Talkeetna: (907) 733-2273 ~ Willow: (907) 495-4100 ~ Wasilla: (907) 376-2273

Board of Directors

Sunshine Community Health Center is fortunate to have a dynamic Board of Directors. Each member brings a unique perspective, but all are united in their commitment to improving health for Mat-Su residents. Members serve two-year terms and may serve up to five consecutive terms.

Mary Gunderson

Mary Gunderson


Mary is a long time resident of Talkeetna. She worked as Licensed Practical Nurse at University of Wisconsin in the early 1970’s and moved to Talkeetna in 1976. Mary earned her B.A. in Education and taught primary grades at both Talkeetna and Willow Elementary. Presently Mary is retired and keeps busy with grandchildren and art projects.

Kathy Ernst

Kathy Ernst


Kathy is a long-time member of the Trapper Creek community. She and her husband came to the area as a young couple in the 70s, built a cabin in the woods, and later moved to Trapper Creek where they raised two children.  Kathy’s experience as a teacher at Su Valley high school and as a member of the ambulance service for over 30 years gives her the passion and insight to advocate for accessible health care for everyone. She has previously served as an SCHC board member three times.  As a volunteer with the Upper Susitna Food Pantry, Kathy is acutely aware of the unmet needs of our community.

Other experiences include teaching on the North Slope, teaching English in Japan, volunteering at a clinic in Mindo Ecuador, and a lot of traveling outdoors and traveling to many parts of the world. Kathy likes to bike, kayak, hike, paint, and sing. Connecting with friends is a vital part of her life.


Want to join the team?

If you’d like to make a difference in your community and help shape the future of healthcare in the Matanuska Susitna Valley, serve on our board of directors. To find out how, click here:

Melitta White


Melitta was born late November in inner-city Manhattan, New York. She always thought Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was a marvelous way to celebrate her birthday. She attended nursing school in Brooklyn. Married to her high school friend by then, she was employed as a Registered Nurse in a hospital pediatrics unit and then in an emergency room. A fateful decision was to come to Alaska, five months before the ‘64 earthquake, where she worked at the original Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage as a pediatric nurse and then in the orthopedic and burn unit. Returning to Anchorage and Eagle River in 1969 after two years in Juneau she continued work as office manager and purchasing agent, then changed careers to Realty Specialist/Land Law Adjudicator with the Bureau of Land Management. In that capacity, she traveled to remote corners of Alaska by helicopter to examine, report, and write survey instructions for lands in federal jurisdiction. Concurrently she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. After 30 years in federal service, she retired and continued being her mother’s caregiver for a total of 22 years.

Volunteer work consisted of over 20 years with Alaska Health Fairs in many locations providing healthcare information. During one trip with them to Kuparuk on the North Slope, she joined the Polar Bear Club by swimming in the Beaufort Sea. Now living in Willow she is a member of Willow CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), Willow Garden Club, Willow Historical and Wildlife Foundation, Willow Homemakers (FCE), and Willow Iditaquilters, and joined the Sunshine Community Health Center Board of Directors to continue serving her community.

For fun, Melitta watches and feeds wild birds, walks and plays with her dog, raises houseplants, experiments with recipes, learns from Great Courses, reads, and goes camping. Skiing brought her to Willow to have closer access to snow and the joys of the outdoors.

Mabel Quilliam


Mabel was born in Ohio from a large family of 13 children. She later spent many years in Kentucky working, running a cattle farm and building and running a grocery store. She and her husband lived in Bellingham Washington before moving to Alaska in 1999. Her husband of 27 years, Ron, is a volunteer with the Talkeetna Fire Department. 

Mabel’s experiences in Alaska are many, including learning from Native women the art of making beaded amulet bags, Quillows, and fur sewing. Mabel is the owner of Alaska Unique Creations making and selling her beaded jewelry at cooperatives, bazaars and the Alaska State Fair. Mabel and Ron managed the Denali Overlook Inn for many years before retiring in May 2020.

Mabel is involved in many non-profits including the Talkeetna and the State Homemakers FCE, the Talkeetna CERT team and the Fireman’s Auxiliary. She became a Sunshine Community Health Center Board Member in 2019 because she wanted to become more involved with the community and find ways to give back.

Richard Burgener

Richard Burgener


Pamala Potter

Pamala Potter


Pamela was born and lived in Northern California for the first fifty years of her life. She has been blessed to share seven children and ten grandchildren with her husband, Michael.

