2811 Tieton Drive,
Yakima, WA 98902 Map this address

(509) 575-8000

Meet Our Physicians

Memorial Physicians have a wide breadth and depth of medical and clinical expertise. They also have interesting personalities, philosophies, hobbies and community involvement. Please take a moment to meet some of our physicians and learn more about what makes them similar and unique in how they chose a career in medicine, approach working with patients and why they enjoy living in Yakima.

Find Doctors & Clinics »

Meet Our Phsycians

Ryan Black, DO

Dr. Ryan Black is an otolaryngologist, treating patients with ear, nose, and throat problems. Dr. Black believes healthcare involves treating the whole person, not just the complaint. He admires the teamwork that is evident at Memorial, as well as their focus on prevention versus treatment. After spending time in Vietnam and numerous states throughout the U.S., Dr. Black is happy to settle in Yakima, where he enjoys hiking and spending time with his family.

I got into medicine because I love working with people on an intimate level. It's not very often that somebody lets you in on details of their life that they typically would not reveal. To be able to have a positive impact in that person's life is very meaningful to me. I hope that I can be, in a small way, a positive influence in that person's life.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
When I work with patients my philosophy is that their complaint is unique to them. I strive to listen carefully so I can get clues to make a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. I think it's very frustrating for patients sometimes because they feel that they're just a number in the crowd, but everybody's situation is different. It's been my philosophy that if you listen carefully and long enough, typically you will get the information that you need.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
When I think about the culture at Memorial, I think of physicians that work together to accomplish the same goal for quality patient care. It's that teamwork that really sets us apart. I believe that Memorial physicians as a whole, look at people from a social, emotional, and physical aspect in order to get a full picture of that person and his or her needs. We help people not just make it day to day, but enjoy life.

What do you like about Yakima?
Yakima is a very unique place. I love that you can get pretty much anywhere in this town within a 15 to 20-minute drive. There's very little traffic, yet there are good resources available. We're not so isolated that we struggle to have our needs met. The fruit and vegetables are delicious, the outdoor activities are fun, and it's a great place to raise a family.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
When I'm not at work some of my hobbies include spending time with my family, being outdoors, and hiking. I've also been getting into remote control airplanes. I have also always had an interest in different cultures and different people. I speak Vietnamese and have spent quite a bit of time in Southeast Asia and enjoy the people and the culture of Vietnam.

Learn More


Martin Bäcker, MD

As an internist at Memorial Cornerstone Medicine and a pediatrician at Pacific Crest Family Medicine, Martin Bäcker is passionate about taking care of patients. He believes as a doctor, his job is not just to treat disease, but to help people live healthier lives. After living in New York for several years, Martin now enjoys the outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking and biking that Yakima has to offer.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
As the son of an engineer, I always enjoyed math and science. I thought I was going to be an engineer, but as I was finishing high school I realized that even though that was interesting, I needed something that I would find more rewarding and gratifying. So, I ended up gravitating to medicine where I have the intellectual and scientific component, but also the human component of interacting directly with people on a day-to-day basis.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
As an infectious disease doctor, we listen and pay close attention to a patient's history. Where has the patient been to? What has the patient eaten? Who has the patient interacted with? Those kinds of things give us a clue to a diagnosis. Nothing can replace the information you get from listening to the patient and the things that he or she has to tell you.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
My wife and I both work for Memorial and we work with great people. The doctor is sometimes the most visible face of the healthcare team, but certainly not the only participant and we depend heavily on all of our team.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
My wife and I enjoy the outdoors. In the winter we enjoy skiing and in the summer we enjoy hiking. We have a couple of dogs and we enjoy going out with them. I also enjoy jogging and biking.

What do you like about Yakima?
There are lots of things I like about Yakima. I moved here from the east coast. I certainly don't miss the traffic. I like that the people here are nice to each other. My day-to-day involves interacting with people and when people are nice to you and you are nice to them, it's much easier and more rewarding. Then of course, the natural beauty around here. My wife and I enjoy the outdoors and the four distinct seasons.


