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5 Things About Me: Social Demographer Wendy Baldwin

AAAS Member Wendy Baldwin always thought it was her "life's work" to advance reproductive health and family planning. (Photo: Mattox Photography)

Wendy Baldwin
President, Population Reference Bureau
Washington, D.C.

Background: As president of the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) in Washington, D.C., we get data to decision makers to inform, empower, and advance population issues in the United States and around the world -- actions that are critical to the support of strong, effective policies and programs to advance reproductive health and the well-being of populations. How did I get here? I am a social demographer and spent 30 years at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The last nine were as deputy director for extramural research. I then went back to my alma mater, the University of Kentucky, to help lead their research endeavors, motivated by the impact they can have on the whole state, which faces many social, economic, and health challenges. But, my heart was in population issues and so I went to the Population Council in New York to lead the poverty, gender, and youth program to develop programs and policies in the developing world. And now back to D.C. and to new challenges! 

Question 1: Why did you become a researcher/engineer/scientist?
Answer: Even as an undergraduate, I felt that if women could not control their fertility then their path to education, employment, civic engagement, health were all compromised. And I just felt it was my "life's work" to advance reproductive health and family planning. 

Question 2: What are you most proud of in your work?
Answer: When I was at the NIH, I helped to craft the policies on sharing data and on the inclusion of women and minorities in research, both key issues for how research is done to the benefit of all

Question 3: Share a lighthearted story about yourself.
Answer: Friends recall when my husband and I were debating whether to have children, and then we had three!  Admittedly two are twins, and my "claim to fame" is that they weighed 8 pounds 3 ounces and 8 pounds 14 ounces.

Question 4: What's playing on your iPod/music player?
Answer: Cesaria Evora, always! One does not have to speak Portuguese to embrace the passion in her songs.

Question 5: Share a Web link/video/blog etc. that you found that really excites you and tell us why.
answer: Well, my own PRB twitter link -- @WendyPRB because we are using it to reach more people with cool tools to make population information accessible.

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AAAS Member Wendy Baldwin always thought it was her "life's work" to advance reproductive health and family planning. (Photo: Mattox Photography)
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