, have three boys, Braeden, Everett, and Davis.

Dr. Peterson served as the ECABS Medical Director beginning in 2012. He suggests his emphasis on breastfeeding stems from knowing that he and siblings were breastfed, his children were breastfed and his throughout his wife’s pregnancies her obstetricians were proponents of breastfeeding. He has been mentored by faculty who believe it’s best. He says that in “striving to practice evidence-based medicine and do what is best for patients, this is just a natural consequence of that.”

“He has been an integral part of the Centering Pregnancy groups at the Seton Center and has taken the responsibility to personally teach the breastfeeding component to his patient groups. He is charge of 14 residents for whom he can help set policy (skin to skin, counseling regarding breastfeeding) as well as model desired behavior for the new residents.

“Specifically, he is involved in the baby-friendly initiative to encourage early skin-to-skin contact, couplet care and breast feeding which can benefit even those mothers and infants who choose not to breastfeed.”

2014 – Laura Barber, MD

Dr. Laura Barber is originally from Birmingham and she earned her medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) College of Medicine in Charleston where she was inducted into the MUSC Gold Humanism Honor Society. Following medical school, she completed her Residency training at the Florida State University Pediatric Residency Program in Pensacola where she was named Outstanding First-Year Resident. She has been involved in several community volunteer activities, including a medical missions trip to Venezuela, a project to prevent obesity in Charleston, South Carolina, and organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She is also a member of the Escambia County Medical Association. Dr. Barber is married and has one son, Kai, who is 4 years old. She is due to deliver their second child in February 2015.

Dr. Barber models good practice by consulting with LCs and encouraging her pts’ moms to breastfeed. She encourages moms to breastfeeding and supports the role of Lactation Consultants in the community. She has done some research in the area of tongue and lip ties and does tongue-tie frenotomies in her practice. Dr. Barber has taught several other physicians how to do this procedure. She says she supports breastfeeding because “it seemed like the right thing to do.” And she feels her main role with breastfeeding is to encourage, educate, and assist breastfeeding moms.

“I observed Dr. Barber’s support of breastfeeding when she was a resident at SHH. She daily consulted with the LCs and encouraged her patients to BF. When she began practicing in her office she daily encouraged her patients to breastfeed and strongly encouraged follow with lactation after delivery. She consulted with LCs for advice and voiced on many occasions the importance of LCs in the community. Patients from her practice have shared her passion and importance of breastfeeding with me when I was practicing.”

2015 – Amy Foland, MD, FAAP

Dr. Amy Foland is a former Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. She is Board Certified in Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Foland completed her residency training at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She attended medical school in the British West Indies at American University of the Caribbean. She was recently elected as the alternate regional representative to the Florida Pediatric Society.

“Dr Foland has been instrumental in getting physicians to support breastfeeding by requiring follow-up weight checks with lactation consultants. These follow up appointments included not only weight checks but evaluation of efficient breastfeeding. If there were any problems with mom or baby, this information was reported to the baby’s physician or on-call doctor. Many times the obstetrician was contacted for problems with the mom. This practice spilled over to the obstetricians recommending follow-up by IBCLCs as well. The hospital nurses also began recommending follow-ups. Dr. Foland rallied support for the importance of follow-up to the physicians in her practice as well as other specialists and healthcare providers. Dr. Foland is known in the community for her support of breastfeeding. She has been known to stay after hours and during her lunch time to assist a mother.”

2016 – Jason F. Straub, MD, FAAP

Dr. Jason Straub is Board Certified in Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Straub moved to Pensacola in 2011 to complete his pediatric residency training at Sacred Heart Hospital. He is originally from Little Rock, AR.

Dr. Straub has promoted breastfeeding to his patients and is an advocate of breastfeeding follow up support. These follow up appointments included not only weight checks but evaluation of efficient breastfeeding. If there were any problems with mom or baby, this information was reported to the baby’s physician or on-call doctor. Many times the obstetrician was contacted for problems with the mom. Since joining the pediatric practice he continued to encourage breastfeeding to families. He also teaches Newborn Nursery classes at SHH. As a member and Medical Director for ECAB, he has provided direction and creative ideas for supporting breastfeeding in our community.

Dr. Straub is married to Suzanne and they have three children: Carlin, Bailey and Alexander.

Dr. Straub says, “I became interested in supporting breastfeeding during residency as I learned more about the importance and benefits of breastfeeding. Suzanne’s years of experience in the newborn nursery also was a large influence and she has taught me more than any other source. Finally our experience with breastfeeding our son Alexander has also contributed to my recognition of the importance of breastfeeding. I always discuss breastfeeding with my new mothers from the first time we meet and encourage breastfeeding as much as I can.”

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