Sandra Banta-Wright, Ph.D, NNP-BC

  • Assistant Professor, School of Nursing


My research interests align with my interests in neonatology and pediatrics as a neonatal nurse practitioner. My dissertation study, “Mothers’ Experiences Breastfeeding Infants with Phenylketonuria” provided insight into breastfeeding experiences when partial breastfeeding is needed to maintain phenylalanine levels within the desired range for the baby newly diagnosed with phenylketonuria (PKU). Understanding the unique experiences of mothers who desire to continue to breastfeed after their newborn is diagnosed with PKU is truly “a labor of love” as one mother shared, “it would easier if he was formula fed, but he’s not.” My developing research focus continues within breastfeeding while also exploring the experiences of families who have a child/children with an inborn error of metabolism.

Education and training

    • B.S.N., 1980, St. Mary of the Plain College
    • N.P.-C., 1984, University of Arizona
    • M.N., 1989, University of Washington
    • Ph.D., 2012, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Fellowship

    • Post-doctoral fellowship, Biobehavioral Nursing & Health Systems, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 2012-2014
  • Certifications

    • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
    • S.T.A.B.L.E. Instructor
    • Neonatal Resuscitation Program

Memberships and associations:

  • International Family Nursing Association
  • Sigma Theta Tau, Beta Psi Chapter, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Western Institute of Nursing

Areas of interest

  • Breastfeeding, Inborn errors of metabolism, Phenylketonuria, Newborns, Families

Honors and awards

  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award, Sigma Theta Tau International, Beta Psi chapter, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Portland, Oregon, 2013.
  • Dean’s Dissertation Award, School of Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University, 2011
  • Ruth L Kirschstein National Research Service Award: F-31 NR010963, Mothers’ experiences breastfeeding infants with PKU (Dissertation). Oregon Health & Science University, July 2008 – November 2011.
  • Graduate Education Award, Arc of Washington Trust Fund, Seattle, Washington, 2007.
  • Graduate Nursing Scholarship Award, March of Dimes, White Plains, New York, 2007.


Selected publications

  • Banta-Wright, S.A., Houck, G.M., Kodadek, S.M., Steiner, R.D., & Knafl, K.A. (2016). The work of managing phenylketonuria and breastfeeding. Annals of Nursing Research and Practice,1(2):1006.
  • Banta-Wright, S.A., Houck, G.M., Kodadek, S.M., Steiner, R.D., & Knafl, K.A. (2015). Commitment to breastfeeding in the context of phenylketonuria. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 44(6):726-736.
  • Banta-Wright, S.A., Kodadek, S.M., Steiner, R.D., & Houck, G. M. (2015). Challenges to breastfeeding infants with phenylketonuria. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 30(1):219-226.
  • Banta-Wright, S.A., Press, N., Knafl, K.A., Steiner, R.D., & Houck, G. M. (2014). Breastfeeding infants with phenylketonuria in the United States and Canada. Breastfeeding Medicine, 9(4):142-148.
  • Banta-Wright, S.A., Shelton, K.C., Lowe, N.D., Knafl, K.A., & Houck, G.M. (2012). Breastfeeding success among infants with phenylketonuria. Journal of Pediatrics Nursing, 27(4):319-327.
  • Banta-Wright, S.A., Shelton, K.C., & Bennett, M.J. (2008). Disorders of fatty acid oxidation in the era of tandem mass spectrometry in newborn screening. Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews, 8(1):18-29. 
  • Banta-Wright, S.A., & Steiner, R.D. (2005). Tandem mass screening in newborn screening: A primer for neonatal and perinatal nurses. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, 18(1):41-58.
  • Banta-Wright, S.A., & Steiner, R.D. (2003). Not so rare: Inborn errors of metabolism during the neonatal period. Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews, 3(4):143-155.
  • Banta-Wright, S.A. (1997). Minimizing infant exposure to and risks from medications while breastfeeding. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, 11(2):71-84.
  • Banta, S.A. (1985). Transition to extrauterine life. Neonatal Network, 3(6):35-39.