Doug Blanke, J.D.
Doug Blanke is founder and 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.
B.A., Michigan State University
J.D., Yale Law School
Kerry Cork, J.D.
Kerry Cork, staff attorney at the Public Health Law Center, works primarily for the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, providing 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 Consortium’s publications, and leads other communications initiatives. 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.
B.A., University of Minnesota, magna cum laude
M.A., University of Minnesota
J.D., Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Mike Freiberg, J.D.
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.
B.A., Georgetown University
J.D., Mitchell Hamline School of Law, salutatorian
Natasha Frost, J.D.
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.
B.A.,University of Minnesota, magna cum laude
J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, cum laude
Darlene Huang, J.D., M.P.H.
Darlene Huang is a staff attorney with the Public Health Law Center. She 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.
B.S., Colorado State University, cum laude
M.P.H., University of Minnesota
J.D., Mitchell Hamline School of Law, magna cum laude
Desmond Jenson is a staff attorney with the Public Health Law Center. He 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 Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
B.A., Augsburg College, cum laude
J.D., Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Jay Kelly, M.B.A.
Marketing Communications Director
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 in the advertising world, and transitioned into marketing and communications management roles at large nonprofits, most recently at Fraser, and at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. He has extensive experience in online marketing and communications, web site creation and optimization, email marketing, social media, branding, and media relations.
B.A., University of Minnesota
M.B.A., University of Minnesota
Scott Kelly, J.D.
Scott Kelly is a staff attorney with the Public Health Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Scott provides legal technical assistance to Minnesota communities through the Statewide Health Improvement Program (“SHIP”) and federal Community Transformation Grants (“CTG”) on healthy eating, active living, and tobacco control initiatives. Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center, Scott worked with the League of Minnesota Cities, providing assistance to local governments on a wide range of issues. Scott clerked for the Honorable David C. Higgs with Minnesota’s Second Judicial District, and has served as a lead exam grader with the Minnesota State Board of Law Examiners. Scott serves as chair of the City of Lakeville Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Committee. He is also working towards his Masters of Public and Nonprofit Administration through Metropolitan State University.
B.A., St. John's University
J.D., Hamline University College of Law
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.
Anna Larson is a policy analyst dedicated to working with Minnesota communities to increase opportunities for access to healthy food and to build a more equitable food system through policy initiatives and community engagement.
Anna is a recent Carleton College graduate with a degree in Environmental Studies focused on food and agriculture. Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center, Anna worked on food procurement issues at the Carleton College Sustainability Office. She also worked in Oakland, CA, as a Policy and Evaluation Intern at the Community Food and Justice Coalition, a program of the Public Health Institute. Her work included program evaluation, social media messaging, and researching the public health impacts of climate change. She has also worked as a research assistant at the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems for several biological control projects at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
B.A., Carleton College
Jon Lee, J.D.
Jon Lee is the Program Manager 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.
B.A., University of Minnesota
J.D., University of Minnesota Law School
Joelle Lester is a staff attorney with the Public Health Law Center. Joelle is working to support and encourage the Food and Drug Administration to enact the strongest possible tobacco regulations under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Joelle coordinates and mobilizes the public health community to engage with the Food and Drug Administration and provides technical assistance to public health advocates. Joelle also provides litigation support to defend the federal tobacco regulations against challenges from the tobacco industry.
Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center, Joelle worked as a litigation associate at the firm of McGrann Shea Carnival Straughn & Lamb. Before attending law school, Joelle was a grassroots organizer 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.
B.A., University of Wisconsin – Madison
J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, cum laude
Anna Ayers Looby
Anna Ayers Looby is a policy analyst with the Public Health Law Center. She works with Minnesota communities and across the country to increase opportunities for healthy food and physical activity through local, regional, and statewide strategies in early childcare, school, healthcare, and community settings.
Anna is a member of Born to Thrive, Minnesota’s early childhood health coalition; is a member of the Minnesota Department of Education’s Child Nutrition and Wellness Advisory Group; and has participated in state-level policy advocacy as a volunteer America Cancer Society Advocacy Fellow. Anna's work in health is informed by her experience as an international health volunteer in India, Peru, and Argentina. She now serves local immigrant populations as a clinical health researcher for Aqui Para Ti, a Minneapolis-based clinic for Latino youth.
B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College, magna cum laude
M.P.H., University of Minnesota
Executive Director, Tobacco Control Legal Consortium
Maggie Mahoney is a staff attorney with the Public Health Law Center. She serves as executive director of the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, a program of the Public Health Law Center, which supports tobacco control policy change throughout the United States. Maggie coordinates the Consortium's provision of legal technical assistance, and personally provides direct, legal technical assistance on tobacco control issues to public health professionals and organizations, legal professionals, and advocates. She oversees preparation of friend-of-the court (amicus curiae) briefs in key cases; provides and 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.
Maggie has been an Adjunct Professor of Law since 2005, teaching public health law and an appellate advocacy skills course, and recently completed a graduate- level public health certificate program through the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. After earning her law degree, Maggie researched and drafted opinions for the Minnesota Court of Appeals and then supervised a team of attorneys that issued appellate decisions on behalf of a court-appointed neutral in a major national civil rights class action settlement.
In 2015, Maggie was awarded the 2015 C. Everett Koop Unsung Hero Award by the American Lung Association and the C. Everett Koop Institute for her outstanding contributions to tobacco control. In 2008, Minnesota Lawyer selected Maggie as one of its “Up & Coming Attorneys."
