Our Providers

Internal Medicine


Chad Antonie, ARNP

Chad Antonie, ARNP

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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Odhett Cojocaru, MD

Odhett Cojocaru, MD

1. What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?

There is nothing in particular that "inspired" me to choose medicine. I have always wanted to be a doctor and this is the only thing I ever wanted to do. I suppose it was my nature and my love for people that guided me towards this career.

2. Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?

My philosophy is that an educated patient is the best patient. This is why I will continue to empower my patients by educating them about their health and illnesses while always respecting their wishes and goals about medical care.

3. What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?

In Yakima we have a wonderful medical community and I always felt that I am a member of a real team.

4. Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.

Not many people know that my first name actually contains a typo. It should have been spelled "Odette".

5. What do you like about Yakima?

One of the most pleasant discoveries I made coming to Yakima was the bounty of cherries, peaches, apples and all the other goodies I get to enjoy every year.

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
    Memorial Hospital 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Hospital 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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Avnish Gill, MD

Avnish Gill, MD

Avnish Gill grew up just across the border in Penticton, British Columbia, and appreciates the rural, arid setting of Yakima. An internist, Dr. Gill has a special interest in hospice and palliative care.

  1. What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
    I've always been interested in medicine, from the time I first met my pediatrician. Internal medicine allows you to be analytical and solve problems, while still allowing for a lot of patient involvement and interaction.
  2. Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
    I enjoy working with the patients to solve their problems. My interest in hospice and palliative care really enables me to focus on optimizing their comfort, which is something I value.
  3. What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
    Physicians bring unique perspectives to each case. It's always good to get their input and the thoughts of other people on the care team.
  4. Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
    Most people don't realize I'm Canadian, which is funny. They also might not know how I enjoy my spare time: practicing yoga, kayaking and taking in movies.
  5. What do you like about Yakima?
    It reminds me of home. That's comforting, and home isn't too far away, so it's easy to visit family and friends.

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Puneet Kakkar, MD

Puneet Kakkar, MD

Specialty: Family Practice

Medical School: University of Delhi

Residency: niversity of Illinois - College of Medicine

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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Gabriel Lascar MD

Gabriel Lascar MD

Specialty: Internal Medicine

Medical school: Carol Davila University

Residency: Huron Hospital - Cleveland Clinic Health Systems

Board-certified in: Internal Medicine

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Timothy L. Melhorn, MD, MMM, CPE

Timothy L. Melhorn, MD, MMM, CPE

Specialty: Medical Management

Medical school: University of Washington

Master of Medical Management: Tulane University

Board-certified in: Medical Management and Internal Medicine

Primary philosophy of care, community service, or anything you would like to share to prospective and current patients.

I work with Memorial Cornerstone Medicine and the Memorial Hospital family of services to provide excellent clinical services delivered with respect and compassion. I enjoy developing new programs to improve patient access and increase quality of care. As a member of the Memorial Foundation Board of Trustees, I am chairperson of the Cottage in the Meadow capital campaign steering committee. Cottage in the Meadow will be an inpatient hospice facility that will serve patients and their families in Yakima and all of Central Washington for generations to come.

Personal Summary

  • Grew up: Graduated from Cascade High School in Everett, Washington.
  • Hobbies: Being with family, enjoying my son's baseball games, reading, learning, and fly fishing.
  • Practice: Dr. David Williams recruited me in 1977 and I joined Yakima Valley Internists. As we grew we changed our name to Cornerstone Medical Clinic in 1994. Now, as of 2010, we are Memorial Cornerstone Medicine.

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Mariela Morales, MD

Mariela Morales, MD
  1. What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
    Both my dad and my grandfather are physicians, so I grew up knowing the role of a doctor and how special a doctor-patient relationship could be. I always loved science but more importantly, I was intrigued by the human body. I liked the idea of interacting with people who put all their trust in me, people who would teach me about their lives and illnesses and in the process, I could try to make their lives healthier and better. This is what I enjoy most to this day.
  2. Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
    I would like to think that I approach my patients as a whole and I look at the big picture. I like to keep things simple and I want to keep the conversation going both ways. One of my biggest beliefs is that patients should be in charge of their health and that I'm a facilitator of the process. I strongly believe in evidence-based medicine and this plays a huge role in the care of my patients.
  3. What do you like about Yakima?
    I love the size, the lack of traffic (coming from Houston this is a big change) and the friendliness of the people in this town. I love the landscape and the variety of activities and things nearby that allow you to stay active. I love all of the local fruits and vegetables and that big cities are so close.
  4. Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
    I am an environmentalist and I care about the world we live in and what we are going to leave to our children, therefore, I do a lot of research on how to live a sustainable life. I enjoy trying food from different countries and I love animals. I'm also very happy when I explore the great outdoors which is very easy to do around here.
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    Vicki Schaub, ARNP

    Vicki Schaub, ARNP

    Jeff Van Troba, PA-C

    Vicki Schaub, ARNP