Our Staff

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Doug Blanke, J.D.

Executive Director
Doug.Blanke@mitchellhamline.edu
651.290.7520

Doug Blanke Doug Blanke is founder and executive director of the Public Health Law Center and chair of the Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi Endowed Directorship.  He oversees all its programs, with a focus on encouraging healthier lives, including work to reduce the harm caused by tobacco use, prevent childhood obesity, support healthy eating and encourage physical activity.

Doug’s international work has included monitoring development of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control for the American Lung Association and editing the World Health Organization's handbook on tobacco control legislation.  Previously, as an assistant attorney general of the State of Minnesota, he played a key role in the historic Minnesota litigation that resulted in the release of thirty-five million pages of secret tobacco industry documents.  He was the 2004 recipient of the American Lung Association's C. Everett Koop "Unsung Hero" Award for his contributions to tobacco control.

Education
B.A., Michigan State University
J.D., Yale Law School


Rachel Callanan, J.D., M.N.M.

Senior Staff Attorney
Rachel.Callanan@mitchellhamline.edu
651.695.7667

Rachel Callanan Rachel Callanan, a senior staff attorney with the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium at the Public Health Law Center, provides legal technical assistance on tobacco control issues to public health professionals and organizations, legal professionals, and advocates in Minnesota and throughout the United States.

Prior to joining the Consortium, Rachel was Regional Vice President of Advocacy for the American Heart Association where she led policy work in healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco control policy. With almost 18 years of experience on the front lines of passing state and local policies, Rachel has also led nonprofit advocacy with the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, Minnesota Housing Partnership, and MN-NOW, and worked as a Research Associate at the Institute on Race and Poverty.

 

Education
B.A., University of Minnesota
J.D., Hamline University School of Law
M.N,M., Hamline University School of Business


Kerry Cork, J.D.

Senior Staff Attorney
Kerry.Cork@mitchellhamline.edu
651.290.7509

Kerry Cork Kerry Cork provides legal technical assistance on tobacco and other public health law issues to public health professionals and organizations, legal professionals, and advocates throughout the United States.  Kerry also helps oversee the development and dissemination of the Public Health Law Center's tobacco control publications, including those published by the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium. She has published and presented on many tobacco and health law issues and is a principal investigator on both national and local tobacco law research grants. 

A long-time legal researcher and writer, Kerry has served as Internet legal counsel for the Dispute Resolution Institute and research attorney for the Legal Research Center.  As a law student, Kerry was an editor on the Mitchell Hamline Law Review and a recipient of the Burton Brief Legal Writing Award. For 20 years, she operated her own successful corporate communications company. Her extensive public interest advocacy background includes work for the Hennepin County Legal Aid Society, political asylum cases for Advocates for Human Rights, and service as a guardian ad litem in child protection cases.

Education
B.A., University of Minnesota, magna cum laude
M.A., University of Minnesota
J.D., William Mitchell College of Law


Mike Freiberg, J.D.

Senior Staff Attorney
Michael.Freiberg@mitchellhamline.edu
651.290.7517

Mike Freiberg Mike Freiberg provides legal technical assistance to jurisdictions around the country working on various tobacco control policies. Previously, he worked on research projects related to menthol in tobacco products, cigarette butt litter, and non-cigarette tobacco products. Mike has worked as an adjunct law professor at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, having taught classes in legislation and public health law. Mike also serves as a Minnesota State Representative and spent nine years on the Golden Valley City Council, helping to craft the city’s strong secondhand smoke ordinance that was adopted in 2004. From 1999-2001, Mike worked for a member of Congress as a legislative assistant specializing in health care.

 

Education
B.A., Georgetown University
J.D., William Mitchell College of Law, salutatorian


Natasha Frost, J.D.

Senior Staff Attorney
Natasha.Frost@mitchellhamline.edu
651.290.6454

Natasha Frost Natasha Frost provides legal technical assistance on public health issues to communities and local governments.  Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center, Natasha worked for The Alliance for Children’s Rights, a public interest law firm that provides a range of legal and other services to children in foster care in Los Angeles County.  As the benefits program director, she created and managed a program that represents children and their caregivers to obtain public benefits.  While there, she handled more than 300 administrative fair hearings and recovered over $7,000,000 in funding on behalf of needy children.  She also provided consulting and technical support to systemic efforts, including litigation and legislation, designed to overcome barriers to accessing benefits and services.

