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Dr. Richard Spanjer of Dalton (right) receives the 2013 Breastfeeding Friendly Physician of the Year Award from Arlene Toole of the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition and the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of PediatricsDalton (GA) - On March 26, 2013, the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition (GBC) honored pediatrician, Richard Spanjer, MD, at the GBC Annual Meeting Dinner with the 2013 Breastfeeding Friendly Physician of the Year Award.

The Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition and the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics present this physician award each year to a doctor who supports breastfeeding by educating moms and engaging in research and legislation related to lactation and who has community and peer support programs as well as a baby-friendly office.

Dr. Richard Spanjer has done all the above while serving the families of Dalton and the surrounding area for over 35 years. According to his many admiring patient families, Dr Spanjer is known for his kindness and consideration and his unflagging belief in the benefits of breastfeeding.

"Dr. Spanjer was chosen from over 30 other nominees for this honor," said Arlene Toole of the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition and the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Spanjer was born in 1943 in Cedartown, Georgia. He grew up there and attended the University of Colorado for his undergraduate degree. He attended medical school at Emory University in Atlanta. His internship and residency were at Grady Memorial Hospital and Henrietta Egleston Children's Hospital, both in Atlanta. In 1971 while at Grady, he met and married his wife, Patty, a pediatric nurse. They have five children - the firstborn came while they worked at the Navajo Indian Reservation in the mid 70s, and the other four were born after the family moved to Dalton in 1976. There, Dr. Spanjer joined the practice of Pediatrics of Dalton. Dr. Spanjer remains a partner of that practice and an active pediatrician to this day.

The Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition aims to make breastfeeding the cultural and social norm throughout Georgia. Their mission is to improve and maintain the health of Georgia’s families by protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding.

Karen Rutledge of the North Georgia Health District Women, Infants and Children (WIC) said, "We are very excited to help sponsor the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition meeting here in Dalton in conjunction with the Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition Annual Conference."

The annual breastfeeding conference is tomorrow, Wednesday, March 27, featuring Catherine Watson Genna, BS, IBCLC. Genna will present Breastfeeding Techniques for Professionals and Advocates. The all-day conference will begin at 8 AM at the Northwest Georgia Trade Center. For more information, please log onto


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