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Letter from the President

Pam Spencer

To the A4 Community (Current AND Future Members),

Thank you for the privilege to serve as your Inaugural President of the Association for the Advancement of Alternatives Assessment (A4).  A4 is a long-awaited vision come true and I am filled with excitement to assume this role in helping to build the field of Alternatives Assessment.  

A4, as a new professional organization, has the task of enhancing and growing connections between a diverse community of experts and sectors.  These partnerships will be vital to advancing the development and implementation of tools, frameworks and policies to improve the ability to advance substitution towards safer, sustainable chemicals and products.  Our association will be a shared space for colleagues to actively work together to promote the field of alternatives assessments and each other. Mentoring programs, professional development, lessons learned so that we can share experiences on the basics of being successful in developing AA – these are all opportunities and discussions being built into A4.

This type of cooperative, collaborative environment has never been more important.  The challenges facing our society today are complex and interdisciplinary, global climate change, plastic waste littering our oceans and increasing demands for chemicals and products that reduce or eliminate the impact to human health are all important drivers.  Drivers signaling that now is the time to formalize a community of practice.  One that can accelerate the advancement and implementation of substitution and alternatives assessment initiatives in a manner that will reduce the likelihood for replacements to exacerbate or create new problems for human health and the environment.

I want to express my sincere appreciation to Joel Tickner, Professor in the Department of Public Health at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, who will serve as the Executive Director of A4 and to the Lowell Center who will take on the lion’s share of the day-to-day administrative duties over the next two years.  Their support and guidance, in addition to our members, will be instrumental to realizing our mission and to solidifying A4 as a strong, active and impactful association.

Given all the opportunities before us, need for constructive engagement and exchange is more important than ever, and I’m counting on your involvement to help focus and prioritize the activities of A4.  This foundation will be critically important to future success.  Challenging times are among the most interesting, creating opportunities and inspiring creative approaches to support the field and practice of alternatives assessment and informed substitution.  I hope you will consider engaging as a member of A4.  Not a member?  Please consider joining.  I am honored to serve as your President and look forward to working with you.


Pamela Spencer

A4 President