Natasha graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2001, where she was president of the National Lawyers Guild, University of Minnesota Law School Chapter and a recipient of the Minnesota Justice Foundation Law Student Volunteer Award Recipient.  Natasha volunteered for Central Minnesota Legal Services, the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, the Institute on Race and Poverty and the Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy Project.  She also worked as a research assistant for Professor Beverly Balos. 

Education
B.A.,University of Minnesota,  magna cum laude
J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, cum laude


Darlene Huang, J.D., M.P.H.

Staff Attorney
Darlene.Huang@mitchellhamline.edu
651.695.7655

Darlene Huang Darlene Huang provides legal technical assistance on tobacco control issues to public health professionals and organizations, legal professionals, and advocates in Minnesota and throughout the United States. 

Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center, Darlene served as an Institute of Medicine Tobacco Regulatory Science Fellow at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration where she contributed to the development of FDA’s tobacco product authorities.  Darlene has also worked at the state- and local-levels.  She analyzed health care regulations at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, tracked legislation at the Minnesota State Capitol with the Fredrikson & Byron government relations practice group, and worked in conjunction with community partners to advance tobacco control policy at a Colorado county health department.  During her graduate studies, Darlene also served as a research assistant at the Public Health Law Center. 

Education
B.S., Colorado State University, cum laude
M.P.H., University of Minnesota
J.D., William Mitchell College of Law, magna cum laude


Desmond Jenson, J.D.

Staff Attorney
Desmond.Jenson@mitchellhamline.edu
651.695.7612

Desmond Jenson Desmond Jenson works primarily on shaping federal tobacco control policy by encouraging the Food and Drug Administration to enact strong tobacco control regulations based on its authority under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.  Desmond also educates the public health and scientific communities about the rulemaking process and highlights opportunities to engage the FDA to create better regulation.  He helps the public health community in its efforts to close regulatory gaps and enact novel regulations that anticipate future regulatory issues.  Desmond provides legal technical assistance to members of the public health community who wish to participate in the regulatory process and he also provides litigation support to defend tobacco control policies that are challenged by the tobacco industry.

Desmond is a graduate of Mitchell Hamline School of Law. During law school he worked as a research assistant at the Public Health Law Center where he helped draft publications and provide legal technical assistance. Desmond received a CALI award in Public Health Law at William Mitchell College of Law.

Education
B.A., Augsburg College, cum laude
J.D., William Mitchell College of Law 


Amanda Karls, J.D.

Staff Attorney
Amanda.Karls@mitchellhamline.edu
651.695.7618

Amanda Karls Amanda Karls provides legal technical assistance to advance public health issues with an emphasis on healthy eating work. Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center she worked in private practice where she handled a variety of civil matters and represented clients in district and appellate court proceedings. Amanda also provided federal and state-level legal analysis, commentary and educational outreach as a staff attorney for an international corporation. During law school, she was a pro-bono law clerk for a non-profit legal services firm and received the Minnesota Justice Foundation Award for Achievement in Volunteer Public Service.

In addition to her legal background, Amanda has worked in food systems, has volunteered with various organizations to advance good food access, and is involved in community policy planning. Notably, she was appointed to the St. Paul/Ramsey County Food and Nutrition Commission by the Mayor and City Council of St. Paul in August of 2016 and is currently serving as a commissioner on that body. She is also a community-elected member of her local district planning council and has been involved in several zoning, land use and other community planning matters.

Education
B.A., University of St. Thomas, cum laude
J.D., William Mitchell College of Law 


Jay Kelly, M.B.A.

Communications Director
Jay.Kelly@mitchellhamline.edu
651.695.7631

Jay Kelly Jay Kelly is responsible for creating and implementing the national marketing communications strategy for the Public Health Law Center. He is tasked with strengthening the Public Health Law Center brand, and increasing awareness of the Center as an accessible partner for local, state, national, and international health organizations.

Jay began his career working for advertising and public relations agencies, and transitioned into marketing and communications management roles at several large Minnesota nonprofits, including Fraser and Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. He has extensive experience in strategic planning, online marketing and communications, web site creation and optimization, email marketing, social media, brand management, event planning, and media relations.

