Research Director at Institute for Reproductive Health receives prestigious USAID award
OCTOBER 4, 2015 – Rebecka Lundgren, PhD, director of research at GUMC’s Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH), received the Marjorie C. Horn Operations Research Award in September.
The award, which recognizes Lundgren’s “unrelenting dedication and exemplary service in the areas of operations research, scale up and landmark scientific inquiry in the areas of fertility awareness and normative change in family planning populations,” was given by the Research, Technology and Utilization (RTU) Division of the Office of Population and Reproductive Health, Bureau for Global Health at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“It was a big surprise and I was excited and flattered. Receiving an award from your peers and mentors is very meaningful,” said Lundgren.
In July, USAID awarded a $30 million grant to the Institute for Reproductive Health for the Passages Project. Passages aims to improve family planning use and sexual and reproductive health among youth, especially very young adolescents, first time parents, and newly married youth. Lundgren is the principal investigator and director of the Passages project.
“Rebecka has been a star within our population and reproductive health research community for many years,” said Mihira Karra, PhD, USAID RTU Division Chief. “Apart from her myriad contributions to the advancement of family planning and fertility awareness methods of contraception in the last 15 years, she is at the forefront of critical research on changing norms among young people — 10-24 year olds — regarding gender, violence and reproductive health.”
Lundgren’s early experience in the field inspired her to dedicate her work to developing family planning solutions.
“As an anthropology student dong field work in Latin America, I lived in several rural indigenous communities. The stories of the women I met touched me deeply,” she said. “They shared with me the tragic consequences of their inability to plan and space their pregnancies and take care of their infants. At a young age, I learned firsthand of the strength of spirit these women brought to the challenges they faced in their lives and I resolved to gain the skills I needed to empower women by broadening their choices.”
Lundgren emphasized the vital work of faculty and staff at Georgetown and beyond.
“I’d like to thank my colleagues at Georgetown and especially our partners on the ground. Without these partnerships, we would not be able to generate the knowledge we need to help programs improve the health of families around the world,” she said.
Leigh Ann Renzulli