Mansfield Dialogues

The Mansfield Dialogues is a public lecture series designed to bring community together to discuss critical issues in international engagement and ethics in public affairs.


Project on American Democracy and Citizenship

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Serving Montana: UM's Public Health COVID-19 Response

Wednesday, January 27th at Noon

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Students and faculty of UM's School of Public and Community Health Sciences will discuss their efforts to protect and inform Montana communities. Moderated by Mansfield Center Executive Director Deena Mansour. 

Deena MansourDeena Mansour - Executive Director, Mansfield Center






Erin SemmensErin Semmens, PhD, MPH – Associate Professor

Erin is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public and Community Health Sciences at the University of Montana. Her primary research emphasis is on the health effects of environmental exposures particularly relevant to rural populations. Since March of 2020, she has led the Epidemiology Situation Unit for the Missoula City-County COVID-19 response.


Ethan WalkerEthan Walker, PhD – Postdoctoral Fellow

Ethan Walker is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Montana studying the health effects of air pollution. He received a PhD in Environmental Health with a specialization in Epidemiology from Colorado State University in 2019. His doctoral research focused on the health effects of biomass cookstoves used in lower- and middle-income countries. Previously, Ethan graduated from the University of Kansas School of Nursing (BSN, 2010) and worked as a Registered Nurse before attending the Colorado School of Public Health (MPH, 2017).


Erin LandguthErin Landguth, PhD – Associate Professor

Erin Landguth is an Associate Professor in the School of Public and Community Health Sciences at the University of Montana modeling the factors that influence population and disease patterns across dynamic landscapes. She has earned degrees in Mathematics (BS, 2002) and Atmospheric Sciences (MS, 2004) from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and a PhD at the University of Montana in Mathematical and Computational Ecology (2010) through the National Science Foundation’s Montana-Ecology of Infectious Disease program. Erin is also part of UM’s Center for Population Health Research where she is pursuing work to improve air pollution exposure models and the modeling of factors that influence respiratory health in Montana.  


D'Shane BarnettD’Shane Barnett – Executive Director of the All Nations Health Center, PhD student

D’Shane Barnett (Mandan/Arikara) is the executive director of the All Nations Health Center and a current PhD student. He has worked in the American Indian health field for more than two decades and is the former executive director of the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) in Washington, D.C. D'Shane holds a Master of Science degree in Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership from the University of California, San Francisco. He is currently a doctoral student in Public Health at the University of Montana, Missoula, where his research focuses on the protective factor of American Indian ceremony. D’Shane is a member of the board of directors for the Montana Primary Care Association and is also a member of the Providence Montana Service Area Community Ministry Board.


Tony WardTony Ward, PhD – Professor and Chair

Tony Ward is a Professor and Chair of the School of Public and Community Health Sciences at the University of Montana. In addition to teaching environmental health classes, his research involves working with schools and rural communities on air pollution (forest fires and wood stoves) and respiratory/cardiovascular health issues. He has also been active in supporting COVID-19 mitigation efforts at the University of Montana, as well as the local and state levels.


Disproportionate Impacts on Native Communities

Wednesday, February 3rd at Noon

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Tribal leaders across Montana have remained vigilant in their COVID response, at times going beyond state and federal restrictions to keep their communities safe. Despite these efforts, Native communities continue to experience devastating fatality rates: Native Americans comprise 6.7% of Montana's population but 30% of COVID deaths. This panel will explore the role systemic inequalities play in these outcomes, and highlight the courageous leadership of Native leaders on the front lines.

Cora NeumannCora Neumann , Founder, We Are Montana

Dr. Cora Neumann is a public health expert, and recently founded We Are Montana to support public health leadership across rural and Native Montana. Over the past 20 years, she has collaborated with local and national leaders, including First Ladies in the US and worldwide, to bring quality, accessible health care to their communities – including during the current COVID outbreak. She most recently ran for U.S. Senate in her home state of Montana, and serves on the boards of Columbia University School of Public Health and HAVEN and is a member of COVID Local and the Montana Public Health Association. Cora grew up and is based in Bozeman, surrounded by four generations of family, from her grandmother to her two teenage children.


Shelly FyantChairwoman Shellly Fyant, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

Shelly Fyant is the current chairwoman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenani Tribes and the councilmember for the Arlee district. She was raised in Arlee and graduated from Ronan High School in 1975. She obtained an AA degree in Liberal Arts from Haskell University in 1978 and later returned to the University of Montana for a degree in Business Administration in 1989. She is an avid UM Griz football fan, and a gardener and beader. Her spare time is spent in the mountains with family including her four sons, seven grandchildren and one great granddaughter. She’s a supporter of the food sovereignty initiative and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People efforts.