Vicky Jones, MD

Vicky Jones is a medical oncologist and a medical director at North Star Lodge. When she began working with people who have been diagnosed with cancer, Vicky chose to approach her relationship with each patient directly, believing that it's best to always be honest with people. She walks the path with her patients, in good times and bad. During her free time, Vicky enjoys skiing with her family and judging competitive swim meets.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
Truth be known, I'm the black sheep in my family because my family is 100% engineers. Everybody is an engineer and I went off in a different path. At some point, my high school principal took me in the office and said, "Have you ever thought about going into medicine?" I had never thought about it. Once I started, that became my path.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
People see me as being very real. I'm kind of down there with them and speak in a way that is clear to them so people can truly understand what is happening. I don't hold back. I don't mince it. I don't sugar coat it. What I tell my patients over and over is that my job and my commitment is to be honest with them - not brutal, but honest. It's also my job to walk that path with them. If the path is getting tough, I don't abandon them. I think it's important for the patient to know that my team and I are there with them in good times and bad. That's our commitment.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
I think it's cool when you get into a community that wants to focus on the wellness of its community. Having a facility like Memorial where they truly are community focused, is such a pleasure. They look at, "What can we do to make our community healthier and better?" "Where are the needs, how can we meet them, how can we ourselves stay viable within this healthcare environment that's always changing?" But the mission and the focus is always on the community. That is really great to see. I had the opportunity to practice medicine in a number of different parts of the country. We've got something unique here with Memorial and with North Star.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
A lot of my non-working life has been centered around my husband and raising my son. We like to go skiing. When we moved here, that is one of the things that I took up. Also, my son has been a swimmer since he was five years old. He is a competitive swimmer both for the YMCA as well as at Davis, so I attend a lot of swim meets. Along the way I decided if I was going to attend them I may as well get down and dirty and take part in it, so I am now a certified swim judge. I do stroke and turn and starts, and in about a year I'll be a referee.

What do you like about Yakima?
I love the big outdoors feeling. I love the blue sky, but I also love the fact that we have the water and the mountains. When I want to escape up into the mountains I can do it in 45 minutes or less. One of the other things that I have been impressed with is how many Midwesterners live here. A lot of people from the Midwest feel at home here and I think it is because of the outdoors and the fact that you can see vistas and yet you have beautiful stuff around you. It's very agricultural so it takes me back to that very comfortable place in my growing up years.



Henry Kim, MD

Dr. Henry Kim specializes in pain management for Memorial. Henry first became interested in medicine while studying biochemistry in college. He knows that pain is a complicated thing, as there are a number of factors involved such as psychiatric issues, psychological and even lifestyle issues. He understands that when he sees a patient, he must see the whole person and not just their pain. He enjoys meeting new people and working with patients on a one-on-one level.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
I was a biochemistry major in college and I really liked science. I did research and that's what got me interested in medicine because there is a lot of science in medicine. And, I had some family members become sick with cancer, so I wanted to know something about medicine.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
I think they are looking for somebody who cares, listens carefully and then makes a correct diagnosis. To treat pain properly, the first thing you need to know is where the pain is coming from and then try to treat the underlying cause instead of just masking it.

Why did you choose to work at Memorial?
Memorial has very high job satisfaction among its employees and is regarded very highly among those who work here.

What do you like about Yakima?
One of the reasons I came to Yakima is because I love backpacking, the mountains and the outdoors. I like this area because you're surrounded by nature and you can get to the mountain within an hour.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
Photography was one of the things that I used to enjoy back in the days of the film. I go running three times a week if I can. And now with kids, all I do is just run after them.