 

Education
B.A., University of Minnesota
M.B.A., University of Minnesota


Tammy Kempf

Administrative Coordinator
Tamara.Kempf@mitchellhamline.edu
651.290.7506

Tammy Kempf Tammy Kempf provides day-to-day administrative support for the Public Health Law Center, including assistance with event planning and grant preparation.  She has broad and diverse experience in customer service, computer applications, and administrative support.  Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center, Tammy worked at 3M Company for over 19 years, managing auto and general liability claims and corporate insurance.  She also worked at the First Judicial District Court in Hastings, Minnesota.

 

 


Jon Lee, J.D.

Director of Operations
Jon.Lee@mitchellhamline.edu
651.290.7511

Jon Lee

Jon Lee is the Director of Operations at the Public Health Law Center, where he is responsible for general program operations, including fiscal management, grants and contracts compliance and reporting, program development, human resources management, and special projects. 

Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center Jon served as the Office Manager and Project Manager at the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College where his responsibilities included management of the center’s finances, including the finances of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, grants and contract administration, assisting in grant proposal submissions, student worker management, occasional web page writing and editing, and various other writing and editing projects. Before working at the Science Education Resource Center Jon was the manager of River City Books, an independent trade book store owned and operated by Carleton College in Northfield, MN.

Jon is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, where he was a Student Director at the Legal Assistance to Minnesota Prisoners clinic and a clerk at the Office of the Minnesota State Public Defender.

Education
B.A., University of Minnesota
J.D., University of Minnesota Law School


Ryan Lee, Ph.D.

Policy Analyst
Ryan.Lee@mitchellhamline.edu
651.695.7653

Ryan Lee

Ryan Lee, a Policy Analyst with the Public Health Law Center, provides legal technical assistance rooted in public health research to state agencies, local governments and public health advocacy groups nationwide on access to healthy food and active living initiatives.

Ryan is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. As a graduate student he worked as a research assistant at the Center for a Livable Future where he worked on several research projects related to food security and nutrition including enhancing regional food systems study, a food retail intervention and an evaluation of a SNAP-based incentive program at farmers’ markets in Baltimore, Maryland.

 

Education
B.A., University of Minnesota
M.H.S., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


Joelle Lester, J.D.

Director of Tobacco Control
Joelle.Lester@mitchellhamline.edu
651.695.7603

Joelle Lester

Joelle Lester directs the Public Health Law Center's tobacco control work, including the work of the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, which supports tobacco control policy change throughout the United States. Joelle coordinates the tobacco control team's provision of legal technical assistance; oversees preparation of friend-of-the court (amicus curiae) briefs in key cases; coordinates litigation support to city and county attorneys, state attorneys general and legal counsel representing advocacy organizations and individual citizens; assists with development of educational materials; and provides educational and training presentations at state, regional and national conferences. In addition, Joelle oversees the Consortium’s efforts to convene national thought leaders around bold policy options to end the tobacco epidemic and organizes regional meetings to provide training and support to tobacco program managers around the country.

Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center, Joelle worked as a litigation associate at the Minneapolis firm of McGrann Shea Carnival Straughn & Lamb, Chartered. Before attending law school, Joelle was a grassroots organizer, organizing director and executive director of the Oregon Student Association, a non-profit higher education advocacy group. Joelle also worked as a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, advocating for public K-12 education.

Education
B.A., University of Wisconsin – Madison
J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, cum laude


Mary Marrow, J.D.

Senior Staff Attorney
Mary.Marrow@mitchellhamline.edu
651.695.7605

Mary Marrow Mary Marrow, a senior staff attorney with the Public Health Law Center, is working on legal and policy initiatives to increase access to healthy food and physical activity nationally. Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center, Mary was a public interest practitioner for over twelve years, focusing her efforts on poverty law, international human rights, and environmental advocacy. During the summer of 2010, Mary worked with the Center for Public Interest Law in Accra, Ghana, through a fellowship sponsored by the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, conducting a comparative study of mining practices and the effectiveness of environmental regulations in the United States and Ghana. Mary has also served in the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa and managed a crisis shelter for the homeless in Alaska. Mary is an avid gardener and outdoor enthusiast.

 

Education
B.A., St. Olaf College
J.D., City University of New York School of Law


Nasimah Mayat

Staff Accountant
Nasimah.Mayat@mitchellhamline.edu
651.290.6335

Nasimah Mayat Nasimah works closely with the program manager coordinating the center’s financial, budgetary, and grants and contracts reporting functions.  In addition to holding a bachelor of commerce degree and a post graduate diploma in accountancy from the University of Natal, South Africa, she is also a qualified chartered accountant. Nasimah was born, raised and educated in South Africa. She has lived in the Twin Cities since 2003.

