Weight Management Staff
Dr. David Lauter, M.D., F.A.C.S
Medical Director, Bariatric Medicine
Dr. Lauter joined the NorthStar Medical Specialists staff as Bariatric Medical Director in 2016. Dr. Lauter went to undergraduate school at Oberlin College and received his Doctorate of Medicine from University of Rochester in 1986. He completed his general surgery internship at the University of Washington and his general surgery residency at the University of California at San Diego in 1991.
He has practiced surgery in the Pacific Northwest since 1992. During that time his private practice has included general, vascular, surgical oncology, bariatric and minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery.
In 2012, he closed his private practice to allow time to pursue a number of other interests including overseas humanitarian surgery with Doctors Without Borders/MSF. Since then, he has worked with MSF in the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The success of bariatric weight loss ultimately depends upon a patient’s commitment to living a healthy lifestyle, which is why it is so important that every patient undergo complete evaluation as well as begin a program grounded in success from the start. This is what NorthStar has always provided and the advantage of a complete and locally based program has to offer.”
Certified Health Counselor
Pamela Shaffer, Certified Health Counselor has been working with patients at NorthStar for over nine years. She has a passion for helping others pursue a healthy and active lifestyle. Over the years, Pamela has worked to create a positive experience for our weight management and pulmonary rehabilitation patients always encouraging proper nutrition and activity. Her health coaching background and education coupled with her desire to see people succeed on the path to achieving a better quality of life are what make Pamela such a positive and valued asset to patients.
When she’s not at work, Pamela enjoys spending time with her family, walking her Chihuahua, Thomas, studying the latest information relevant to her field, and feeding the neighborhood raccoons.
Anna Peters, ARNP
Nurse Practitioner, Bariatric Medicine
Anna was born and raised in San Francisco and is the youngest of three children. After graduating High School in San Francisco, Anna attended nursing school in Hawaii. Anna graduated with her Family Nurse Practitioner degree in 2002. She has practiced in various specialties, and discovered her passion when she found the specialty of Bariatrics.
Anna’s career has taken her across the globe where she worked for the Saudi government as a nurse. After completing her graduate degree, Anna had the opportunity to work in conjunction with the US Army to develop and manage a bariatric program in Hawaii. It was at this time that Anna discovered her passion for Bariatrics.
Anna believes losing weight and becoming physically fit is a journey. She desires to help people reach their weight loss goals and maintain optimal health for a lifetime. She finds the element to success is a true commitment to oneself, and having the support of professionals providing guidance through the process is essential. Anna believes its important to show yourself you can lose weight and that your confidence is reborn once you achieve even a five pound weight loss.
Anna has worked at Stanford University and the University of California in surgical weight management. She helped patients reach their preoperative weight loss prior to surgery, and monitored and provided guidance for patients post surgery. She also participated in research studies regarding the positive effects of weight loss. Her most recent experience is in medical weight loss.
Anna loves to travel and experience many cultures. She has found that the immersion into other cultures has broadened her horizons and given her the ability to see things from other cultural perspectives.
In her spare time Anna enjoys socializing with friends and discovering new ways to use herbs and spices in preparing healthy nutritional meals.
Maria Dalzot, MS, RDN, Pn1
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Maria is a certified Registered Dietitian with a Master of Science Degree in Human Nutrition & Food Science that she earned from West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. Maria moved to Bellingham in 2012 and started a private practice where she worked with people of all ages and disciplines to help them reach their health, wellness, and performance goals.
“I want to share my passion, enthusiasm and respect for food with others with the goal that they are able to have a positive relationship with food, see eating healthfully as a lifestyle, and make informed dietary decisions that directly impact their overall quality of life.”
Maria also runs professionally for La Sportiva as a trail and mountain runner, is a United States Track and Field National Trail Champion, and a multi-time U.S. mountain team member.
Sleep Medicine Staff
Zachary Webb, MD
Medical Director, Sleep Medicine
Dr. Zachary Webb is medical director of sleep medicine at Northstar Medical Specialists and focuses his practice entirely on the management of sleep disorders. He is board certified in neurology and Sleep Medicine. In 2005 he completed his neurology residency and fellowship training and moved to the Bellingham area.
Dr. Webb has an interest in all aspects of sleep medicine. He considers good communication to be vital to diagnosing and treating his patients. “Most sleep problems are treatable. Helping patients understand the cause of their sleep disorder is instrumental in successfully treating the problem.”
Dr. Webb’s wife is also a physician, who practices pediatrics in Mount Vernon. They moved to this area one year ago because of proximity to the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, as well as having family nearby in Seattle. Both he and his wife grew up in the Pacific Northwest and had always hoped to set up their practices in this region. In his free time, Dr. Webb can be found biking, hiking, spending time with his wife, woodworking, and gardening.
Earl Franklin, PA-C
Physician Assistant, Sleep Medicine
Earl began his medical career as a EMT/Medic in the 1980s. He then became a Registered Nurse and worked as an RN in various positions while obtaining a BS degree in Biochemistry from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He attended Northeastern University in Boston to become a Physician Assistant, graduating in September of 1993. Earl moved to Bellingham in 1994 and worked for 6 years practicing in Asthma and Allergy. He then worked for 15 years at a large multi specialty clinic doing urgent care for Internal and Family Medicine departments.
Earl joined NorthStar Medical Specialists in 2016 to work in the Sleep Medicine Department. “People often underestimate the importance of sleep and how much it can affect their overall health and well being.”
Earl enjoys spending time with his family, doing CrossFit, spending time outside working in the yard and hiking, riding motorcycles and playing as well as building guitars.
