STAFF DIRECTORY

Kristen Ackert

Policy and Research Manager

Kristen Ackert is a Policy and Research Manager. In this role, she focuses on point-of-sale policy work and supports research and evaluation of local tobacco prevention policies. In her three years at ANSR, Kristen has worked closely with many community organizations and works to engage youth and adults in tobacco prevention policy efforts at the local and state level. Kristen also coordinated the coalition in Edina, the first Minnesota city to pass a Tobacco 21 policy. Kristen has presented her work at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco and the National Summit on Smokeless Tobacco Prevention. Kristen received her M.P.H. from the University Of Minnesota School of Public Health and her B.A. from Furman University in Greenville, S.C. On the weekends, you can find Kristen running and biking around the Twin Cities with her husband, Danny. She enjoys cooking and traveling to visit friends and family. She will always say yes to Dairy Queen.

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Emily M. Anderson

Program Director

Emily Anderson is a Program Director who focuses on point-of-sale policy work and clean outdoor air in parks and on college campuses. Since her first year at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Emily knew she wanted to work at a nonprofit and contribute to a greater good. After graduate school and stops at a few other nonprofits, she found her niche in public health policy and tobacco prevention at ANSR. Emily has supported dozens of Minnesota communities in passing tobacco-free parks policies and has worked closely with colleges and universities, including the University of Minnesota, in adopting tobacco-free campus policies. She advocated for a first-of-its-kind cigar pricing ordinance in Brooklyn Center. She has presented at several public health conferences, including the National Summit on Smokeless and Spit Tobacco and the National Conference on Tobacco or Health. Outside of work Emily enjoys spending time with her family in Minneapolis and heading into the great outdoors to bike, camp and skijor. While Minnesota is now home, she takes pride in teaching her two young daughters to say “Go, Pack, Go!”

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Kjirsten Anderson

Prevention Coordinator
Regional Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (RPC)

Kjirsten Anderson is a Regional Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Prevention Coordinator (RPC) serving Minnesota’s seven-county metro area (Dakota, Washington, Anoka, Ramsey, Hennepin, Carver, and Scott counties). She was interested in public health and wanted to be a part of creating population level change for the good. She returned to La Crosse, Wis., to complete her Master’s degree in Public Health, with a concentration in Community Health Education, from UW La Crosse in 2017. Kjirsten is part of a team of seven Regional ATOD Prevention Coordinators in the state of Minnesota funded through a grant from the Minneota Department of Human Services – Behavioral Health Division. She is a trainer of the Substance Abuse Prevention Skills Training and Ethics in Prevention training developed by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. As Regional ATOD Prevention Coordinator, she works with local communities to address risk and protective factors contributing to substance abuse among youth. She provides support, facilitates, and consults on where to begin, getting the right people to the table, creating a plan, putting the plan into action and figuring out what’s working and what’s not. Kjirsten is also a Certified Health Education Specialist and a Certified Prevention Professional. In her spare time, Kjirsten enjoys being active outdoors in all forms, especially when traveling is involved. She loves hiking to views and pushing her fear of heights.

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Jack Ayim

Policy & Community Outreach Coordinator

Jack Ayim, is a Policy & Community Outreach Coordinator. In this role, Jack works in the field of tobacco prevention with a focus on policy work involving youth and young adult tobacco prevention and coordinating community partners and contractors. As a community outreach coordinator, Jack works on a variety of projects, such as promoting smoke-free multi-unit housing in Minnesota. He also develops and maintains databases. He has more than nine years extensive experience working with statewide and local community agencies/coalitions from various ethnic communities and priority populations in Minnesota to advocate for policies that would restrict tobacco point of sale and use of tobacco products. Before joining ANSR, Jack participated in advocating for a bill that increased Minnesota’s tobacco sales tax by $1.60, and a bill that restricted the use of tobacco products in foster care homes in Minnesota. While out of office, Jack likes to watch TED talks and TPT, and listen to BBC World Service Science in action and BBC World Service Discovery podcasts.

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Tony Bangasser

Director of Finance

Tony Bangasser is the Director of Finance. He joined the ANSR team in 2015 after more than 30 years in the for-profit finance world. Tony manages the overall ANSR budget and helps each program budget and spend appropriately. He does it all with a friendly smile and a fondness for Excel spreadsheets. When not at ANSR, you’ll find Tony volunteering at his church, doing everything from counting money to serving up mostaccioli. He also enjoys spending time with family, including his new grandson.