Tanny Davenport, MD

Tanny Davenport grew up in Wapato and has been practicing medicine in Yakima since 2002. As a family physician at Family Medicine of Yakima, he has developed long-term relationships with his patients based on the philosophy of always being upfront and working to find the ideal solution for that individual. Dr. Davenport takes into consideration his patients' time and is working with Memorial to implement innovative, more efficient healthcare for those he works with. A father of two, Dr. Davenport spends his free time with his children.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
I come from a family of healthcare professionals and teachers and my mom is a nurse. Even before I knew what I wanted to do, she was telling me I'd be a physician. In my family, taking care of people is part of what we do, so I think it's engrained in me. As I went through my schooling and education, I found that working with people and combining my love of science was a natural fit.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
I'm upfront with patients. I tell them what I think. I don't try to tell them what to do. I'm realistic, and we'll figure out ways we can work together to meet our goals. I recognize the value of a patient's time. We will get you in as quickly as possible while still listening to you. We'll try to have services on site so that you don't have to go elsewhere. We'll have pre-fill meds for you. Those are ways we can make things even easier for the patient. In doing so, the patient is going to win. And, as a provider, I'm going to win too because I know my patients are going to get the care they need.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
Memorial has a lot to offer not only in the breadth of specialists, but the way you can communicate with them. As a primary care physician, it's important to know that you have people that have your back that you can communicate with and have open discussions with. I think the community overall is well connected and supportive. Physicians feel they are coming into a community where they can insert themselves into the healthcare team.

What do you like about Yakima?
I think it's a very diverse area with lots of different cultures and ethnicities. I'm very thankful for the bountiful fruits and vegetables that we have. I think it makes it easy to eat healthy. I love having four seasons. I like to snowboard and go up in the mountains and play golf in the summer and the spring. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
I have two boys, so I spend a lot of time playing and reading about dinosaurs. From a personal heath activity standpoint, I like to work out, play basketball, and golf. One of the weird things I like to do is run 18 holes. I wake up early in the morning and run as fast as I can while trying to shoot a decent score.


Sean Mullin, DO

A physiatrist or physical medicine and rehab specialist at Lakeview, Sean Mullin uses a holistic approach to help his patients. A cross between orthopedics and neurology, physiatry uses a number of different methods and types of medicine to treat patients. Seeing a patient who once was in a great amount of pain now with a smile is why Sean practices medicine. In his free time, Sean enjoys cooking, reading, walking his dog, snowboarding, and flying his Cessna aircraft with his wife.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
I was inspired by a good friend who practices the same specialty, physiatry. I knew I wanted to go into healthcare but I didn't know where I fit. It wasn't until I went with him on rounds seeing patients that it hit me that this was what I was supposed to be doing. At that point, I decided I would go to medical school. As I went in for my interview at the medical school, I found a flyer talking about osteopathic medicine. As soon as I read it, I knew that would be my profession.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
I try to treat people with respect. If they're in the mood for it, I try to use some humor and lighten up the situation. I try to have fun, do what needs to be done, treat them with respect, and do my best to do what is right and to answer their questions.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
When I came here, I did not know the quality of the medical community in Yakima, but I soon discovered that most of the doctors here have excellent training and excellent backgrounds. They are excellent physicians; as good as I've seen anywhere else, if not better.

What do you like about Yakima?
When I moved here, I was looking for a town that wasn't too big or too small. I wanted a place that had lots of outdoor recreational opportunities. I also like that it's near the mountains and full of very nice people.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
I have many interests. I like to cook, read, walk my dog, snowboard, and fly. I got bored one day and decided I wanted to learn how to fly a plane. It's been a lot of fun. I've got an old Cessna and my wife and I will jump in it on the weekend and take off somewhere.


