Board of Trustees

Learn About Our Board of Trustees

  • Joanne M. Pieper (Chair) Bozeman

    Ms. Pieper retired as Senior Vice President of New York Life Insurance Company. She served in the Company’s New York City home office where she held variety of management positions during her entire 28-year career. As Senior Vice President, Ms. Pieper was the head of a Profit Center which designed, marketed and administered group insurance programs for life, medical and disability insurance programs custom designed for large national employers and members of national professional associations. While in New York City, the New York YWCA named her as a “Woman Achiever of the Year”. After retiring, she relocated to Montana where she has been a leader in civic and philanthropic activities. She served as President of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of the Rockies. While a member of that board, she served as chair of the Development and Strategic Planning committees; she chaired the Wine Classic fund raising event four times; and she served on the Finance Committee. Ms. Pieper served a two year term as a member of the Editorial Board of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. She served on the Board of the Heart of the Valley Humane Society where she chaired committees and was instrumental in its successful campaign to build a new state of the art shelter. Ms. Pieper was a participant in Governor Martz’s task force which studied the problem of the uninsured in the State. Ms. Pieper is currently a member of the Museum of the Rockies National Advisory Board and is a member of the Haven Women’s Shelter capital campaign committee. She regularly provides financial support and other assistance to a number of local nonprofit organizations which she is passionate about.

  • Michael V. Harrington, JD (Vice Chair) Missoula

    Michael V. Harrington is an Associate Professor of Management at the University Of Montana School Of Business Administration. Before he joined the business school’s full-time faculty ranks in fall 2014, he spent ten years as the Associate Dean. He graduated with high honors from UM in 1986, earning a degree in business administration (emphases in accounting and finance). In 1990, he graduated with high honors from the University Of Montana School Of Law. He then practiced law for several years in the Bellevue, Washington office of Davis Wright Tremaine, an international law firm. From 1992 until 2003, he held various legal and business positions in Butte with The Montana Power Company and Touch America, Inc. For nine years, he has been a member of the board of directors of First Security Bank of Missoula, and he has chaired that board’s Audit Committee for eight years. He is a member and past chair of the Ambassadors, a subcommittee of the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce, and he is a past member of the Missoula Advisory Board of Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co.

  • William P. Underriner (Treasurer) Billings

    Mr. Underriner is the owner of Underriner Motors of Billings. He has been the owner since 2001. His business expertise has been recognized by his peers. He has served as President and Chairman of the Montana Automobile Dealers Association. He has also served as Treasurer, Vice Chairman, and Chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). During his 3-years of service as Treasurer of NADA, he oversaw a $130,000,000 investment portfolio, which resulted in higher returns and acceptable risk levels. Mr. Underriner’s financial expertise was recognized by his appointment as a Board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Helena Branch, and his selection as Chairman of the Board. As his resume reveals, Mr. Underriner’s civic leadership includes service as chairman of the Saint Vincent Hospital Foundation Board, board member of the American Cancer Society Western United States, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Billings Chamber of Commerce, President of United Way of Yellowstone County, and service with numerous other philanthropic organizations.

  • Paul R. Cook, MD, MHA (Secretary) Red Lodge

    Dr. Cook is the Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Education at Montana State University Billings. As such, he has the primary responsibility for establishing an on-campus component for a Master’s Degree program in Health Administration. Prior to being named Director, Dr. Cook served for five years as President and CEO of Rocky Mountain Health Network, which is associated with Saint Vincent Healthcare. He was responsible for the leadership, strategic direction, and oversight of a 600-member provider-hospital organization in Montana and Wyoming. Dr. Cook has also held leadership positions with Brigham and Women’s Physician Organization (Boston), Indiana University School of Medicine (Indianapolis), and the University of Missouri Health Systems (Columbia). Dr. Cook is an officer and board member of Billings Wellbeing Institute, a board member of the Montana BioScience Alliance, the Montana Health Forum, and the Global Health Equity Foundation. Dr. Cook’s civic leadership includes service on the boards of directors of the Rimrock Opera Company, the Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, and the Alberta Bair Theater.

  • Denis J. Prager, PhD Clyde Park

    Dr. Prager has been the principal of Strategic Consulting Services since 1994. As such, Dr. Prager has advised many of the foundations formed from the conversion of non-profit health plans to for-profit entities. He provided consulting services to the California Endowment, the California Wellness Foundation, the Archstone Foundation, the Healthcare Georgia Foundation, and the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation. Prior to relocating to Montana, Dr. Prager was with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, first as Deputy Director, then as Director of the Foundation’s Health Program. Also, Dr. Prager has served as Assistant Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, a U.S. Public Health Service Fellow at Stanford University, and in various capacities with the National Institutes of Health. His publications include Organizing Foundations for Maximum Impact: A guide to Effective Philanthropy, Health Research Philanthropy in a Time of Plenty: A Strategic Agenda, and Promoting and Sustaining the Health of the Mind. Since relocating to Montana 9 years ago, Dr. Prager has served (or is serving) as a member of the Board of Directors of Livingston Healthcare, the Park County Community Foundation, the Big Sky Institute for the Advancement of Nonprofits, and the Bozeman Symphony. He currently serves as President of the Bozeman Symphony Board.

  • Judith D. LaPan, MS, MBA Sidney

    Ms. LaPan has been the administrator of the Richland County Health Department since 1997. The chair of the Richland County Commissioners applauds her successful efforts assessing the county’s health needs and developing programs to meet those needs. When she started in 1997, Ms. LaPan administered an annual budget of $100,000. She now manages $1 million annually. Although currently Ms. LaPan also serves as Richland County Health Officer, Ms. LaPan is willing to resign from that office upon appointment as a trustee of the Montana Healthcare Foundation. Ms. LaPan was one of the founding members of the Montana Association of Public Health Officials and served as its first president. As such, she helped hire the Association’s first executive director and helped establish the financial system for the organization. Also, Ms. LaPan was a member of the Montana Public Health Improvement Task Force from 2001 to 2011, and served as its chair for more than seven years. Further, Ms. LaPan led Richland County in the community building process that resulted in the development of the Richland County Quality of Life Strategic Plan and the County’s associated Steering Committee. She is a member of the governing/advisory boards of the Montana Health Eastern Area Authority, the State Emergency Response Committee, the Seventh Judicial Distinct Adult Treatment Court, the Accreditation and Quality Improvement Committee, and the Richland County Strategic Plan Steering Committee.