Mat-Su Health Foundation 02



Wasilla, Alaska—The Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) recently welcomed Desiré Shepler as program associate and Heather Merry as administrative assistant.

“Desiré and Heather each bring unique skills and experiences to the Foundation, and both will be great assets as we continue to grow in our mission to help Mat-Su become the healthiest borough in the nation,” said Elizabeth Ripley, executive director of MSHF. “Desiré has a strong background in the nonprofit world and will use that experience to benefit Mat-Su Health Foundation grantees. Heather has excellent administrative skills that will make her an asset the entire Foundation team.”

Desiré received a scholarship from MSHF in 2010, the first such scholarship recipient who went on to employment with the Foundation. In her newly created position, Desiré manages the implementation of select grant and scholarship programs. Her responsibilities include investigating grant requests; conducting grantee budget analysis; developing funding recommendations; and, designing, preparing and analyzing grant reports and program trends. Desiré holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage, as well as a bachelor’s degree, also from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and an associate’s degree from Mat-Su College. She brings to MSHF seven years’ progressively responsible professional experience. Most recently she spent more than two years in Wrangell, Alaska serving as social services administrator for Alaska Island Community Services.

Heather is responsible for supporting MSHF’s mission, vision and values by providing administrative support for all staff members. She performs day-to-day office functions, including management of the front desk; procurement; data entry; accounts payable; database management; meeting planning; drafting of correspondence and reports; and, coordination of workflow. Heather came to MSHF with a proven background in administrative support. She worked as a senior clerical specialist for a telecommunications company for more than four years, and prior to that as a secretary for an aviation firm for seven years. Heather attended the University of Alaska Anchorage and graduated from Bartlett High School in Anchorage.

About Mat-Su Health Foundation: Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) is the official business name of Valley Hospital Association, Inc., which shares ownership in Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. In this capacity, the MSHF board members and representatives actively participate in the governance of Mat-Su’s community hospital and protect the community’s interest in this important healthcare institution through board oversight. The MSHF invests its assets into charitable works that improve the health and wellness of Alaskans living in Mat-Su. More information is available at