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The NVHC's First Meeting

We want to thank everyone who made it to the Northern Valley Health Coalition's first official meeting. A special thanks to Sheep Creek Lodge for hosting us and making such a beautiful and delicious taco bar.

Meeting details

Location: Sheep Creek Lodge

Start Time: 4:49 PM

End Time: 7:20 PM


  • Sierra Winter Smith: President of the Northern Valley Health Coalition and Community Relations Manager for Sunshine Community Health Center

  • Joshua Gilmore: CEO - Sunshine Community Health Center

  • Ronni Spaulding: CEO Assistant - Sunshine Community Health Center

  • Mary Gunderson: Board of Directors - Sunshine Community Health Center

  • Ryan Romans: Care Manager - Sunshine Community Health Center

  • Jocelyn Courtney: Patient Advocate - Sunshine Community Health Center

  • Jayme Moudy-Ferrier: BH Clinician - Sunshine Community Health Center

  • Tammy Barber: Northbound Fitness

  • Amy Gorn: Program Officer - Mat-Su Health Foundation

  • LouAnne Tysdale: Upper Susitna Food Pantry

  • Holli Ji: Breakfast Candy

  • Linda Oxley: Willow Area Community Organization

  • Dana Norwood: Medicare Information Office

  • Erin Acklestad: Mountain Pacific Quality Health

  • Judi McCullough: Talkeetna Community Member

  • Jennifer Phillips: Sustina Valley Jr. Sr. Highschool || Jessica Stevens Foundation

  • Dianne Zeigner: Talkeetna Yoga || Jessica Stevens Foundation

  • Maureen Gualtieri: Jessica Stevens Foundation

  • Kevin O'Connor: Upper Susitna Senior and Community Center

  • Ashley Mineai: State of Alaska

  • Jessica Downes: State of Alaska

Meeting minutes

Joshua opens the meeting with an introduction of himself and explains the Northern Valley Health Coalition's vision and goal.

Sierra starts the meeting off with an introduction and motions all attendees to introduce themselves.

Joshua explains that Sierra will be the board president for the NVHC and he asks the attendees if anyone would be willing to volunteer as a secretary and treasurer. He explains that everyone will be part of the decisions.

  • Jocelyn Courtney volunteered for Secretary

  • LouAnne Tysdale volunteered for Treasure

Sierra announces she created an NVHC website that is easy to work and log into; shares that website is almost done and can be aired by ETA 2 weeks. She shares notes and an invite will be sent to members following the meeting.

The NVHC participants enjoy dinner and share conversations about their roles in the community.



There were a lot of great conversations had during dinner. We encourage you to share your notes but commenting on this blog and/or discussing a topic in the member forum.

community needs

Members were asked to brainstorm community needs ideas for the northern valley and place them on a sticky note. Comment below, what do you think our communities need to promote health and wellness in all areas of life.

  • Community center. || Indoor exercise locations. || Fitness center.

  • Promotion of community activities in the winter.

  • Child care center. || Foster care.

  • Narcan kits at public establishments (bars, eateries, schools, etc.).

  • Fentanyl test strips.

  • Community laundry, toilet, and shower facilities.

  • Community gardens.

  • Education events. || Resiliency training. || Cooking classes. || Skills classes.

  • School involvement with non-profits. || Community service opportunities.

  • Mental and physical health.

  • Suicide prevention.

  • Grief/Loss training and support. || Death doula courses.

  • Veteran representation in non-profits.

  • Rotating information at local establishments (like cubbies) with various health topics.

  • Communication and resource knowledge between communities.

  • Include home health agencies, public health care officials, and social workers in community conversations.

  • Transportation.

  • Mind, body, and spirit healing.

  • Including food and health-focused businesses in communication channels.

  • Design processes and projects to be attractive to the Alaskan independence and lifestyles.

  • Alternative healthcare solutions.

  • Focus on nutrition.

  • Focus on vitamin D and iron deficiency and educating new community members on how to take care of themselves. || Finding more ways to make these vitamins available to the local communities without driving to Wasilla.


A message from Sierra Winter smith

Thank you for joining the Northern Valley Health Coalition. I am honored, excited, and well, slightly nervous to be the president of this coalition because I believe we can do amazing things! I am here as your 'learning leader' - as Joshua shared, no one has all of the answers and I am learning more and more about community wellness every day. I am here as your president to keep us organized, make the connections we need, and help bring your ideas to life but I cannot do that without you. Thank you.

I was so pleased to get to meet everyone in person and I am truly inspired by our first meeting's attendance. After emailing almost 300 potential members, it was a breath of fresh air to talk to you all face to face. There were many great conversations to be had.

"I am here because I want to help our communities age gracefully" - Judie McCullough

I really liked Judie's terminology to 'age gracefully' because aging is inevitable and irreversible. It feels like we are in a constant battle with ourselves to avoid aging. Every stage of life has some nostalgia for previous chapters but I hope that there is also excitement and curiosity for the future and that the efforts made by the Northern Valley Health Coalition can encourage that.

Many of your encouraged other members to join the coalition and recommended contacts. I had reached out to most of your recommendations prior to our meeting and encourage you to share our new website with anyone that you think would be a good fit.

Northern Valley Health Coalition contact


Sierra Winter Smith -





Reminder to register

I will close with a friendly reminder that if you have not registered as a member, you will not be included in future communication. If you are not sure about your commitment we encourage you to register anyways - you can always opt out if you feel that you are unable to be a member at this time.


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