 

 

Education
B.Commerce, University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Postgraduate Diploma in Accountancy, University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa


Mark Meaney, J.D.

Lead Senior Staff Attorney for Technical Assistance, Tobacco Control Legal Consortium
Mark.Meaney@mitchellhamline.edu
651.695.7642

Mark Meaney Mark Meaney is the Lead Senior Staff Attorney for Technical Assistance at the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, a program of the Public Health Law Center. Mark provides legal technical assistance on tobacco control issues and other public health law issues to public health professionals and organizations, attorneys, and advocates throughout the United States. Mark also provides training on the development and implementation of tobacco control policies in state and local communities. 

Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center, Mark worked as a public finance associate at the law firms of McGrann Shea Carnival Straughn & Lamb, Chartered, and Faegre & Benson LLP. Before attending law school, Mark worked as a senior health policy analyst for Metropolitan Health Plan working on compliance issues and a variety of public health initiatives focused on individuals enrolled in safety net programs.  Mark also worked as a health services researcher at Central DuPage Health System, a community health system, where he developed and implemented programs to measure and improve the health status of the community.

Education
B.A., Creighton University
M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison
J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, cum laude


Sarah Paige

Administrative Assistant
Sarah.Paige@mitchellhamline.edu
651.695.7635

Sarah Paige Sarah Paige is an Administrative Assistant providing day-to-day administrative support at the Public Health Law Center, including travel arrangements and event planning. She brings extensive knowledge in computer applications and administrative support. Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center, Sarah worked as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Kathy Sheran (District 19 – Mankato) in the Minnesota State Senate, where her responsibilities included scheduling, taking phone calls and planning travel. Prior to the working at the Minnesota Senate, she was a Community Organizer for All Parks Alliance for Change.

Sarah is a graduate of Hamline University, where she studied Political Science and Women Studies.

 

Education
B.S., Hamline University


Natasha Phelps, J.D.

Staff Attorney
Natasha.Phelps@mitchellhamline.edu
651.290.7513

Natasha Phelps Natasha Phelps provides legal technical assistance on tobacco control issues to public health professionals and organizations, legal professionals, and advocates in Minnesota and throughout the United States.

Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center, Natasha worked as a litigation associate at the firm of Aafedt, Forde, Gray, Monson, and Hager, where she defended clients against civil and workers’ compensation lawsuits. Natasha has also worked as a student attorney at the Office of the Public Defender in Ramsey County, a judicial intern for the Honorable James A. Cunningham, Jr. of the Tenth Judicial District Court, and a state legislative intern in Wisconsin. At William Mitchell, Natasha served as President of the Black Law Student Association and worked as a research assistant for the Center for Negotiation and Justice (on discriminatory voting laws) and for Community Mediation Services (on discrimination and restorative justice in school disciplinary practices).

Education
B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison
J.D., William Mitchell College of Law


Julie Ralston Aoki, J.D.

Director of Healthy Eating and Active Living
Julie.RalstonAoki@mitchellhamline.edu
651.290.7532

Julie Ralston Aoki Julie Ralston Aoki has over ten years of experience working in the areas of consumer protection law and public policy development at the state level.  In the public health law area, she has experience in providing legal technical assistance to local governments and public health advocacy groups on tobacco control issues and legal strategies and policies designed to promote healthy eating and active living for children, with a focus on marketing practices.  She works with the National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN) on children’s food marketing issues, and is conducting a research project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Eating Research Program to study the effectiveness of self-regulation of food marketing to children. Julie is also an adjunct professor, and currently teaches public health law at Mitchell Hamline.

Before joining the Public Health Law Center, Julie served as an assistant attorney general with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office for nine years, in the Antitrust and Consumer Enforcement Divisions.  She has presented at National Association of Attorneys General conferences, conferences, webinars and CLEs on a variety of issues, including e-commerce, antitrust enforcement, predatory lending issues, food marketing to children, and the impact of preemption of state and local control.  

Julie has been named a “Rising Star” Lawyer by Minnesota Law & Politics. As a law student, she helped to establish, and served as the first editor-in-chief for, the Iowa Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, a law journal.  Her volunteer work includes serving as a commissioner of the Robbinsdale Human Rights Commission, and serving as vice-chair (chair-elect) of the board for the East Metro Women’s Council, a program which provides housing and supportive services to homeless families. 