Lorena DeMarco Garcia, MD, FACS

A vascular surgeon at Yakima Vascular Associates, Lorena Demarco-Garcia became a surgeon in order to help people live happy lives. She believes it's key for patients to be comfortable with the doctor they're seeing, making sure patients never feel alone and always have someone to count on. Lorena went to medical school in Buenos Aires and did her residency in New York before choosing to settle in Yakima with her husband. She enjoys camping, trekking, and traveling to far away countries on different continents.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
I knew that I wanted to become a doctor when I was sixteen or seventeen years old. I was debating whether I was always oriented towards biology and medicine, and then I decided to become a doctor. Right away I knew that I wanted to be a surgeon.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
I think in the patient-doctor relationship there are many things that are important. I think you have to be very comfortable with the doctors you are seeing, meaning that you need to be able to tell them everything. I think the way I approach the problems or the disease is with a team approach. I try to make the patients feel that they are not alone. They have to feel that they have somebody they can count on. As a patient, you are giving your body to the surgeons, so the relationship is very important. It's a lot of responsibility, but I think the team approach helps a lot in the process of making people healthier.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
As far as Memorial's culture, I've noticed there are a lot of physicians from all over the world. We have friends from Romania, Latin America, and India, so even coming from very cosmopolitan places like Argentina and New York, we felt comfortable. We feel like we are right at home here. The one thing that was really important to me was a community-oriented organization. They genuinely focus on how to make the community better. So that was one of the things that was important to us, and when I say us it's my husband and me. We've really wanted to make a difference in the community and Memorial is perfect for that.

What do you like about Yakima?
I like the outdoors and here you can go skiing, trekking, fishing, all within a five minute drive. That is a big difference coming from New York. There is no traffic and we really liked the medical community. You have to be happy where you work.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
I like skiing, camping, trekking, and travelling. Whenever we can, I use my vacations to travel. I like different cultures so I really enjoy traveling to really far away countries and different continents.


Amanda Ryder, MD

Amanda Ryder is a family doctor at Family Medicine of Yakima with 15 years of experience. Before becoming a doctor, Amanda spent time in South Africa and studied at the University of California San Diego. She loves the entire spectrum of medicine, being a physician and developing relationships with patients through listening to them. In her spare time, Amanda is an active member of her community - volunteering at church and her son's school, in addition to judging the elementary school science fair.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
I was a history major about to graduate from college and I spent a year in South Africa preparing a history thesis. When I got done with my dissertation, I decided I wanted to do something with my hands and my brain instead of just writing something. I had a class in biology and my professor suggested I go to medical school. Nobody had told me that before. I went back and ended up going to medical school. I needed something that involved people, involved helping others, and leaves the world a better place.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
I think patients look for honesty. Patients look for a provider who is thorough and gives good preventive care, in addition to treating their chronic medical illnesses. They look for somebody who can spend time with them, be honest about a prognosis, and is willing to go the extra mile to perhaps refill a medication on a Saturday or may be willing to stay late to take their phone call or answer their question.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
The atmosphere at Family Medicine is very congenial. From the moment people walk in the door we try to make them feel welcome and part of our family. We enjoy a bit of a casual atmosphere here. I really enjoy going up to the different floors and interacting with the nurses and patients. It's such a joy to work with people who all have the same ideal in mind which is to provide excellent patient care.

What do you like about Yakima?
There are a lot of advantages to working and living in the Yakima Valley. It's a joy to be able to ride your bike to work on most days. You can still get from one end of town to the other in about ten or fifteen minutes. We have very good schools, and I'm proud to raise my kids in the Yakima Valley. You can't beat 300 days of sunshine a year either.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
I volunteer for my son's school. I'm secretary of the PTA of Discovery Lab Elementary. We just finished the science fair and that was a privilege to be able to judge the different science experiments. With my church, I work with the garden and we grow organic vegetables which we then put out on Sunday morning for the congregation. Contributions from the garden fund go to special projects. Sometimes we'll give to an orphanage in Africa or a latrine project in Togo, or we've contributed to homeless clinics as well.