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Madeline Bremel

Administrative and Research Assistant

Madeline Bremel is an Administrative and Research Assistant who helps with a variety of projects around the ANSR office. She recently graduated from the college of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in May of 2018, where she became interested in Public Health. However, she is new to the world of tobacco prevention. Madeline spends most of her time at the office helping organize and collect data for the direct mail project, providing administrative support for ANSR’s policy work, putting together fact sheets and other materials as needed, and learning about tobacco prevention policy. In her free time, Madeline likes to spend time outside camping, hiking, or cross country skiing.

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Betsy Brock

Director of Research

Betsy Brock is the Director of Research. In this role, Betsy pursues research opportunities and partnerships for the organization. Her work has resulted in several published articles, including in Tobacco Control and the American Journal of Public Health. Her research on direct tobacco marketing research has earned national recognition. Betsy also participates in statewide policy efforts and leads advocacy campaigns at the local level, including the Minneapolis Menthol Coalition, which led to a ground-breaking restriction on the sale of menthol tobacco in Minneapolis. Outside of ANSR, Betsy enjoys spending time with her family, including her dog Trixie. On summer days, you can find her on a boat on the St. Croix or at her family’s historic log cabin.

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Cuyler Dinegan

Communications Coordinator
Minnesota Prevention Resource Center

Cuyler Dinegan is the Communications Coordinator for the Minnesota Prevention Resource Center, promoting the Center’s training and resources across the state. Having worked with nonprofits concerned with food, music, health, athletics, and education, Cuyler is adept at designing engaging communications for many topics and audiences. Cuyler holds a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Northern Michigan University, where he studied Electronic Imaging and Writing and successfully avoided hypothermia. Outside of work, Cuyler is an avid cook and traveler, and enjoys creating stories, using imagery, words, and everything between to tell them.

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Katie Engman

Program Director

Katie H. Engman is a Program Director. Since 2002, Katie has coordinated and supported diverse school- and community-based tobacco prevention programming and advocacy work. Katie is currently working to reduce the amount of tobacco advertising and marketing aimed at youth. Much of Katie’s career has been focused on youth prevention, education, advocacy and engagement resulting in national awards for students. Some of her policy accomplishments include: numerous tobacco-free park policies, a smoke-free workplace ordinance in Ramsey County, an imitation tobacco ordinance and sign ordinance updates in St. Paul, flavored tobacco restrictions in multiple metro communities, numerous city ordinance updates to reflect the changing landscape of tobacco. She also directs the North Suburban Tobacco Compliance Project working to reduce youth access to commercial sources of tobacco. This is a one of a kind model with coordination with cities, law enforcement and youth. Outside the office one might find Katie in the middle of a lake, having arrived there via swimming, boating, or paddling. She also enjoys planning family adventures, such as trips to the beach and cheering on her kids at their activities.

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Rose Hauge

Tobacco Policy Outreach Specialist

Rose Hauge is a Tobacco Policy Outreach Specialist. For the past 20 years, she has been involved in Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drug prevention work. Nine of those years have been dedicated specifically to Tobacco Control and Prevention including community coalition building and coordination. She is also a trained and experienced Tobacco Treatment Specialist. Since 2014, Rose has worked for ANSR and the Live Smoke Free program assisting property management companies, managers, and renters/owners of multi-unit housing in Hennepin County suburbs in the promotion, development, implementation and enforcement of smoke-free policies. When Rose isn’t at work, she spends time with family and friends and especially enjoys visiting her sons. She loves crafting, walking, going to live theater, volunteering at the local nature center, and traveling.

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Swetha Nayak

Project Director

Swetha Nayak is the Project Director for Minnesota Prevention Resource Center. In this role, Swetha is responsible for research assistance, partnership development, and keeping current on effective ways to learn and apply the best practices for substance abuse prevention. She has more than a decade of public health experience having worked on HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis programming and non-smoking initiatives. Previously, Swetha managed WellShare International’s East African Smoke-Free Program and The Young Achievers Program. Outside of work, Swetha loves to read, draw, hike, run, and spend time with her family.