Meralee Byker, PA-C
Physician Assistant, Sleep Medicine
Meralee is a certified Physician Assistant (PA-C) practicing full-time in the specialty of Sleep Medicine, focusing entirely on the management of sleep disorders. After undergraduate pre-med studies at the University of Northern Colorado, she studied medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Meralee completed the Physician Assistant program with an added fellowship in geriatrics, and received her PA degree with honors.
She has practiced as a PA for over 25 years, initially working in Trauma, Orthopedics and General Surgery, treating injuries, doing complete physical exams and performing a wide variety of minor surgical procedures. She also worked overseas for a number of years before coming to Bellingham. She trained in the specialty of Sleep Medicine under her colleague, Dr. Zachary Webb, and has expanded her knowledge and practice at Northstar over the last 5 years.
Meralee believes that a good understanding of the whole person, and a well-informed patient, are the keys to effective treatment of the person’s sleep problems, and she especially enjoys it when the patient participates actively in his/her care. “Most patients are amazed to learn just how much a sleep disorder can impact every area of their life, physically, mentally and emotionally”.
Outside of work, Meralee enjoys music, travel, the outdoors, church and mission-related activities, and especially time with her husband and two children.
Sarah Viera, MS, ACSM, EP-C
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Specialist
Sarah holds a Master Degree in Kinesiology (Exercise Science) from Western Washington University and is an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist. Growing up in Whatcom County, she has a passion for bettering the health of those in her community. She has worked with individuals in both personal and group settings for over five years, helping them develop an understanding and enjoyment of beneficial exercise.
In her free time, Sarah enjoys playing soccer, traveling, and attending sports events (especially Sounders and Mariners games).
Donald Berry, MD
Medical Director, Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Dr. Donald Berry has been practicing Pulmonology since 1984 and is certified with the American Board of Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine. In 1971, he received his BA at Haverford College, Pennsylvania followed by his Doctorate of Medicine in 1979 at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, New York.
Dr. Berry is exceedingly active in the medical community. He is currently the director of the Critical Care Unit and Respiratory Care Department at St. Joseph’s Hospital. He directed the St. Joseph’s and St. Luke’s Hospital Pulmonary Rehabilitation programs before their discontinuation in 1988. His extensive background in Pulmonary Rehabilitation from the University of California, San Diego’s renowned training and research center, make his expertise uniquely valuable.
Dr. Berry grew up in New England but has made Whatcom County his home with his wife and children since 1985. In his free time, you might find Dr. Berry golfing, skiing, fly fishing, hiking with his dog or listening to classical music. He also enjoys photography.
Christopher P. Mathews, RT, LRCP
Christopher Mathews is President and CEO of NorthStar Medical Specialists and NorthStar Associates, PLLC. His primary interest in starting the practice was to utilize his experience and background as a Respiratory Therapist to provide care in an outpatient setting serving patients with few options to slow the progression of their disease. Having worked in acute care settings for almost 14 years, he saw patients with chronic lung disease frustrated by their disease and wanted to help them manage their symptoms, improve their quality of life and help prevent recurrent hospitalizations. By providing a safe, evidence based outpatient treatment program Christopher envisioned a way to bridge the gap in care options in Whatcom County through Pulmonary Rehabilitation and outpatient Respiratory Therapy.
Christopher’s experience and knowledge in building this program were only further advanced by his ongoing professional interests in Sleep and Bariatric Medicine. Bringing these three medical disciplines together in a complimentary, accessible environment has been the long term vision of the practice.
Christopher’s true happiness though, is found at home in Bellingham with his wife Carolina and two children, Thomas and Sophia.
Suzanne Hull, CMA
Certified Medical Assistant
Don Gorsegner, RPSGT, RST
Sleep Lab Coordinator
Front Office Coordinator
Patient Service Representitive
Billing Coordinator/Patient Service Representitive
Bariatric Surgical Staff
Jeffrey A. Hunter, MD, FACS
Dr. Jeffrey Hunter, Bariatric Surgeon, graduated from the University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine with his doctorate in Medicine in 1983 and completed his residency at Virginia Mason in 1988. Dr. Hunter is the Section Head for Virginia Mason Federal Way and Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery. His areas of surgical interests include advanced laparoscopic surgery and surgery for obesity, breast cancer, hiatal hernia, endocrine disease and gastrointestinal disease. He is board certified with the American Board of Surgery and he is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
Dr. Hunter has been working with NorthStar Medical Specialists since 2013. When Dr. Hunter is not busy with his surgical practice, he enjoys spending time with his family.
Randy Brandeis; MSW, CSW
Randy is a board certified clinical social worker in private practice, who received his Masters degree in 1976 from the University of Illinois Jane Addams School of Social Work. He has been a consultant with the Northwest Center for Medical Weight Loss for the last 25 years. Randy also facilitates bariatric surgery weight management support groups at North Star Medical Specialists Overlake Medical Center and previously at Northwest Hospital and North. He is a consultant at Swedish Medical Center where he provides seminars to newly diagnosed Diabetics on achieving successful lifestyle adjustments for this condition.
Randy has been in private practice since 1987 where his focus has been on the cognitive and behavioral treatment of obesity and other chronic medical conditions. He also works with compulsive eating disorders as well as other habitual behavioral dependencies. He has served in a consulting role with Novartis Nutrition and has taken part in both clinical trials and the development of curriculums for the behavioral treatment of obesity. Randy has been an adjunct instructor at Bastyr University where he taught courses on eating disorders, the psychology of facilitating lifestyle adjustments and the psychology of sport and exercise.