Daniel Doornink, MD

Dan Doornink is a general internist at Memorial Cornerstone Medicine. After playing college football at Washington State University, Dan was drafted by the New York Giants and then moved to the Seattle Seahawks; playing eight years in the NFL while simultaneously attending Medical School. He firmly believes in "straight talk," speaking honestly with his patients, creating an action plan and letting people know what to expect. Outside of work, Dan spends time with his wife and four kids in addition to doing medical malpractice consultant work.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
I think I decided that I'd like to be a doctor around the age of six. My dad was a doctor and so he took us to the hospital and on house calls so that's the only thing I ever wanted to do.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
Well I think the things that patients want today from me are straight talk-so we don't dance around any subject. We just bring it straight up and say, "What we really need to do is get you in an exercise program, and you've got to take your medicines. And we can talk about getting you some medicine to help you stop smoking, but that's got to go too." Straight talk is the thing that I think people are expecting from me.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
Memorial has had outstanding leadership. They have been at the forefront of not only having great customer service, but employing exceptional doctors. They have an attitude where if we need to change things, we'll make some changes. We'll do what it takes to get it right.

What do you like about Yakima?
I did my residency program in Spokane, so I liked eastern Washington. My folks lived here, and I moved back to be close to them. I love the Yakima Valley. My brother Dave had already set up practice in Yakima and so I joined that practice. I also really like the weather and the proximity to Seattle, Portland and Spokane.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
Well I went to college at Washington State University and played college football there. Playing college football and going to school as a pre-med student was probably the hardest thing I've ever done. I averaged about four hours of sleep a night for four years. It was interesting and really fun, but it was difficult. After college, I was drafted by the New York Giants. I played a year of professional football in New York and was traded to Seattle. It just so happened that when I got into medical school in Seattle the next year, they were the only medical school in the nation where I could continue to play football and go to medical school at the same time. I did those two things together for the next seven years. I got to play professional football for eight years and got to go to medical school for seven years.


Kristin Larson, MD

Kristin Larson is a family physician at Apple Valley Family Medicine. She grew up in Yakima, but decided to leave the valley after high school. Following graduation from Princeton and Penn State, she made the decision to return to her roots. As a physician, Kristin would much rather avoid disease by encouraging people to exercise and eat well; making changes to improve health rather than putting them on medication. She most values her relationships with patients and enjoys getting to know sometimes three and four generations of the same family.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
I was always interested in science as a child so medicine was a natural way to be around people and continue my interest in science. I was raised in a family where my dad's three brothers and his father were all physicians so I grew up around a large group of medical professionals.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
As a physician, it's important to listen to patients and figure out what they need to be successful in their health, what their priorities are and what they are most interested in. It doesn't do any good to tell patients what they need to do unless they are engaged and interested in making the changes you are suggesting since they are the ones who will have to do the work.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
We all work very well together. I enjoy working in such a supportive environment where I know if I'm going to be gone, my patients are still being well taken care of. I think it's nice to work with people you enjoy and who are easy to talk with. I really appreciate the support that my colleagues at Apple Valley bring both in their breadth of experience and their willingness to help out in whatever way they can.

What do you like about Yakima?
Memorial is a very good hospital; they have resources and a lot of different specialties. I do think one thing that is somewhat unique about Yakima's medical community is that in despite it being a relatively small town, we have a good breadth of specialists and sub-specialists and physicians who are extremely talented at what they do. We are very lucky that we have those doctors here in such a small town.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
I have two children who are five and eight. We like to go hiking. I like to ski, play a little tennis occasionally, go for runs, and I also like to read. We're working on getting back into travelling now that our children are getting to ages where we can do that without it being very difficult.


