Plessen Medical Group
Jan B. Tawakol, Interventional Nephrologist and Internal Medicine
Dr. Tawakol is an experienced physician with multiple board certifications including Internal Medicine, Nephrology, and Hypertension as well as Interventional Nephrology. He has also been trained in Vascular Access Surgery and is currently one of only a few physicians in the United States to be certified in the complete spectrum of dialysis access related care. He has extensive experience, in excess of 10,000 cases across multiple procedures, published numerous medical research articles, and presented at several national as well as international meetings.
Dr. Tawakol received his medical degree from the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany in 1997. After working in Spain as well as the United Kingdom, he completed his residency in Internal Medicine at New York University Medical Center in June 2002, his fellowships in Nephrology and Hypertension in 2003 and Interventional Nephrology in 2004 at the University of Miami, FL. He then underwent Microscopic Vascular Surgery Training in Paris, France. Dr. Tawakol held the position of the Training Program Director at the Southwest Kidney Institute in Phoenix, Arizona from 2005 until 2009.
Dr. Tawakol is a founding member of Plessen Healthcare, LLC and lives on St. Croix with his wife Dr. Tasnim Khan.
Tasnim Khan, Interventional Nephrologist and Internal Medicine
Dr. Khan is the Chief Medical Officer for Plessen Healthcare, LLC. She received her medical degree from the University of Malta Medical School and moved to the U.S. in 1998 to complete an Internal Medicine Internship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia, PA. She then went on to complete an Internal Medicine Residency at Strong Memorial Hospital of the University of Rochester, NY.
Dr. Khan completed a fellowship in the specialty of Nephrology and Hypertension, followed by a fellowship in Interventional Nephrology at the University of Miami, FL. She holds multiple board certifications including Internal Medicine, Nephrology and Hypertension, and Interventional Nephrology.
Prior to her arrival in the US Virgin Islands, Dr. Khan was in private practice at the Southwest Kidney Institute, PLC in Phoenix, AZ where she co-founded the Interventional Nephrology and Vascular Access center of the practice and trained physicians in this sub-specialty. She has published and presented at several national and international conferences. She is a member of the American Society of Diagnostic and Interventional Nephrology.
Dr. Khan is one of the founding members of Plessen Healthcare, LLC and lives on St. Croix with her husband, Dr. Jan Tawakol.
Malgorzata Dawiskiba, MD, Rheumatology
Dr. Malgorzata Dawiskiba has been practicing medicine in the Boston area since 2008. She is board certified and licensed in both Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
She was raised on St. Croix prior to attending college and pursuing her medical training in the Boston area.
Dr. Dawiskiba received her medical degree from Tufts School of Medicine in Boston in 2008, and completed her internal medicine training at Cambridge Hospital, a Harvard Teaching affiliate. She was honored with the position of Chief Medical Resident in 2011 while at Cambridge. She subsequently completed her Rheumatology training at Tufts Medical Center in 2014.
Since 2014, she has maintained an active rheumatologic practice in Massachusetts at Beth Israel Lahey Health as well as a continued academic affiliation with Tufts Medical School.
Colleen Cooke, Registered Dietician Nutritionist
Ms. Cooke has over 20 years of experience working in clinical and community settings and holds a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition. Most recently she earned a Certificate in Chronic Kidney Disease Nutrition Management.
From cardiac rehab patients to Tour de France athletes she brings a wide variety of nutrition experiences to our community. She also has extensive experience working with eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. Ms. Cooke enjoys helping patients to live healthier lives while incorporating their favorite foods into their daily routine and encouraging an active lifestyle.
Ear, Nose & Throat
Gavin Gassen, Otolaryngologist
Born in New Orleans, Dr. Gassen completed most of his medical training at Tulane University School of Medicine then joined the U.S. Navy as a Naval Flight Surgeon. After flight school in Pensacola, Florida, he served tours of duty in Japan with Carrier Air Group 5 on the USS Kitty Hawk, and with Marine Air Group 39 at Camp Pendleton, California. After his naval service he then completed his otolaryngology residency at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD before moving to St. Croix in 2012. He reluctantly left the island in early 2018 following Hurricanes Irma & Maria.
