Hello, my name is Dionne Bensonsmith. Welcome to my personal webpage. Here you find information about my research, consulting, teaching, and speaking engagements. Although I will always be a Philly girl at heart, I currently reside in Southern California where I teach in the Applied Women’s Studies Program at the Claremont Graduate University. I earned my M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
A former high school All America, I earned my B.A. in government and international studies from the University of Notre Dame where I played basketball for the legendary Muffet McGraw. My research specialties include public policy, race and gender politics, mental health policy, black feminist politics, reproductive justice and feminist methodologies. A recipient of fellowships from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Pew Foundation, Cornell University, Syracuse University, and Scripps College, my work in the areas of diversity, black feminist research methods, and public policy has been recognized by the University of Michigan Diversity Scholars Network and the Ford Foundation.
In addition to research, teaching and mentoring graduate students, I am the co-founder and co-director of Mothers on the Frontline. A 503c1 organization, Mothers on the Frontline (MOTFL) uses feminist informed methods such as storytelling, ethnography, participatory research to facilitate caregiver healing and children’s mental health justice. Through Podcast, workshops, and public speaking, MOTFL raises awareness and reduce stigma around children’s mental health, mental health justice and caregiving issues.and the founder and co-principle investigator of the Women of Color Reproductive Health Study. I am also a founding member and research associate/scholar of practice with Interfaith Voices for Reproductive Justice (IVRJ). IVRJ works to build an interfaith movement of progressive voices to construct new, progressive theological and ethical paradigms that affirm women’s moral capacity to make decisions that are in their own best interests, benefits their families, and contributes to the good of the broader community. As a research associate and scholar of practice I conduct research on black women, reproductive justice and fibroids as well as consults/advises on research methods and ethics pertaining to researching and working with African American women.
A self-professed pop culture junkie, I am also a novice practitioner of meditation who enjoys watching movies, reading junk magazines, 90’s R&B, gluten and dairy free cooking (from scratch), and long drives with good music. When I am not teaching or writing, I can be found working my second job as the family Uber shuttling my four active children to and from their various activities.