Silvia Labes, MD

From a very young age, Silvia Labes had a desire to care for others. As an internist at Memorial Cornerstone Medicine for nearly 10 years, she believes deeply in preventive care and focuses on keeping patients healthy while educating and empowering them. Silvia is an avid runner, loves the outdoors and is a devoted mother who wants to be remembered for helping others live better, healthier and happier lives.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
Since I was a little girl playing with dolls, I would always pretend that they were sick and I was taking care of them, so I guess I always had that in me - to take care of people who are not well and try to alleviate their suffering.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
I deeply believe in preventive care, focusing on staying healthy, educating and empowering patients to take charge of their health. When they get sick, I treat them like my own family, giving them the best advice, balancing the pros and cons of all the treatments that are available.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
My partners and staff have always been supportive. I have been with my Cornerstone Medical Group family for nearly 10 years and they've supported me through happy moments, like having my second baby, but also challenging times like fighting breast cancer. They were behind me all the way, helping, cheering and encouraging.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
I love physical activity - running--I ran my first ½ marathon last November in Seattle-- tennis--I am an active member of the Yakima Tennis Club, skiing, hiking, biking and really any outdoor activity. I love being surrounded by nature. I treasure my time with my family and I love following my kids Emma and Alex at their school and with their activities. I like to cook and try new recipes and most of the time the results are great, but don't ask my family about that, you might get a different answer.

When you retire, what would you like to be remembered for?
I would like to know that I made a difference in people's lives by helping them live better, healthier and happier lives. I also hope to have made a difference by alleviating pain and helping patients cross difficult moments in life, and in the end help them pass with dignity and peace. I am not a hero and I do not want to be one. I would like to know that when my name comes up people smile and feel well.


David Pommer, MD

David Pommer has been a family physician at Selah Family Medicine since 2011 and has been practicing in Yakima Valley for 10 years. During college, David decided to go into medicine to help others. He views a patient's health as a long term investment and believes that patients are looking for a good communicator and a doctor who is going to be their strongest advocate. David also writes a column for Playdate magazine, where he promotes the importance of healthy lifestyles for kids.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
When I was in college I was studying sciences and really enjoyed it, but I couldn't be in a lab all day. I realized I needed to be interacting with people. I wanted the opportunity to be able to serve other people, have long-term relationships with them and invest in those relationships.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
I think patients want a physician that listens to them and is going to be their advocate, whether that's in a clinic, in a hospital setting, or in a crisis. They want someone who can be a good communicator that can translate what they read on the internet and other places into what it means for them personally.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
I enjoy a lot of the teamwork that I have with my nurse and with my colleagues. I enjoy the teamwork that I have with the nursing staff at the hospital and I often get very good feedback from patients about their nursing care. I enjoy the access to other specialists that I have, as I can freely and readily get someone into a specialist that needs to be seen quickly.

What do you like about Yakima?
I grew up in western Washington in Issaquah so I was used to a lot of rain and then went to school in Spokane, Pullman, Seattle and Oklahoma. Yakima seemed like a great place to be close to family and friends and sunshine.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
I'm married with three kids. They are three, nine and eleven so it takes a lot of energy to keep up with them. I enjoy swimming and exercise and doing things with my kids. I enjoy playing piano and I also serve and teach in our church.


Carl Olden, MD

Carl Olden is a family physician at Pacific Crest Family Medicine in Yakima. Carl has known he wanted to be a doctor since he was nine years old. After graduating from college and medical school in Seattle, Carl became interested in maternity care, as it is such a special time in people's lives. He has been involved in teaching in locations around the world including the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Moldova and Lithuania, and in Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Carl strives to live a life with purpose, and hopes that he will inspire others to do the same.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
I was a curious kid, always wanting to see how things worked, and I loved science. I saw family members suffering with health issues and wanted to be able to help. I was nine years old when I told my parents I was going to be a doctor so the exact inspirational moment isn't clear, but I did get a dissecting kit (a fish, frog and mouse preserved in formalin) for Christmas that year.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
Do all that you can, as well as you can, for as many as you can, for as long as you can. Treat others with the compassion, dignity and respect that you would like to receive. Treat everyone with more kindness than necessary because you never know how much they really need it.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
Commitment, care, compassion, kindness, humor - the list goes on. We are a family.

