Dean's Office Staff

Bernadette Bannister

Program Director, Tobacco Use Prevention Training and Tech Assistance


Specialized Skills

  • Program Director and Project Manager of a multi-year contract with the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program through the University of Montana specializing in technical assistance and training support to counties and tribes and public education and outreach programs to prevent youth initiation, provide cessation strategies, and advocate for policy leading to Montana’s Clean Indoor Air Act and smokeless housing projects across the state.
  • Moderator for the 2013 National Smokeless and Spit Tobacco Summit at the University of Montana
  • Producer and Manager of Leadership Forums for the US Forest Service Region 1 and for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services that are designed to inspire middle leaders at all levels at all times and enhance necessary leadership skills.
  • Moderator, Facilitator, and Organizer for the Many Voices, One Message—Keep Tobacco Sacred Project and Conferences, working with Montana’s Tribal Health Departments across various American Indian Reservations that was funded by multiple organizations including the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program, the American Legacy Foundation, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency.
  • Director of a Technical Assistance and Training Center specializing in public health emergency response and preparedness, tobacco use prevention,  obesity prevention,  and diabetes prevention at The University of Montana
  • Trainer and Facilitator  with emphasis in community outreach strategies, grant/proposal writing, and program management
  • Director of a Conference Services Department with over 20 conference managers responsible for planning and implementing up to 100 health-related conferences per year nationwide
  • Project Manager on a subcontract to support a national diabetes education program cosponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and on a contract to support the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, one of the Nation’s largest philanthropic foundations in medical research
  • Assistant Project Manager responsible for over $1M per year allocated for administrative program management support services for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) planetary science-related missions
  • Development  Coordinator for a non-profit, scientific-research conservation organization responsible for creating and implementing fundraising strategies and public relations campaigns and for membership development
  • Proposal and Grants Writer seeking funding and multiple-award contracts from private industry, Federal and State Governments, and non-profit foundations
  • Public Information Specialist on promotional and educational outreach programs for NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Army
  • International Logistics Manager  for special operations related to U.S. and Russian collaborative space science activities

Professional Experience

BERNADETTE A. BANNISTER, BA, Program Director, University of Montana, 1999-present

Bernadette Bannister is a Program Director within the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences and Project Manager of various contracts and grants, primarily focusing on Public Health. Currently, she manages a long-term contract with the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) to provide technical assistance and training in support of the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program. In 2015, she completed a 3-year contract to develop and convene “Leadership Forums for Public Health” for Montana lead local public health officials. In 2013, under the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences, she hosted the 7th National Smokeless and Spit Tobacco Summit on UM’s campus. As a trainer, facilitator, and strategic planner, she manages contracts with State and Federal agencies, having covered community-based projects in tobacco use prevention, leadership training, obesity & diabetes prevention, emergency preparedness and response, wildfire urban interface mitigation, and wildlands-wildfire training (NIMS). She’s developed and presented Leadership Forums and trainings for the Association of Montana Public Health Officials (AMPHO) and DPHHS since 2012. Bernadette also worked with USFS Region 1 to develop the annual Leadership Forum for Forest Service employees and managers in 2002 and to launch the Exploring Leadership Workshop series, conducted annually to date. Her early professional experience includes technical writing, reporting, editing, and public outreach for government agencies, from NASA to the CDC; and working for John J. Craighead (renowned grizzly bear researcher and scientist) as Development Coordinator for the Craighead Wildlife-Wildlands Institute in Missoula, Montana.


  • Over 25 years of experience in managing scientific conferences, symposia, national and local events, training workshops, and public meetings.
  • Supported Federal agencies including NCI, NHLBI, OMAR, NIDDK, NASA, EPA, USAF, USAMRICD, CDC, DHHS. Topics ranged from the epidemiological effects of Agent Orange on Air Force Ranch Handers, to cancer research for the NCI to the Respiratory Care of Chemical Casualties, to bioterrorism preparedness and weapons of mass destruction. 
  • 17 years at the University of Montana: Project Manager on grants and contracts for the MT DPHHS, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, Pfizer Independent Grants for Learning and Change, American Legacy Foundation, SAMHSA, and the U.S. Forest Service. 


  • Program Director, College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences (2011 – Present)
  • Director, Community and Professional Services, UM School of Extended & Lifelong Learning (1999 – 2011)
  • Director, Technical Assistance and Training Center, UM-TATC (2000 – 20011)
  • Project Manager, UM:  Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program, DPHHS (2005 – present)
  • Project Manager, DPHHS Leadership Forum, 2014-2016
  • Project Manager, Pfizer Independent Grants for Learning and Change (2013-2014)
  • Project Manager, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, (2013-2014)
  • Project Manager, UM:  MT DPHHS, Emergency Preparedness for Public Health (2001-2004)
  • Project Manager, UM: American Legacy Foundation (3 years) and SAMHSA (1 year) Many Voices, One Message – Keep Tobacco Sacred project for Native Americans
  • Project Manager, UM:  U.S. Forest Service Northern Regional Training Academy and Leadership Forum (2001 – 2011)
  • Project Manager, UM:  Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program, DPHHS (2000 – 2001)
  • Firewise Communities:  Geographic Coordinator (Montana), 2001-2003
  • Director Conference Services, Prospect Associates, Silver Spring, MD, Conference and Meetings for CDC, NIH ASSIST, NIDDK, NIH OMAR (1997 – 1999)
  • Task Manager, Prospect Associates:  CDC Deglamorization of Tobacco (1999)
  • Development Coordinator, Craighead Wildlife Wildlands Institute, Missoula, MT (1995-1997)
  • Assistant Project Manager, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Washington, DC:  NASA Solar System Exploration Program (1989-1994)
  • Conference Manager, Sr. Technical Writer/Editor, SAIC, McLean, VA: NASA, NIH, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC), NHLBI, DOD, DOE, DNA, EPA.


Steering Committees and Board of Directors:

  • Executive Director, Jan-Ai Scholarship Fund, 2006-Present
  • Chair, National Steering Committee, Smokeless Tobacco Summit, 2013-2014
  • Planning Committee: 20th Anniversary Blackfoot Challenge, Montana
  • Steering Committee, 2008 Raptor Research Foundation
  • Steering Committee, 2006 MT Nature Conservancy fundraiser

Training Workshops and Forums (see CV for details 2000-2010)

  • Leadership Trainings, Montana Public Health Summer Institute:  2015-2016
  • Leadership Forums for Public Health: 2014-2015
  • USFS Region 1 Leadership Forums and Exploring LeadershipTraining Workshop Series, 2002-2010
  • Actions Speak Louder than Words Online Training, USFS National Regional University 2011
  • Board of Directors Training, 2009-2010

International Experience


International Logistics and Conference Manager. ¨ Managed technical logistics for supporting the U.S. Air Force Health Study, including bringing in Vietnam veterans from around the world to participate in a 3-day intensive, ongoing study of the impacts of Agent Orange, and for supporting NASA’s US/USSR Joint Working Group (JWG) on Solar System Exploration, including developing the procedures and guidelines for supporting Russian scientific delegations in accordance with U.S. State Department and NASA HQ’s international relations’ guidelines and managing the preplanning and on-site support for all JWG-related activities organized across the U.S. at NASA's space research centers, labs, and headquarters.