B.I.S., University of Minnesota
J.D., Mitchell Hamline School of Law, cum laude
Kameron Markworth is primarily responsible for maintaining and enhancing the digital face of the Public Health Law Center through the management of publichealthlawcenter.org, cultivation of a robust social media presence, and creation of compelling assets that disseminate the valuable tools produced by staff attorneys.
Prior to joining the Public Health Law Center, Kameron was a founding partner of a happy hour-finding web start-up in Philadelphia, an interactive designer for a financial services training firm on Wall Street, and an internet marketing specialist for Fraser. He has also performed music professionally since 2001 and is an adjunct music instructor at Augsburg College.
B.M. Augsburg College
M.M. Indiana University
Mary Marrow, J.D.
Mary Marrow, a 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.
B.A., St. Olaf College
J.D., City University of New York School of Law
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.
B.Commerce, University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Postgraduate Diploma in Accountancy, University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Mark Meaney, J.D.
Mark Meaney, a staff attorney with the Public Health Law Center, works primarily with the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium. 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.
B.A., Creighton University
M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison
J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, cum laude
Maureen O'Brien, J.D.
Maureen O’Brien is a staff attorney with the Public Health Law Center. She works with the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium to provide legal technical assistance to public health professionals and organizations, legal professionals, and advocates throughout the United States. Maureen also teaches public health law as an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Before joining the Public Health Law Center, Maureen was an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Madison, Wisconsin, where she drafted ordinances and provided legal advice to the Common Council, prosecuted civil violations of the City code, and provided advice and legal representation to the local Public Housing Authority and City Planning Department.
B.A., Boston University, magna cum laude
J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School
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.
B.S., Hamline University
Julie Ralston Aoki, J.D.
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.
B.A., Yale College, cum laude
J.D., The University of Iowa College of Law, summa cum laude
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.
B.A., University of Minnesota, Morris
Susan Weisman, J.D.
Susan Weisman is senior staff attorney at the Public Health Law Center and director of WorkSHIFTS, a community-academic partnership with Minnesota labor leaders.
As senior staff attorney, Susan provides technical assistance to public health advocates and local, state, and federal government officials on public health law and policy issues. Her work includes strategic consultation regarding the enactment, implementation, and enforcement of public health legislation, in-depth policy research on emerging issues, and presentations on topics of interest. Current projects include state level policy work on healthy eating, active living, built environment and tobacco control issues.
As director of WorkSHIFTS, Susan collaborates with blue-collar and service sector labor leaders on research and intervention projects that aim to build support for healthy workplace policies and policies to improve workers’ access to effective health care benefits. Since 2002, WorkSHIFTS has produced multiple policy tools, including A Union Guide to Tobacco, which provides union- and workplace-specific policy resources and guidance, and Cessation Benefits Focus, a series of newsletters that frames the provision and promotion of cessation benefits as policy issues.
Susan is a frequent speaker and consultant on labor and public health laws and policies. She is currently principal investigator of a three-year community-academic study, partnering with labor leaders from the Minnesota Laborers, Unite Here, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and researchers from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, to examine tobacco cessation policies and practices that affect workers who receive health benefits through Taft-Hartley Health and Welfare Funds.
Susan began her career in public interest law at the Minneapolis Legal Aid Society, where she represented deaf and hard of hearing clients with disability-related discrimination claims. Before joining the Public Health Law Center, she worked for over 18 years as an administrative law judge, mediator, and arbitrator for the State of Minnesota’s Office of Administrative Hearings. Her legal expertise includes employment, health, human rights, education, and municipal law.
B.A., Ohio State University
J.D., Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Network for Public Health Law
The Public Health Law Center hosts the national coordinating center and the northern region for the Network for Public Health Law. The Network for Public Health Law provides insightful legal assistance, helpful resources and opportunities to build connections for local, tribal, state and federal officials; public health practitioners; attorneys; policy-makers; and advocates. Organizations and individuals committed to improving public health can join the Network.
For more about the Network for Public Health Law, click here.
Donna Levin, J.D.
National Director, Network for Public Health Law
J.D., Northeastern University School of Law
Jill Krueger, J.D.
Northern Region Director, Network for Public Health Law
B.A., U Earlham College, with honors
J.D., University of Iowa Law School, with high distinction
Brittney Crock Bauerly, J.D.
Staff Attorney, Network for Public Health Law
B.A., University of Wisconsin, Phi Beta Kappa
J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, with honors
Marketing Coordinator, Network for Public Health Law
B.A., Drake University
Marketing and Membership Manager, Network for Public Health Law
B.S., Metropolitan State University of Denver
Program Manager, Network for Public Health Law
B.A., University of Wisconsin
M.P.P., University of Minnesota
Managing Director, Network for Public Health Law
B.A., University of Minnesota
M.A., University of St. Thomas
Administrative Coordinator, Network for Public Health Law
Communications Coordinator, Network for Public Health Law
B.A., Macalester College
Data Assistant, Network for Public Health Law
B.I.S., University of Minnesota.
Public Health Law Center Research Assistants
Gerald “JB” Benford, Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Wojciech Jankiewic, Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Marcus Jardine, Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Joe Morris, University of Minnesota School of Public Health
Micah Olson, Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Nick Rydell, University of Minnesota Law School
Frances Yanke, Mitchell Hamline School of Law