What do you like about Yakima?
I was born in Toppenish, educated in Wapato through the 6th grade and attended White Swan for Jr. and Sr. High. The Yakima Valley has always been home. Growing up on the Yakama Reservation with a father who was an enrolled Yakama tribal member allowed me a look into the local culture and heritage that many do not get to experience. Plus growing up on a farm, taking care of livestock and crops from an early age gave me work experience and responsibility that has always been part of my core.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
I like to build things (houses, etc.) and look forward to learning new things around home repair - unfortunately I've had way too much recent opportunity. I like to teach my kids to be able to do the same, much as my father taught me. I've always been interested in safety and quality around maternity care, and for the past 16 years I have been part of the American Academy of Family Practice's Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics Program. For the past 6 years, I've sat on the International Advisory Board as well as been the Chair for the past two years. During that time I've taught many courses across the U.S. and have had the opportunity to personally start up new programs in the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Moldova and Lithuania, in Mexico, in Saudi Arabia and in Qatar, with many more in the works worldwide.

When you retire, what would you like to be remembered for?
Why retire when I'm having fun? I guess I hope that when it is all over my family, friends and colleagues will recognize that my purpose in life was to live a life with purpose, and hopefully that will inspire others to do the same.


Daniel Kwon, MD

Specializing in physical medicine rehabilitation and pain medicine, Daniel Kwon is a physician at Water's Edge Pain Clinic. Daniel got into medicine because he likes the challenges of science; the fact that everything is dynamic and moving. He also enjoys the diversity associated with helping patients get to a better place than their current situation. For fun, Daniel enjoys spending time with his family, outdoor related activities, and interacting with the Yakima community.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
Medicine was always intriguing for me. I liked the sciences, the challenges, and the things that were dynamic and moving. It isn't something that is repetitive every single time and so medicine allows me to have diversity while still working with people. I like interacting with people and I really enjoy working with them to get them to a better place. Medicine seemed to offer a different type of experience with every type of patient that we encounter.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
I enjoy making an impact on a patient's life. Not just making a difference for a person in terms of how they feel, but their global function and activities too. We know that medical conditions intertwine with every person's life whether it's social and family life, work life, or recreation. As a physician we have the ability to be involved in those areas and make a difference for a patient.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
I'm very satisfied and happy with the physicians and colleagues that we have in Yakima. The doctors in town have really surprised me with their honesty, compassion, intellect, and their ability to care for patients.

What do you like about Yakima?
I believe in balance. Balance between work, balance between lifestyle. I don't think it's healthy if somebody spends all of their time working, researching, or studying. Having a proper balance where the physician is given opportunities to excel at their job and in their education, but also have time to do their own thing in life is extremely important. Yakima offers that kind of experience.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
I enjoy my family, my friends and being outside.


Jeffrey Ventre, MD

A physiatrist at Lakeview, Jeff Ventre is a former chiropractor and fun spirited outdoorsman. He believes that strong partnerships are critical in promoting healthy lifestyles, as people often support the things they helped create. Jeff works in the realm of pain, treating spinal cord injuries and other back problems. More specifically, he specializes in the area of medicine that focuses on bones, muscles and nerves. His goal is to help his patients be free of pain and live more active lifestyles.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
I was born in Ohio, but moved to Florida as a young man. I spent my early days there through college and through my experiences at the Marine Park in Orlando. My connection with killer whales is what brought me to the Pacific Northwest because I knew that this is where they lived. When I was scouting out colleges for chiropractic school, I was looking at Minneapolis and Portland... and Portland won. I was able to go up to the San Juan Islands on a regular basis and do some field work with killer whales at the Center for Whale Research which is a famous place that has been doing a photo identification study for killer whales since the late '70s. I became a part of that in 1996. I still go see the whales regularly to this day, including the last few months. Portland was my home for eight years, and then I decided to go to medical school.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
I think patients just want to feel better. I'm dealing more in the realm of pain than I am like infectious disease so people don't come to me with a runny nose. They come to me because they have low back pain or a spinal cord injury. If I can, I think it is important to have a connection. I think patients appreciate that. If they can believe in you and you can work with them, it's gratifying for everyone. The simple answer is that most patients want to get out of pain and they want to lead a more active life. That is where I come in.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
What I love about Lakeview is the chemistry that we have. We just get along really well. We have common interests and we are on the same team. I really enjoy coming to work.

