Provost’s Lecture Series
February 8 @ 7:00pm
One event on November 16, 2021 at 7:00pm
One event on February 8, 2022 at 7:00pm
One event on March 8, 2022 at 7:00pm
One event on April 12, 2022 at 7:00pm
Montana State University’s 2021-22 Provost’s Distinguished Lecture Series will begin Tuesday, Oct. 12 with a lecture on community health in Montana’s rural communities from Laura Larsson, a professor in MSU’s College of Nursing.
Larsson, who graduated from MSU before receiving her doctorate from Oregon Health Sciences University, was a chemist before discovering her passion for nursing. Her background in chemistry led to an interest in radon gas and the health implications of radon exposure.
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can accumulate inside buildings and cause health issues including increased risk for lung cancer. Larsson, a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, led the National Institutes of Health-funded Montana Radon Study, which sought to improve public education and awareness of the risks associated with radon exposure.
Known for her community-engaged public health research, Larsson has worked extensively with Montana’s Native communities, including the Blackfeet, Northern Cheyenne and Crow Nations in particular. In conducting research about radon in Browning, she found that a prevalent public health concern was children’s oral health, which led her to look for common approaches when dealing with those two topics. She will explore those connections and her journey in community-focused research in her provost’s lecture, titled “Radioactivity and Decay: Exploring Public Health in Montana.”
“The work with radon exposure led me to working with communities, which in turn led me to my current work on oral health,” said Larsson. “When trying to practice community engaged research, you’re listening to what the community is telling you. Even though I’d been invited to work on environmental health, we ended up making that pivot to children’s oral health based on what was relevant to the community.”
In her role as director of MSU’s Caring for Our Own Program (CO-OP), a support program for Native American and Alaska Native students pursuing nursing degrees, Larsson seeks to help improve the quality of health care in Native American communities by increasing the number of qualified Native American and Alaska Native nurses entering the health profession. The goal of her research aligns with CO-OP’s mission by seeking to improve access to primary care in high-priority communities using outreach, risk communication and digital signage technology to respond to community health needs.
Designed to highlight exemplary research and scholarship, the Provost’s Distinguished Lecture Series is free and open to the public. All lectures begin at 7 p.m. at the Museum of the Rockies and are followed by a reception at 8 p.m. For more information and a complete lineup of speakers, visit https://www.montana.edu/news/21447/.
This year’s lecturers and dates are listed below:
- Oct. 12 – Laura Larsson, College of Nursing
- Nov. 16 – Brian D’Urso, Department of Physics
- Feb. 8 – Doralyn Rossmann, Digital Library Initiatives
- March 8 – Ralph Johnson, School of Architecture
- April 12 – Mark Schure, Department of Health and Human Development