Bonita M. Pennino

Following 21-year career with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), Ms. Pennino retired and founded Pennino Public Affairs, a consulting firm specializing in systems advocacy.  During her tenure with ACS CAN Ms. Pennino held positions as Public Education Manager for the Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, Coordinator for Cancer Prevention Study II LifeLink Research Project, and Cancer Control Specialist.  In her final position at ACS CAN as Government Relations Director she counts as some of her major accomplishments passing legislation in Maryland prohibiting smoking in all places of public accommodation, capping prescription drug out-of-pocket cost at $150 per month per prescription in Maryland and the district of Columbia, creating parity between oral and infused chemotherapy, and raising the per pack tobacco tax to $2.00 in Maryland and to $4.94 in the District of Columbia, prohibiting tanning salons from allowing minors to use indoor tanning devices, requiring healthy vending in buildings housing District of Columbia employees, and securing the largest tobacco control budget allocation in District of Columbia. From 1990 to 1995, Ms. Pennino worked for the Department for Rights of Individuals with Disabilities (DRVD), where she served as Administrative Liaison to Virginia General Assembly, state agencies, state policy boards and consumer groups. While at DRVD, she coordinated and facilitated studies requested by the Virginia General Assembly, drafted legislation, provided expert information to the members of the Virginia General Assembly, analyzed policies and legislation to determine consumer impact and developed and implemented advocacy training for consumers and disability advocacy groups, as well as facilitated grant writing and responses to proposals from federal agencies for model service delivery project development.  From 1987 to 1990, Ms. Pennino worked for the Virginia State Department of Education, where she was responsible for the implementation of a demonstration grant from the US Dept of Health and Human Services for interagency case management and secondary transition for youth and young adults with disabilities – Project VAST. Project VAST was selected by the Secondary Transition Intervention Effectiveness Institute at the University of Illinois as one of ten exemplary projects for 1987 & 1989.  Prior to joining the Department of Education, Ms Pennino worked with individuals with disabilities in sheltered workshops, job sight training, and recreation settings.  Bonita M. Pennino earned a Masters’ Degree in Counseling from the Medical College of Virginia, and her undergraduate degree in 1977 from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Ms. Pennino lives in Vienna VA, with her husband of 20 years, W. Kenneth Garnes.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer October 2006.