What do you like about Yakima?
You have the mountains, the river, and the sunshine. I grew up waterskiing, but that's kind of moved to electric skateboarding now. Since I've been here working at Lakeview, I've gotten some really great support. It is fun to work here and fun to be in this climate. I've lived on the west side and loved it. I had the choice to stay there, but I chose to come here and I'm really happy I did.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
In the late '80s into the mid-'90s, I was formally a marine mammal trainer at Sea World in Florida and I worked with killer whales, dolphins, false killer whales, beluga whales, pacific white-sided dolphins, and a few other different species. It was a great experience to have. I'm very thankful to the company for hiring me. I eventually fell out of favor with the idea of keep keeping killer whales in captivity and that led me to a role in a feature US documentary at Sundance Film Festival.


David Doornink, MD

David Doornink has been an internist at Cornerstone Medical Clinic ever since he graduated from medical school. He has an appreciation for the effects of disease on people and how as a physician he can help people deal with an illness. David likes getting to know his patients, understanding their likes and dislikes while helping them solve their health problems. As a resident of Yakima, David enjoys outdoor activities and has done quite a bit of backpacking in the Cascades.

What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
I had originally planned on becoming an engineer, but I quickly fell in love with life sciences and changed my major to zoology. I had actually planned on avoiding medicine as a career primarily because my father was a physician and I felt that I did not want to automatically follow in his footsteps. But fairly quickly, I fell in love with life sciences and began to seriously consider medicine as a career. Once I got into medical school, I developed an appreciation of the effects of disease on real people and wanted to learn what it was that we as providers could do to help people deal with human illness.

Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
First off, I think patients are certainly looking for competence in a physician. But more than that, patients want and need empathy. They want a physician that they believe is listening carefully to their concerns and is looking for the answer to their problems as keenly and as eagerly as if that were the physician's own problem. They want a physician who will identify with their problem and not just be there because it's their job, but be there because they want the patient to get better as badly as the patient does.

What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
From the time I came to Yakima thirty years ago, I've always appreciated Memorial's culture and Memorial's approach to the treatment of individuals. When I first came to Yakima, Memorial's administrator Rick Linneweh sat down with the new physicians, ate lunch with us and talked to us about Memorial and Memorial's commitment to the community. That immediately impressed me. Since that time, Memorial has continued to have a culture of community service and has gone to a lot of effort and even expense to develop a teamwork approach within the organization that I think has been really good for this community.

What do you like about Yakima?
One thing I've always valued about practicing medicine in Yakima is the congeniality of the relationships between providers here. I've spoken to many of my classmates and physicians with whom I've done postgraduate training and discussed with them their practice situations. Many of them have been involved in practices where there was a great deal of distrust within the hospital staff. In this community, even though there may be differences of opinion on how problems should be handled, physicians get along very well. It makes practicing here a lot more fun.

Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
One thing I've enjoyed about living in Yakima has been the opportunities for outdoor sports. My family and I have done a lot of backpacking and hiking in the Cascades. It's been great living in a place that has great access to scenic areas and hiking opportunities. Also, music has been a large part of our family's life. Everything from classical music to bluegrass music has emanated from our home.

When you retire, what would you like to be remembered for?
I don't look forward to retirement because I enjoy what I do too much to think about retirement right now, but I know that day will eventually come. When I do retire I'd like to be remembered as the physician who took the extra time to listen to what patients had to say. I think it's really as simple as that.