Director of Research
Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University
Rebecka Lundgren, MPH, PhD, has over thirty years of experience in implementation science with particular interest in social norms and gender-based violence, the social determinants of adolescent contraceptive use, and systematic approaches to the adaptation and scale up of tested innovations. Rebecka leads Passages, a USAID-funded project designed to bridge the gap between science and effective policy and practice through research, technical assistance and catalytic support for scalable normative interventions and global leadership. An applied anthropologist, she received her doctorate from the University of Maryland and has an MPH from UCLA’s School of Public Health.
Rebecka’s recent research involves formative inquiry, intervention design and piloting, and monitoring and evaluation of scale up. As the Principal Investigator of GREAT (Gender Roles, Equality and Transformation), a six-year project to facilitate the formation of gender equitable norms among 10-18 year olds in Northern Uganda, she applied ethnographic methods to develop and test scalable interventions to establish social norms that support family planning use and reduce gender-based violence. Her research produced evidence on the effectiveness of an intervention to increase gender equality, reduce violence and improve contraceptive use among 10-18 year olds, while also illuminating gender socialization processes through a three-year qualitative cohort study using ethnographic and life history methods. Building on this work, she supported the design of a violence prevention program for new fathers (REAL Fathers) and assessed its short and longer term effects. Each of these initiatives has been documented in “how-to-guides”, documentation, peer review publications and replicated beyond the initial settings.
Through a series of implementation research projects with partners in Uganda, Nepal, India, Rwanda and DRC, Rebecka has developed cognitively and developmentally appropriate evaluation and assessment approaches for early adolescents. On the programmatic side, her research has established the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of gender transformative approaches for this age group and illuminated gender socialization processes. The results of evaluations in Uganda and Nepal revealed the effectiveness of lighter touch gender-transformative interventions, as well as the additive benefit of working with families and communities as well as the youth themselves.