Education
B.A., Yale University, cum laude
J.D., The University of Iowa College of Law, summa cum laude


Brandon Resch-Lien

Web Designer | Digital Content Producer
Brandon.ReschLien@mitchellhamline.edu
651.290.6371

Brandon Resch-Lien

Brandon Resch-Lien works with the Public Health Law Center attorneys and staff to design and build interactive tools for the Center web site to convey our legal research and expertise to our audiences in new and innovative ways. He also produces the Center webinars, assists with print communications, and is the primary administrator of the web site.

Brandon previously worked as a Web Designer/Front-End Developer for Internet Exposure, a web development agency in Minneapolis, where he brought more user-friendly and engaging designs to various websites and interactive applications. He has also donated his time and expertise to the non-profit North Dakota Association of the Blind, and helped them design and build a WordPress site for the specific usability and accessibility needs of their audience. He also has a variety of multimedia experience, including professional photography work, and television graphics/video production work for Red River Broadcasting (KVRR-TV) in Fargo.

Education
B.S., Minnesota State University Moorhead


Andrew Twinamatsiko, J.D.

Staff Attorney
Andrew.Twinamatsiko@mitchellhamline.edu
651.290.6339

Andrew Twinamatsiko Andrew Twinamatsiko provides legal technical assistance on tobacco control issues and other public health law issues to public health professionals, organizations, attorneys, and advocates throughout the U.S. He also provides training on the development and implementation of tobacco control policies in state and local communities.

Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center, Andrew worked as a litigation attorney in Iowa and South Dakota at the offices of Crary, Huff, Ringgenberg, Hartnett & Storm P.C., where he represented municipalities and specialized in civil litigation and criminal defense. Andrew also worked as an immigration compliance officer at the University of South Dakota, where he advised international students and visiting scholars on immigration regulations and policies. Following his immigration to the U.S. from Uganda in 2009, Andrew attended law school at the University of South Dakota School of Law. As a law student, he served as an editor of the South Dakota Law Review and a Secretary of the Black Law Students Association.

Education
L.L.B., Uganda Christian University, honors
J.D., University of South Dakota School of Law, high honors


Mani Vannavong

Program Coordinator
Mani.Vannavong@mitchellhamline.edu
651.695.7625

Mani Vannavong As Program Coordinator of the Public Health Law Center, Mani Vannavong works closely with the Program Manager to provide overall management and administration of the Center's grants and contracts.  She comes to us from the Metropolitan Council where she held a similar position and was responsible for overseeing the use of federal and local governmental funds to support various transportation projects and related services.  Her past projects include the Hiawatha Light Rail, Northstar Commuter Rail, and Central Corridor Light Rail.

 

 

Education
B.A., University of Minnesota, Morris


Susan Weisman, J.D.

Senior Staff Attorney
Susan.Weisman@mitchellhamline.edu
651.290.7516

Susan Weisman Susan Weisman provides legal technical assistance to public health advocates and local, state, and federal government officials. Her work involves strategic consultation on the development, enactment, implementation, and enforcement of public health legislation, in-depth policy research on emerging issues, and publications and presentations on topics of interest. Current projects include state-level policy work on tobacco control, healthy eating, active living issues, health-in-all policies, and health equity.

Susan has led a series of collaborative, community-academic studies, partnering with public health researchers and labor leaders to examine how to build support for healthy workplace policies and how to improve workers’ access to and use of effective tobacco cessation health care benefits. Before joining the Center in 2001, she served for many years as an Administrative Law Judge for the State of Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings. She is a qualified neutral for the Minnesota courts in mediation and arbitration.

Education
B.A., Ohio State University
J.D., William Mitchell College of Law


Public Health Law Center Research Assistants

Samantha Alch, U of M School of Public Health

Sarah Blonigan, Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Sarah Doege, Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Elizabeth Dorsey, U of M School of Public Health

Gail Fernandes, U of M School of Public Health

Darrell Hill, Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Wojciech Jankiewicz, Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Marcus Jardine, Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Alice Kraiza, U of M School of Public Health

Sophia Long, U of M School of Public Health

Micah Olson, Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Megan Radamaker, U of M School of Public Health

Frances Yanke, Mitchell Hamline School of Law