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Esha Seth

Technical Assistance Program Coordinator

Esha Seth serves as the Technical Assistance Program Coordinator. In her role, Esha works with county health departments across the state and community organizations that represent various diverse communities to provide resources and guidance on their tobacco prevention initiatives in schools, worksites, grounds, parks, and point of sale policy initiatives. During her time at ANSR, Esha has worked on developing relationships with individuals and provides guidance and resources to assist with the implementation and enforcement of tobacco prevention policies and initiatives. Esha has also worked to help create the free online retailer training that helps educate tobacco retailers on state laws on selling tobacco. Most recently, Esha worked with the Isanti County public health department and their local substance abuse prevention coalition to increase the tobacco sales age from 18 to 21 for all licensed tobacco retailers in the county. Esha is currently working on wrapping up her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Minnesota. Outside of school and work, Esha enjoys travelling and is making travel plans for her next big adventure around the world.

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Jackie Siewert

Assistant Program Director
Live Smoke Free

Jackie Siewert is the Assistant Program Director for the Live Smoke Free Program. Jackie joined the ANSR team in 2014 with a background in property management and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota. As Assistant Program Director for the Live Smoke Free program she works with local and national stakeholders, such as renters, homeowners, property managers, property owners, and public health advocates, to educate decision makers and promote smoke-free housing. Jackie has supported hundreds of multi-housing properties in adopting smoke-free policies, developed numerous educational tools and resources, and spoken at many health and housing events. Jackie also manages Live Smoke Free communications, including quarterly newsletters, social media, and website content. Her motivation for tobacco control comes from personal experience with smoke-free housing issues and loved ones lost to tobacco. Inside Jackie’s office one will find a variety of cacti and vining plants. Outside of the office, Jackie is the part-time onsite property manager at her 23-unit apartment building in Minneapolis. In her spare time, Jackie enjoys running, biking, art festivals, and cats.

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Kara Skahen

Program Director
Live Smoke Free

Kara Skahen is the Program Director of the Live Smoke Free program. She has almost a decade of experience working on housing, environmental health, and health equity issues. Since 2011, she has worked with the Live Smoke Free team to promote, implement, and sustain smoke-free housing initiatives locally and nationwide. She was inspired to enter this field after seeing the devastating impact involuntary secondhand smoke exposure had on her family members and clients. Kara brings a social work and policy background to Live Smoke Free and values partnering with residents, resident service providers, public health professionals, and the housing industry to support positive, health-focused policy change. She is passionate about environmental health equity issues and also serves on the Richfield Advisory Board of Health and Environmental Issues Committee. In her spare time, she loves to Irish dance, bike, rock climb, read, and hike with her dog Mabel.

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Chris Turner

Program & Media Specialist

Chris Turner is the Media & Program Specialist at ANSR. Chris joined the ANSR team in 2013 with no previous experience in tobacco prevention but having lost loved ones to tobacco-related disease. Chris works on communications aspects at ANSR, including design, photography, quarterly newsletters, social media, website content, press releases and media pitches. They also assist with point-of-sale policy work and presented on the role of paid media in boosting campaign awareness to pass policy at the CDC’s National Conference on Health Communications, Marketing & Media. Chris works to engage and build advocates within the Twin Cities and has focused on youth outreach. Outside of the office, Chris likes being outdoors, plays softball in several leagues and enjoys spending time with their wife and dogs.

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Jeanne Weigum

President

Jeanne Weigum has served as the President of ANSR since 1980, though her path to leading the organization for nearly four decades has somewhat humble roots. The Association for Nonsmokers’ Rights, as it was called at the time, was in the midst of fighting for the nation’s first statewide clean indoor air law in 1975. Jeanne saw an ad in a local paper about the association’s work and decided to become a member, which only cost $1. After becoming a member, Jeanne soon joined the ANSR board and eventually moved her way up to the full-time President, a role for which she has never taken a salary. From ground-breaking smoke-free housing work to innovative approaches to preventing youth tobacco use, she has provided strategic direction for numerous public policy wins in Minnesota. She remains deeply committed to enhancing public health and her community. When not fighting the good fight at ANSR, you’ll find Jeanne baking in the winter, gardening in the spring and summer, and up to her ankles in rescue dogs year round.

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Bethlehem Yewhalawork

Community Outreach Coordinator

Bethlehem Yewhalawork is a Community Outreach Coordinator who focuses on local tobacco policy work, local point-of-sale tobacco ordinances, and community outreach and education about the tobacco industry. She received her BS in Public Health with concentrations in Community Health Work and Public Policy from St. Catherine University. She’s advocated for numerous tobacco prevention policies in the metro area, including increasing the tobacco sales age to 21 and restricting the sale of all flavored tobacco products. Outside of the office, Bethlehem enjoys spending time with family and friends.

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