Pamela worked with the Department of Aging, Children and Community Services in Stockton for many years and oversaw eight community centers (serving the needs of the poor), along with 22 other programs (homeless shelters, Energy Crisis Intervention, Retired Volunteers, children’s shelter. Being non-profits, all these positions included grant writing and advisory boards.

Her concern for children “hanging out” in the community centers, because they couldn’t attend school due to chaos in their lives, made her decide to become a teacher. She returned to school for her credential and taught in schools in California, and eventually in bush schools, throughout Alaska.

As Pamela moved through Bering Strait School District as an itinerant principal/teacher, she met a wonderful friend from Talkeetna, came for a visit and fell in love with the area. She and her husband built a home close to the Talkeetna Clinic, and will be very excited to finally live here full time.

Pamela is currently a teacher/principal at an Athabascan village (Tyonek) but will retire in June to her new home. Knowing she will miss working with kids, she plans to volunteer at Talkeetna Library teaching science, working with the Talkeetna Girl Scout Troop and, feels fortunate to be helping with the Sunshine Community Health Center, as needed. She strongly believes that working with others, with a common goal, is an honor and a privilege.


Sandra Loomis

Sandra Loomis


Sandra has lived in the Upper Susitna Valley since 1978.  A 1983 graduate of Susitna Valley High, she raised two daughters in Talkeetna.  After working as an air taxi manager in Talkeetna from 1996-2010, she ventured to Antarctica as a lead Flight Radio Operator for nine years.  She currently owns/operates a bed and breakfast in Talkeetna and lives off-grid.  Sandra served on the board of the Matanuska-Susitna Convention & Visitors Bureau from 1998 – 2005, serving on the executive committee from 2002, and as president in 2005. Sandra’s other experience and service include:

  • Appointed to the Mat-Su Borough RASP committee, 2006 & 2007.    Regional Aviation System Plan.
  • Appointed to the State of Alaska public/private organization:  ATIA – Alaska Travel Industry Association 2009 & 2010 and the Marketing Committee with an annual budget of 10 – 15 Million.
  • Served on the Denali Arts Council Board of Directors for five years.
  • Elected to Matanuska-Susitna School Board 2008
  • Served on the Upper Susitna Food Pantry Board 2017, Volunteer – 2021, and also served on the board of Talkeetna Historical Society.

Werner (Vern) Rauchenstein


Vern was one of the original founding members of the Sunshine Community Health Center in 1986. He has volunteered as a board member several times during SCHC’s history. Vern also founded the Swiss Alaska Inn in  1976 which continues to operate in Talkeetna. He brings his business skills and historical knowledge to the team.


Rachael Harrison


Rachel grew up in Puget Sound in Washington state. She attended Central Washington University in Ellensburg. She met her future husband Steve while at Central and they were married after she graduated with a degree in elementary education.

Rachel taught at the elementary level in Washington state and Texas before moving to Eagle River Alaska in 1971 where she taught for 24 years. During that time Rachel and Steve raised their 3 children. After retiring in 2001 they moved to Willow and built a new home.

In 1982 they acquired a salmon set net permit for Northern Cook Inlet. It developed into a family business with their middle son Steve who teaches at Su Valley high school. They catch and sell salmon to upper Susitna valley residents.

Rachel has volunteered at Talkeetna Elementary and feels that volunteering for the Sunshine Health Community Center is a small way to contribute to the families in the area.



Now Recruiting New Board Members

As our board members’ terms end, we are enlisting potential new members. If you want to help improve the health and wellness of Mat-Su Alaskans, this is a terrific opportunity for you! We are looking for potential board members with expertise in long term planning, governance, risk management, finance, and health care quality.

Click here to learn more.


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T: (907) 733-2273
Mon - Fri: 9AM - 5PM
Extended Hours Telehealth:
Wed: 5PM - 7PM
Dental &
Behavioral Health
Mon - Fri: 9AM - 5PM
Mon - Fri: 9AM - 5PM
T: (907) 495-4100
Mon - Fri: 9AM - 5PM
Extended Hours Telehealth:
Thur: 5PM - 7PM
Dental: Mon: 9AM - 5PM
Behavioral Health:
Mon - Fri: 9AM - 5PM

T: (907) 376-2273
Mon - Fri: 9AM - 5PM
Extended Hours Telehealth:
Mon: 5PM - 7PM
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