Organizational Unit: Board of Directors

One of the unique aspects of a Community Health Center (CHC) is patient involvement in service delivery. The majority of Unity Care NW’s governing board of directors is made up of patients, serving as community representatives and making decisions on which services we provide. This active patient oversight ensures responsiveness to community needs.

Adam Van Ness

Adam comes to the board with a background in finance and education. He has spent the last several years teaching continuing education courses on personal finance and investments at Whatcom Community College. Adam moved to Bellingham from Seattle in 2016 with his wife and two kids and has loved every minute of it. He is a firm believer in the healthcare exchange and that healthcare is a human right that should not be tied to employer choice.

Teresa Mansoor

Teresa was born in Whatcom County and graduated from Ferndale High, and left after graduation to see the world. She lived in King County off and on for many years and also had the opportunity to live in Cairo, Egypt for 10 years. In 2006, she returned home to Bellingham. In 2015, she returned to school earning an AA degree in 2017, and has been employed for the past 6 years with an organization that “Powers the World.” Having struggled in many areas in life and come out on the other side, she was happy at the opportunity to give back to the very organizations that were so kind during those times. She is honored to have been elected as a Board member and wouldn’t be where she is today without the help of Unity Care NW, Opportunity Council, and Work Source Whatcom County.

Cataline Harkleroad

Caty has a background in Molecular Biology and Virology. She received her BA in Public Health from Sacramento State in 1981. She retired in June 2021 after 40 years in the Biotech field where she worked as a Principal Scientist on various Diagnostic Tests used to protect the blood supply, and later as a Laboratory Supervisor, where she oversaw 70+ Research and Development labs. She is a transplant from the California East Bay Area and settled in the Blaine area where her husband’s family is from. She is currently the lead for the Blaine Emergency Response Team. She joined the UCNW Board in March 2024 and looks forward to serving the Whatcom County community.

Rachael Hagin

Rachael was born and raised in Whatcom County and is currently a Custer resident. She graduated from Whatcom Community College at the top of her class with an Associate in Arts & Sciences degree in Criminal Justice, and is part of Phi Theta Cappa honors society. She joined the Unity Care Board in February of 2024 in order to serve the community and to give the Board a different perspective as a member of the younger generation of people of Whatcom County.

Kim Burns

After working in the outpatient orthopedic setting for 12 years, Kim noticed inequity in the system and that insurance payouts, rather than medical necessity, often end up dictating the quality and quantity of medical care. When she opened her business, she modeled it in a way to be true to her belief that quality health care is a human right and limits or priorities should not be dictated by insurance reimbursement or ability to pay. Kim is honored to serve on Unity Care Northwest’s Board to be part of the solution and providing good, quality health care to all who need it. She has extensive experience with the population served by Unity Care and is very familiar with how socioeconomic stresses are compounded by physical pain and sometimes psychological trauma, too. Kim is excited to bring her unique experience in the rehabilitation profession and passion for equitable heath care access to her service to the Unity Care Board.

Dr. John Coffey

John has a background in healthcare and education; he recently retired from teaching Dental Hygiene for 30 years at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California.  During that time he was a dentist in private practice, and previously served in the Indian Health Service and two tribal programs.  As an advocate for preventive and science-based medicine, he supports parity of behavioral health and dental services as an important part of “health care for all.”  A third generation Washingtonian, John welcomes the opportunity to serve the Whatcom County community.

Liane Koester

Liane has a background in education.  She has had the opportunity to work with children and their families from diverse communities in Washington State, and international communities in Hong Kong, and Saudi Arabia.  As an educator with 32 years of experience, she has worked  in public, private, and corporate education.  She comes with a unique perspective about the impact that physical and emotional health have on a student’s learning and development. Though a world traveler, she considers Bellingham her home. She is looking forward to giving back to her community as a board member of UCNW. She has a BA in Early Childhood Education, an MEd as a Reading Specialist, and an Endorsement in TESOL.

Catherine Strong

Caty recently retired, following 39 years as a Clinical Psychologist in Bellingham.  Her Ph.D. was from the University of Chicago, focusing on mental health and adult development.  She was a founding member in 1993, and served on the executive board, of Associates in Mental Health, a local independent practice association.  She has served on the Advisory board for the Palliative Care Institute (WWU).  Born and raised in the Northwest, her extended family here spans ages 1 to 96.  Her hopes include access to quality healthcare for all.  She joined the UCNW Board in October 2020.

Dr. Vince Foster

Dr. Vince Foster is grateful to have the opportunity to serve on the Unity Care NW Board of Directors, having previously served as an Employee Assistance Program provider to UCNW employees.  He and his wife have lived in Bellingham for over 25 years.

He is a semi-retired psychologist with a Masters in Addiction Counseling. His professional background includes over 40 years in health care as a mental health services provider along with 22 years as a clinical supervisor and mental health program manager.

He is particularly interested in assisting UCNW to advance their population health perspective because he believes that evidence supports that it is the most cost-effective way to reduce human suffering and to build strong, vibrant and successful communities.

Chris Phillips

After nearly 40 years in community health and nonprofit leadership positions in Monterey CA, Burlington VT and Bellingham WA, Chris is now semi-retired, and offers consulting services focused on organizational pathways to collaborative progress. A resident of Bellingham since 1994, Chris loves to bike and run trails, produce travel videos, and spend time with his wife and two adult children.