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On this page we present one or more items of relevance to our work and our mission. Items presented in previous months can be found on the "Archives" page of this website.


On December 20, 2017, we sent the following letter to U.S. Administration officials responsible for health and science appropriations

Planning Alternatives for Change (PAC) – a U.S.-based consulting firm committed to social justiceand creating a more equitable world—deplores the U.S. Administration’s attack on science, equality, and health by deciding to censor the Center for Disease Control’s use of words that are grounded in scientific thinking and experience:  “diversity,” “fetus,” “transgender,” “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “science-based,” and “evidence-based.”  In addition, we abhor the fact that HHS has suppressed public opinion through its decision to withhold more than 10,000 public comments on a proposal that could affect access to abortion care for women and health care for transgender patients.

This blatant censorship is an undeservedly cruel attack on poor and marginalized people in the U.S. and worldwide. The words that President Trump’s “public servants” have censored—whether directly or indirectly—refer to health-related disparities of specific populations—e.g., women, transgender, PLWAs, etc.  Censoring undermines the ability to use reliable, science-based research to guide effective policies, funding, and programs.  PAC is appalled by this anti-democratic, anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-women, and anti-minorities approach to human rights and the dignity of the vulnerable populations.

We call upon you to reject these distortions of the truth that, if acted upon, will place entire populations in jeopardy of declining health and well-being.

We ask you to reject this censorship, as it is directly related to policies and funding for which you are responsible.


Suzanne Hanchett, Ph.D., Partner, and Mary Ann Castle, Ph.D., Senior Associate


We Oppose Trump's Travel Ban

PAC partners and associates have worked in our professional careers with and for communities in the US and worldwide that adhere to the Muslim religion. Some of us are Muslim scholars and researchers. We stand with social scientists and scholars around the globe who decry the executive order of President Trump that has barred people's admission to the United States from seven Muslim-majority nations. This order undermines the U.S. Constitution. It makes a mockery of PAC's fundamental values of acceptance, collaboration with, and exchange of ideas and  knowledge with individuals of different cultures, religions, and ways of living.




Comments on a new report by Human Rights Watch on the Bangladesh arsenic problem (2016)






We are profoundly sad to announce the death of our beloved PAC Partner, Dr. Eva Friedlander on 24 December 2015. Eva worked for many years on women's rights and disability issues. She lived in New York and represented the International Women's Anthropology Conference at the United Nations. Family, friends, and colleagues all mourn her passing.




PAC Partner, Dr. Suzanne Hanchett, has been contributing to blogs at the CLTS website on the many changes in the water-sanitation-hygiene sector. During the week of 10-13 January Suzanne attended sessions at the sixth South Asia Sanitation Conference (SACOSAN-VI) in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  She made two presentations, available   You can read her SACOSAN-VI blogs by clicking on the link to the CLTS website.

Link to two SACOSAN-VI presentations

CLTS website

Pictures from SACOSAN-VI

PAC Associates, Shireen Akhter, Tofazzel Hossain Monju, and Anwar Islam joined in a workshop hosted by IDS on 10 January at the beginning of SACOSAN-VI.



PAC Members' New Book

"Water Culture in South Asia: Bangladesh Perspectives," by Suzanne Hanchett, Tofazzel Hossain Monju, Kazi Rozana Akhter, Shireen Akhter, and Anwar Islam is in final production. Publication by Development Resources Press ( was published in 2014.

“Water is life” in Bangladesh. Based on  five researchers’ long-term involvement with water development programs in eight districts, this book introduces the reader to the vast range of meanings that water has in this South Asian country, where ordinary villagers struggle daily for access to safe supplies. Mythology, ancient sciences, folklore, and language provide a rich cultural foundation sustaining villagers’ water-related beliefs and practices.

Large parts of the region face the daunting challenge of arsenic in the water supply. Reactions to this serious problem are explored through case studies and insights based on the authors’ many years of field experience.

          This book will help to sensitize scientifically oriented development workers to the ways that that cultural frameworks influence people’s understandings and uses of new ideas and technologies. Focusing on WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) strategies, domestic supply issues, and women’s roles, the authors aim to throw light on new ways to engage with the social and cultural context of a development project.




ISBN-978-0-9906337-0-9 (hardcover), -978-0-9906337-1-6 (paperback), -978-0-9906337-2-3 (e-book)

Order "Water Culture in South Asia: Bangladesh Perspectives" HERE


Eva Friedlander's Column written for the November 2011 issue of the NAPA Section of Anthropology News

When I mention my work at the UN, people are often impressed, although a blank expression belies confusion as to what an anthropologist could possibly be doing there. Just how an anthropologist comes to play a role in a highly political and bureaucratic environment seems for some hard to fathom. But, working intermittently with the UN in a variety of capacities over the past quarter century has brought home just how important an arena it is for anthropologists to bring their expertise and the pathways for making that possible....

click here to download file

Mary Ann Castle, "Abortion in the United States' bible belt: organizing for power and empowerment" - read the full article


Over the last 30 years, conservative power in the United States, financed and organized by Christian fundamentalist sects, the Catholic Church, and conservative corporate and political leadership, has become more threatening and potentially destabilizing of progressive democratic principles and practices. Powerful interlocking political, financial and social forces are arrayed against women in many Southern and Western states. They are having destructive effects on women's ability to control their fertility and maintain bodily integrity and health. Poor women and women of color are disproportionately affected by restrictions on abortion services. Strategically developed interventions must be initiated and managed at every level in these localities. It is urgent to coordinate and empower individuals, multiple organizations and communities to engender effective changes in attitudes, norms, behavior and policies that will enable women to obtain reproductive health services, including abortion care. This paper describes contextual factors that continue to decimate U.S. women's right to health and, then, describes a community organizing-social action project in a number of US' states aimed at reversing the erosion of women's right to have or not to have children.

Citation: Reproductive Health 2011, 8:1



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