Pitzer Alumna Oversees $30 Million Reproductive & Sexual Health Project

Rebecka Lundgren '81
Rebecka Lundgren ’81

Claremont, Calif. (August 11, 2015)— Rebecka Lundgren ’81 has been named the principal investigator of the Passages Project, a global outreach program at Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) that aims to promote healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies in the developing world. The Pitzer College alumna is the director of research at the IRH, which received a $30 million grant for the project from the US Agency for International Development in July.

Early pregnancy and child marriage curtails educational and vocational opportunities for young women around the world, adversely affecting reproductive health and contributing to an intergenerational cycle of poverty, according to Lundgren.

“Enabling young women and men to live lives free of violence, coerced sex and unintended pregnancy is essential if countries are to realize their development goals,” Lundgren stated in an IRH press release.

The five-year grant for the Passages Project will allow researchers to develop and test ways to foster social norms “that support healthy behaviors, such as the belief that women and men have equal rights and responsibilities in family planning,” according to the IRH.

Lundgren has more than 25 years of experience creating effective reproductive health and behavior change programs. She specializes in expanding family planning choices and engaging men in reproductive health decisions. As an applied anthropologist, Lundgren uses qualitative and ethnographic methods to evaluate fertility awareness and gender transformation programs for very young adolescents.

Rebecka Lundgren majored in anthropology at Pitzer. She holds a master’s degree in public health from UCLA and a PhD in applied anthropology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Through partnership with international and local organizations, the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University strives to expand family planning choices to meet the needs of women and men worldwide; advance gender equality by helping women and men across the lifecycle learn about and take charge of their reproductive health; and involve communities in reproductive health interventions that improve their wellbeing.


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