The Board of Directors has had an exciting year of coming together and better understanding how to accomplish the goals we set in our strategic planning.

There are many thanks to give the staff who do so much to allow this center to provide better health and wellbeing to our communities of Trapper Creek, Talkeetna, Sunshine, Caswell, Willow and beyond.  We know that the future of this center lies in your hardworking hands.  Thank you!

And finally, the Board would like to thank the Upper Susitna Valley communities for their unwavering support and confidence.  You are our foundation!

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 Upper Susitna Valley, serve on our board of directors. To find out how, click here:

Board of Directors

Kathy Watkins


Kathy lives in Willow and joined the Sunshine Board to be a voice for her community. She graduated from Alan Hancock College in 1980 with a A.A. in Social Science. After graduating she spent 30 years working for the Department of Health and Human Services in California. Kathy retired in 2010 and moved to Willow Alaska in 2015.  She has been married 20 years, is the Program Manager for Willow’s CERT team and a member of the Willow Garden Club and Iditaquilters.  Kathy loves serving her community.

Mike Von Ah

Vice Chair

Mike Von Ah’s 36 year nursing career has been in Women’s Health and he considers it a privilege to be a Sunshine Community Health Center board member.

Mike worked as a nursing manager in Ketchikan, was the Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Alaska Regional Hospital for 3 years and worked as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner for 13 years. Mike briefly taught nursing in the great University of Alaska Anchorage Program. During his career he has worked for the State of Alaska in with the Breast and Cervical Program and Fairbanks Public Health providing services at Fairbanks Delta, and Tok and being requested to do primarily women’s health at many remote locations.

Mike also worked flying with the Airlines full time as a pilot and simultaneously working in women’s health over several years.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to do two careers I very much love – nursing and aviation. I closed my Women’s Healthcare Clinic due to family health concerns for our family’s.   This allows me more flexibility to go out of state when needed. I look forward to this new challenge and have been pleased that I will be working with wonderful Board Members.

Bryann Zweifel


Bryann has been an Alaska resident since 2012 and has lived in the Willow community for the past 3 years. She joined the Sunshine Community Health Center Board because she feels strongly about the purpose of community health centers as well as the history behind the clinic. Since 2018, she has been the Northern Region Manager at Matanuska Valley Credit Union where she is responsible for the Big Lake, Willow and Sunshine offices. She is also on the Board for the Talkeetna Chamber of Commerce as well as a volunteer for many of the Credit Union community projects. Coming from a financial/accounting background of 26 years, she wants to see the clinic thrive financially throughout the future. Bryann enjoys reading, crafting, gardening and spending time with her husband and their dog, Koda.

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.

Kathryn Ernst


Kathy lives in Trapper Creek and joined the Sunshine Board of Directors because she believes in affordable health care for all and her involvement with Sunshine goes back many years. She is a retired science and math teacher that taught at Su Valley, Palmer, and Mat-Su Community College.

Kathy graduated from Valparaiso Universtiy in 1967 with a B.S. in chemistry/math and education. She finished her M.S. in chemistry at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1970.

Kathy was a member of the Board of Directors for Sunshine that hired Jessica Stevens during a time when the clinic was in financial peril. She served on the board again from 2011-2014 during another difficult time. Kathy is also an EMT 2 and has been with the EMS system for over 30 years. Her hobbies include travel, birding, bicycling, and she enjoys gardening and the outdoors.

Richard Burgener


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.

Mary Middleton


Mary Middleton lives in Anchorage and has been the Executive Director at Stone Soup Group since 2013.  She moved to Bethel, Alaska from Texas in 2001 and then to Anchorage a year later. Growing up an Army brat, she moved frequently and still enjoys traveling to new places. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and has worked in non-profit management for more than 25 years. Mary also serves on the board of directors for the All Alaska Pediatric Partnership and is the former chair of the State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee.  She is the mother of a young adult son who experiences autism and a teenage daughter.

Margo Jones


Margo graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. in Health and Physical Education she trained with the Olympic handball team. She coached girls basketball at Wichita State University prior to moving to Utah where she taught and coached three different sports moving into the position of Athletic Director for 12 years before retiring.  Margo was voted Utah Health Educator of the year in 2014.

Margo regularly visited Talkeetna since 1998 and moved to Talkeetna after retiring from teaching. She is an active member of Talkeetna CERT where her desire to help and assist in her community is welcomed. These are the same reasons that brought her to the Board of Sunshine CHC.   

Mabel Quilliam


Bill Was


I moved to the Talkeetna area in August of 2013 with two large canines and a bevy of dreams. Since relocating I’ve volunteered at KTNA doing music shows, newscasts, and operating the soundboard for live music as well as volunteered as a ‘shopper’ for the Upper Susitna Food Pantry before finally sitting on their board. I was accepted onto the board of the SCHC in September of 2017 and remained there until I took a ten-month hiatus beginning in September of 2018. I returned to the SCHC board in June of 2020. I am also the team lead for Talkeetna CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) which was formed in March of 2019.

Living in Alaska is as close to living a dream as I’ve known. I’m still learning how to not just survive but to thrive in semi-rural south-central Alaska. I have fostered large rescue canines and continue to participate in a ‘citizen/scientist’ organization called CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow) network which collects daily precipitation measurements. Meteorology is a hobby as is night sky watching (when it is dark, anyway…) and listening to music on a high-end stereo system. I completely support the SCHC and hope I can assist this most worthy operation in continuing to provide quality health care for this area.


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Dec. 2020

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