Dr. Anita Esquerra-Zwiers

Associate Professor of Nursing
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Anita started at Hope College in 2010 as a practicum instructor for Obstetrics Nursing. In 2015, she was teaching Nursing Skills, Family Nursing and Nursing Internship. She returned to Hope in 2017 after completing her Ph.D. She is currently teaching nursing leadership courses such as:

  • Management and Transitions
  • Internship
  • Research Practicum

AREAS OF Expertise

Anita's clinical area of expertise is obstetrics and neonatal nursing. Her dissertation research is titled “Donor Human Milk: Maternal Experiences and Impact on Preterm Feeding Outcomes.” Her interest in this topic started after donating her extra human milk to a milk bank. During her dissertation she had the opportunity to interview mothers of preterm infants and analyze feeding outcome data before and after the implementation of a donor human milk feeding program. She is interested in researching the reasons behind why mothers are unable to meet their infant's nutritional needs and why they choose alternative feeding options (donor milk, formula, etc.).


  • Ph.D., nursing science, Rush University, 2017
  • M.S., nursing education, University of Phoenix, 2007
  • BSN, nursing science, Calvin College, 1999


Principal Investigators:

  • Dr. Emilie Dykstra Goris
  • Dr. Anita Esquerra-Zwiers

Mother’s Milk for Michigan Infants (MMMI) is a group of nurse researchers at Hope College interested in learning more about what influences a mother’s ability to make enough milk for her baby. Previous studies indicate that choosing to breastfeed one's baby is influenced by support systems, knowledge about breastfeeding, and the desire to breastfeed. Researchers are learning more about how a woman's body and medical conditions may also influence how long she breastfeeds. MMMI enrolled 100 mothers who are 30–40 weeks pregnant with one baby, plan to breastfeed, are 21 years or older and live in West Michigan for this project. We are currently collecting the last bit of data and analyzing milk and saliva samples. Thank you to all the mothers who willingly participated in this study.


  • Anonymous Foundation Support, “Perceived Insufficient Milk Supply: Biological markers,” Co-Primary Investigator, 2018
  • International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation – Family Larsson Rosenquist Foundation Trainee Expansion Program, “Human Milk Biomarkers for Perceived Insufficient Milk Supply,” Primary Investigator, 2018
  • Medela Nursing Scholar Award, Medela, Inc., 2016
  • National Association of Hispanic Nurses – Michigan Chapter Student Scholarship, 2015

Published Work

View additional publications at ResearchGate.

Outside the College

Anita is very passionate about missions (local and global) and diversity and inclusion. Her family is extremely important to her and a majority of her free time is spent with her family. If she had more time in her life, she would cook, bake, read, sew and run more.

Profile photo of Dr. Anita Esquerra-Zwiers
Dr. Anita Esquerra-Zwiers

Phone Number616.395.7424

A. Paul Schaap Science Center 1150 35 East 12th Street Holland, MI 49423
A map showing the location for Dr. Anita Esquerra-Zwiers A. Paul Schaap Science Center 1150 35 East 12th Street Holland MI 49423