What is PIOMI?

PIOMI is a 5-minute oral motor intervention founded by Dr. Brenda Lessen Knoll, that provides assisted movement to activate muscle contraction and provides movement resistance to build strength in premature infants.

PIOMI Mission Statement

Using PIOMI, Dr. Knoll seeks to globally educate NICU staff and parents in oral motor therapy to improve premature infant oral feedings and reduce hospital stays.

Brenda Lessen Knoll



Brenda S. Lessen Knoll received her B.S.N. at Illinois Wesleyan in 1989. In 1995 she earned her M.S. as a maternal-child community nurse specialist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she earned her Ph.D. in neonatal science in 2008.


In addition to Illinois Wesleyan, Dr. Lessen Knoll has taught at the Methodist College of Nursing in Peoria, Richland Community College in Decatur and Mennonite College of Nursing in Normal. As a registered professional nurse, she has worked in the neonatal intensive care unit at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL and in Obstetrics, Pediatrics, and Home Health at Advocate BroBenn Regional Medical Center in Normal. Her administrative positions include Nursing Care Management and Clinical Education Coordinator at Proctor Hospital in Peoria. Dr. Knoll continues to provide in-person and off-site training for PIOMI at healthcare agencies internationally.

Honors & Memberships

Dr. Lessen Knoll is a member of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Academy of Neonatal Nurses, the Association of Women’s Health Obstetrical and Neonatal Nursing, and Sigma Theta Tau International. In 2012 Dr. Knoll received the Illinois Board of Higher Education Nurse Educator Fellowship Award. She serves as the Chair of the OSF Community Advisory Board, and on the OSF Quality Safety & Service Council at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, and is a founding member of Women Empowered at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation.

• PIOMI in the News •

"Thank you again for your patience with us and for finally bringing your fantastic program to LVHN Reilly Children’s Hospital!  Everyone I talked to was impressed with your research and excited about starting PIOMI."

Wendy Kowalski, MD

Medical Director NICU

Lehigh Valley - Reilly Children's Hospital

  • LinkedIn - White Circle
  • Facebook - White Circle

© 2020 by Brenda Lessen Knoll