From 2018 to 2022, as a faculty member of the Tulane Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, he provided care in the Tulane University and Veterans Administration Hospital systems in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Dr. Gassen is excited to return home to St. Croix with his wife, Myra and two new sons, Fin and Milo as of July, 2022. He looks forward to serving new and established patients once again in the USVI.
Urgent Care & Specialty Clinic Team
John Cook, DPM, Podiatrist
Dr. Cook is trained in the 3D correction of bunions, Lapiplasty, which uses the latest technology in foot surgery to achieve the best results. He also uses a variety of the latest products to heal Diabetic Wounds.
Falling in love with Saint Croix more than 20 years ago, he has visited multiple times per year. His youngest daughter moved here 2 years ago and works in the hospitality industry.
Lisa Gay, Family Nurse Practitioner
Lisa Gay is a Family Nurse Practitioner who has been practicing on St. Croix since 2010. She received a Master’s in nursing from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is one of our primary care providers and focuses on preventative health and maintaining wellness. She also has a passion for ear, nose, and throat care. She was awarded the AANP State Award for Excellence for the USVI in 2018.
Jeffery Klempen, MD, Emergency Medicine
Claire Lokitis PA-C
Rodger Melton, Family Nurse Practitioner
Rodger Melton is a Family Nurse Practitioner with 20 years of experience in Emergency Medicine/Urgent Care and also has a special interest in men’s health. He received a Masters of Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He and his wife fulfilled a 30-year dream in search of an island home when they found St Croix in 2015. They moved to St Croix permanently in 2016 and Rodger joined the Plessen family in 2018.
Jamie Schmidt, Physician Assistant
Jamie Schmidt, MA, PA-C is a Physician Assistant with over 20 years of experience in urgent care and family medicine. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Case Western Reserve University, a Master of Arts in Child Development with a focus on hospitalized children at the University of Akron, and her Physician Assistant degree at the Cleveland State University/CCC PA Program. She holds an active PA license in the USVI and Florida. She has also worked in education as an Assistant Professor of Medical Education at the Barry University Physician Assistant program, St. Croix campus.
Professionally her passion is urgent care medicine, but outside of work she enjoys running, gardening, painting, snorkeling, boating, and traveling. She is a frequent volunteer at local sporting events. She lives with her husband and their teenage son.
Walter Pedersen, MD, Orthopedics
Kevin Stewart, MD, Ophthalmology
Kevin Stewart, MD completed his fellowship training in glaucoma at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital/New York University, Dr. Stewart served as a resident instructor at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, MEETH and St. Vincent’s Medical Center. After promotion to Associate Director of Glaucoma Clinical Services at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, he supervised the clinical and surgical training of ophthalmology residents and the provision of glaucoma services to over 10,000 glaucoma patients each year. At NYEEI he performed over 500 glaucoma and cataract surgeries as well as over 1000 laser procedures each year. Dr. Stewart was the recipient of the 2006 John S. Hermann, MD Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the 2007 Residents’ Award for Outstanding Teaching and Dedicated Service. Dr. Stewart started his private practice in Manhattan in 2005 and still maintains a faculty appointment as an Associate Clinical Professor at New York Medical College. Dr. Stewart joined the Bascom Palmer and Memorial Regional staff and founded the Ocean Ophthalmology Group.
In addition to private practice, Dr. Stewart is actively involved in clinical research and industry activities related to the discovery of new products and procedures for the improvement of eye care. He has served as an investigator and a principal investigator in clinical trials in the US and abroad. He is an Adjunct Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University, co-founder of a nanotech biomedical device company based in New Jersey and China, and has served as Director of Marketing and Development at an ophthalmic pharmaceutical company based in New York.
Dr. Stewart serves as Chief Ophthalmic Surgeon of the Africa Surgical Assistance Project, where he has trained surgeons in West Africa to perform aqueous shunt and other surgeries for glaucoma. He has served as an ophthalmic surgeon and instructor in Madurai, India, periodically performs cataract surgery in Sierra Leone, and helped to establish a nonprofit surgical clinic in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. He co-founded an eye hospital in Mombasa, Kenya, and established and maintains an eye clinic for the US Department of Health in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, where he performs cataract surgery for the un- and under-insured on a monthly basis.