Kaci WalletteKaci Wallette, Councilwoman, Fort Peck Tribes

Kaci Wallette is an enrolled member of the Ft. Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes. She was born and raised in Wolf Point, MT. She obtained her degree in Nursing from Montana State University-Northern in Havre, MT. Miss Wallette has worked in the public health sector including youth mental health, social services and case management. She is currently employed part time as a Nurse with Northeast Montana Health Services at the Poplar Community Hospital and is serving her second term as a Tribal Executive Board member for the Ft. Peck Tribes where she is Chairwoman of the Economic Development and Vice-Chairwoman of Health & Human Services Committees. Kaci also sits on the National Indian Health Board as the Billings Area representative, is a member of the Benefis Native American Board and was also appointed to Governor Gianforte’s Covid 19 Task Force team. She is passionate about improving the health disparities for those that she represents. She is a proud mother of two children, a Son Tade and a Daughter Kashlyn.


Rights and Responsibilities in a Time of COVID

Wednesday, February 10th at Noon

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Representatives from business, law, and government will discuss issues of freedom and the economic and social impacts that result from the actions of private and public citizens in a public  health emergency. Moderated by Anthony Johnstone, Constitutional Law Professor, UM Blewett School of Law. Co-sponsored by the Justice, Policy, and Public Service Community of Excellence. 


Anthony JohnstoneAnthony Johnstone, UM, Blewett School of Law

Anthony Johnstone is the Helen and David Mason Professor of Law and an affiliated Professor of Public Administration at the University of Montana's Blewett School of Law. He teaches and writes about Federal and State Constitutional Law, Legislation, Election Law, Jurisprudence, and related subjects. Before joining the School of Law, Professor Johnstone served as the Solicitor for the State of Montana, practiced litigation as an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York, New York, and clerked for the Honorable Sidney R. Thomas, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He holds a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. with honors from the University of Chicago Law School.


Tom SnyderTom Snyder, Owner, Five on Black

Tom is a graduate from the University of Montana Finance department as well as the Davidson Honors College. After winning the John Ruffatto business plan competition with the idea of Five on Black he opened the first store in Downtown Missoula two years after graduating. Seven years later with five locations around the state and two little girls he continues his role in running the stores, trying to create sustainable and living wage jobs for the 100 employees and a positive impact in the communities that treat them so well. 


Jim NelsonJustice Jim Nelson, Montana Supreme Court

Jim Nelson served as a Justice on the Montana Supreme Court from May 1993 until January 2013. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in business (cum laude) from the University of Idaho in 1966 and his Juris Doctor degree, (cum laude) from George Washington University in 1974. Prior to serving on the Court, Jim engaged in the general practice of law in Cut Bank, Montana for nearly 20 years. He served as the Glacier County Attorney and prosecutor for 14 of those years. Jim taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Montana School of Law (Alexander Blewett III School of Law) in 2000 and in 2013. He presently serves as a member of the legal advisory committee of Free Speech for and Advisory Council of American Jim is a veteran, having served as an officer in the United States Army. He and his wife, Chari, have been married for over 50 years and have two grown children and four grandchildren.


Anna ConleyAnna Conley, Senior Civil Deputy, Missoula County Attorney's Office

Anna Conley is the Chief Civil Deputy in the Missoula County Attorney’s Office. In that capacity she oversees the in house civil defense group, and supervises the civil commitment and dependent neglect units at the county attorney’s office. She also represents the Missoula City-County Health Department and Board of Health. Prior to joining the county attorney's office, Anna was in private practice and a staff attorney for the ACLU of Montana. Anna is also an adjunct professor at the University of Montana.


Sue VintonSue Vinton, House Majority Leader, Montana House of Representatives

House Majority Leader Sue Vinton is currently serving her 3rd term in the Montana Legislature representing House District 56 in Yellowstone County. Majority Leader Vinton holds degrees in both Human Services and Criminal Justice and worked as a litigation Paralegal for 15 years in both New York State and in Billings, Montana at Matovich and Keller (currently Matovich, Keller and Huso). For the last 12 years, Sue has worked with her husband at their general contracting business, Vinton Construction, Inc. Previous to her service in the Legislature, Sue served on the Lockwood School Board of Trustees, the Montana School Board Association Board of Directors and the Montana Schools Unemployment Insurance Board of Directors. Sue has a special interest in Special Education, Career and Technical Education and Small Business issues in Montana.


Thank you for joining us for our 2020 Fall Dialogue Series. You can watch recordings of the lectures here.