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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Eye on population

Researcher wins kudos for family planning study

Growing up, Jacqueline E. Darroch thought her career choices as a woman would be secretary, teacher or nurse. She couldn't even imagine becoming the country's pre-eminent researcher in social demography.

Jacqueline Darroch
Jacqueline E. Darroch
But that's exactly what the member of Queen Anne Lutheran Church, Seattle, became. And at its 2009 meeting in October, the Society of Family Planning presented her with a lifetime achievement award.

Darroch also made a presentation at the meeting, held in Los Angeles. Her topic was "A Century of Contraceptive Use in America: Lessons from the Past, Challenges of the Future."

Darroch moved toward research as a Fulbright Scholar studying in Germany. After receiving her doctorate, she worked for the Population Council, which focuses on improving reproductive health and achieving a sustainable balance between people and resources.

Her longest tenure was with the Guttmacher Institute, where she served from 1978 to 2004, and returned as a senior fellow after two years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Though her work may be controversial in some circles, Darroch said she has received nothing but support from the Lutheran church at large and through several ELCA pastors.

"It's clear to me that what I do Monday morning is a continuation of what I do on Sunday," she said. "I feel God cares about me and my vocation. And my faith has made it easier to see other perspectives and not think of there simply being good guys and bad guys. Rather, we're all caring about communities and people."


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