Dr. Stewart is a member of the American Glaucoma Society, the Florida Glaucoma Society, the New York Glaucoma Society, the Miami Ophthalmological Society, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the New York State Ophthalmological Society, and the New York Society for Clinical Ophthalmology. He is on staff at Memorial Regional Hospital and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.
Fred Chien, MD, Ophthalmology
Fred Chien, MD attended college at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he graduated in 1999 with departmental and Phi Beta Kappa honors in biophysics. He attended Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York for both medical school and internship training. Dr. Chien completed his residency training at Stanford and his medical retina fellowship at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami. In 2008, Dr. Chien joined Kaiser Permanente in California as a medical retina specialist and cataract surgeon where he has performed over 5000 cataract surgeries in the last 10 years. He specializes in the non-surgical treatment of diabetic retinal disease, macular degeneration, vein occlusions, and other retina disorders. He also specializes in micro-incisional cataract surgery and offers premium lens implants such as multifocal lenses and astigmatism correcting lenses. Dr. Chien is published in journals such as Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, Archives of Ophthalmology, Retina, and JAMA Ophthalmology and has presented scientific posters at numerous ophthalmology society meetings. He joined Plessen Ophthalmology to serve the local community in 2018
Jesse Pelletier, MD, Ophthalmology
Jesse Pelletier, MD completed his ophthalmology residency at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and fellowship training in cornea/refractive surgery at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. He currently remains affiliated with Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and the Miami-VA as Voluntary Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology with responsibilities that include surgical training of residents, clinic supervision, and clinical research within the general ophthalmology and cornea divisions.
In private practice, as a founding partner of the Ocean Ophthalmology Group, Dr. Pelletier has experience treating many types of ocular morbidities including cataracts, refractive disorders, corneal infection and inflammation, uveitis, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, cancerous and pre-malignant lesions of the cornea and conjunctiva, and dry eye disease. Dr. Pelletier also performs a variety of specialized surgeries including micro-incisional cataract surgery with premium intraocular lens implantation, ocular surface reconstruction, pterygium excision, and corneal transplantation. Dr. Pelletier has expertise in endothelial keratoplasty (also known as DSAEK), a form of transplantation in which only the deepest portion of the cornea is transplanted. This novel technique has revolutionized corneal surgery allowing for faster healing and more stable postoperative ocular integrity.
Dr. Pelletier has written and spoken extensively on infections of the ocular surface, epidemiology of eye infections, and ocular microbiology. Moreover, he has served as both investigator and principle investigator for several clinical trials and is a consultant for both the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. In addition to his private practice and academic positions, he is Director of Cataract and Corneal Surgery for the non-profit Africa Surgical Assistant Program, which provides research and surgical solutions to local healthcare providers in West Africa.
Dr. Pelletier is an active member of the national and local ophthalmologic community. He is a Board Certified Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology and a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Ocular Microbiology and Immunology Group. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgery and former president of the Miami Ophthalmological Society.
Gregory Moorman, MD, Plastic and Reconstructive
Gregory J. Moorman, MD has provided a wide range of plastic, cosmetic and reconstructive surgical services to the community of the U.S. Virgin Islands and its visitors since 2002. He is dedicated to providing the exemplary service each patient deserves, based on the individual needs or desires of the patient. Emphasis is placed on meticulous surgical management and overall, quality patient care.
Dr. Moorman completed a five-year general surgery residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio (1998). His general surgery program included extensive training at a level one trauma center and included rotations at the world-renowned Brook Army Hospital burn unit. He then completed a three-year residency in plastic, reconstructive, oral, and maxillofacial surgery at the prestigious Duke University in Durham, North Carolina (2001). This training included a six-month fellowship at the Christine Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery in Louisville, Kentucky. At each of these institutions, he had the opportunity to train with some of the world-leading experts in their respective specialties.
In May of 2002, Dr. Moorman joined the surgical department of the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center on St. Croix, offering his clinical skills and operative talents to the community of the U.S. Virgin Islands and its visitors. In November of 2004, he opened the Moorman Aesthetic Center, P.C., offering a patient service-oriented clinical practice, with a wide range of plastic, cosmetic, and reconstructive surgical procedures.
Dr. Moorman has been Board Certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery since 2004. He is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Virgin Islands Medical Society.
C. Mercedes Quinones, MD, Pain Management