Dr. Dionne Bensonsmith

Professor | Politics, Race & Gender Studies

Meet Dr. Bensonsmith

Dr. Dionne Bensonsmith (she/her, they/them) is a transdisciplinary scholar, researcher, writer, mental health advocate and activist. She teaches in the Applied Gender Studies Program at the Claremont Graduate University and is a Policy Lab Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Government (Public Policy) at Claremont McKenna College.  Dr. Bensonsmith earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and her B.A. in government and international affairs from the University of Notre Dame where she also played basketball for the legendary Muffet McGraw.  

She conducts research on children’s and caregiver’s mental health justice, black women’s health, U. S healthcare and welfare policy, mental health policy, as well as writes, consults, and advises on research methods/methodologies, ethics, and trauma-informed research.  She regularly teaches courses on feminist methodologies as well as social policy, feminist theory, and women of color feminisms.  In addition to research, teaching and mentoring graduate and undergraduate students, she is the co-founder and co-director of Mothers on the Frontline, a non-profit organization that uses feminist informed methods such as storytelling, ethnography, and participatory research to facilitate caregiver healing and children’s mental health justice.  Dr. Bensonsmith is also a founding member of Interfaith Voices for Reproductive Justice (IVRJ) where she is the chair of their Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Dr. Bensonsmith resides with her husband, children, and cat, on unceded Kizh land in Rancho Cucamonga, California.  A self-professed pop culture junkie, she is also a novice practitioner of meditation who enjoys hiking, watching movies, reading magazines, listening to 90’s Hip Hop and R&B, and cooking vegan, gluten, and dairy-free meals with her family.  

Research and Advocacy

Current Courses

Claremont McKenna College

Fall 2022: TBA

Mothers on the Frontline

For more information on the organization, click here.

Interfaith Voices for Reproductive Justice (IVRJ)

For more information on the organization, click here.


Visiting Assistant Professor of Government | Claremont McKenna College

Contact Me

All contact information and meeting availability can be found on my Contact page.