Our Team

Your health is important to us. We understand that you take the time to find a medical practitioner who is competent, experienced, understanding and supportive. We want you to feel comfortable and reassured each time you visit River Ridge Dermatology. Our staff works as a team to ensure we respond to your needs and keep you informed. We look forward to getting to know you.

River Ridge staff:

Meet our team of doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and office staff below.

Resident physicians:

Meet our resident physicians from the LewisGale Hospital Montgomery Graduate Medical Education program.

Chad Johnston, D.O., F.A.A.D.

  • West Virginia University, undergraduate
  • West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, medical school
  • Charleston Area Medical Center, residency
  • West Virginia University, dermatology residency-chief resident of dermatology, 2008-2009

Chad Johnston was born and raised in the New River Valley in Peterstown, West Virginia. As an undergraduate at West Virginia University he played football for the Mountaineers, from 1992-1997. He was starting quarterback for the 1994-1996 seasons, and his teammates elected him team captain.

Dr. Johnston pursued his medical career after briefly playing professional football. He has practiced dermatology in the New River Valley since 2009, and opened River Ridge Dermatology in 2011.

Outside of work, Dr. Johnston enjoys spending time with this family and giving back to the community. He enjoys coaching local youth sports, and the whole family are avid West Virginia Mountaineers fans.

Dr. Johnston is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology and is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. He is a member of several medical groups, including the American Board of Dermatology, American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, American Osteopathic Association, West Virginia Dermatological Society, and Virginia Medical Society. He served as the co-program director of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine/LewisGale Montgomery Regional Hospital dermatology residency program from 2009-2011.

Aleksandra Brown, D.O., F.A.O.C.D., F.A.A.D.

  • Coe College, undergraduate
  • Des Moines University, medical school
  • Ohio University, internship
  • Michigan State University, dermatology residency-chief resident of dermatology, 2012-2013

Aleksandra Brown was born in Derventa, Bosnia and Herzegovina and came to the United States as an exchange student in 1999. She decided to pursue a career in medicine after working in a hospital emergency room as an undergraduate. She earned her D.O. from Des Moines University in 2009, where she was awarded the academic and service excellence award for outstanding academic and interpersonal leadership. She lives in Blacksburg with her family, and is fluent in Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian in addition to English.

Dr. Brown is board certified by the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. She is a member of several medical groups, including the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, the American Osteopathic Association, and the Virginia Medical Society. She joined River Ridge Dermatology in 2013.

Craig Garofola, D.O., F.A.A.D.

  • Allegheny College, undergraduate
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, VCOM-VA, medical school
  • Lewis Gale Hospital Montgomery, dermatology residency-chief resident of dermatology, 2018-2019

Dr. Garofola grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania and has lived in the Blacksburg area for the past eight years while attending medical school and pursuing his residency.

He finished a 1-year internship at Lewis Gale Montgomery in July 2017, and completed a dermatology residency at Lewis Gale Montgomery from July 2017 to June 2020, where he served as chief resident for two years before joining the River Ridge team permanently in 2020. He practices general, pediatric, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology and has a special interest in the procedural aspect of dermatology, including Mohs surgery. “Medicine is really an art,” he says, “skin issues never look the same and there’s always a number of ways to treat each problem.”

Dr. Garofola is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, American Society of Mohs Surgery, Virginia Dermatology Society, and Sigma Sigma Phi Honorary Fraternity. He was the first-ever resident to serve on the board of the Virginia Dermatology Society.

He is excited to spend many years to come in the Blacksburg area with his wife, enjoying the outdoors with their two German shorthair pointer dogs.

Gary P. Gross, M.D.

A photo of Dr. Gross
  • University of Virginia, undergraduate
  • University of Virginia School of Medicine, medical school
  • University of Virginia, dermatology residency- chief resident of dermatology, 1979-1980

Gary Gross has more than 30 years of experience practicing dermatology. Educated at the University of Virginia, he settled in Salem and founded his own dermatology practice in 1980, which he led until he joined River Ridge in 2021.

He has taught medicine as a dermatology residency faculty member at LewisGale Hospital and is affiliated with the Lewis Gale Hospital. He was affiliated with Carillion Roanoke Memorial until 2020, when he retired from this position.

Dr. Gross is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology. He is also a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, as well as the Roanoke Academy of Medicine.

He has three grown children and enjoys spending time with his eight grandchildren.

Jared Brackenrich, D.O.

A photo of Doctor Jared Brackenrich
  • Virginia Tech, undergraduate
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM), medical school
  • LewisGale Hospital Montgomery, residency

Jared Brackenrich is from Pembroke, Virginia, where he developed an early interest in dermatology while shadowing his father, a physician in Giles County. In addition to being intrigued by how skin issues present differently on different people, Dr. Brackenrich was also attracted to dermatology for the opportunity the specialty offers for developing long-term relationships with patients of all ages.

Together with River Ridge’s Dr. Garofola, Dr. Brackenrich was recently honored as winner of the 2021 HCA Research Symposium Poster Presentation, and in 2017 Dr. Brackenrich received the VCOM Distinguished Research Award for his research on the prevalence of dermatological infections found in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras and rural Appalachia.

Dr. Brackenrich believes in maintaining a strong work-life balance and enjoys golfing, swimming, hiking, traveling, movies, attending church activities, concerts, trying new restaurants and DIY projects.

Certified by the American Board of Dermatology, Dr. Brackenrich is also an active member of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the honorary osteopathic society Sigma Sigma Phi (SSP), and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

Tessa Mullins, D.O.

A photo of Dr. Tessa Mullins
  • Emory & Henry College, undergraduate
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM), medical school
  • LewisGale Hospital Montgomery, residency-chief resident 2020-2021

Dr. Mullins grew up in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. As an undergraduate at Emory & Henry College, she played volleyball and was elected team captain by her teammates from her sophomore to senior year. She became interested in a career in medicine after watching her brother go through the process, and she believes communication and understanding a patient’s goals are vital for optimal patient outcomes in dermatology.

While in medical school, Dr. Mullins received the Distinguished Research Award, the Distinguished Student Award, and the Distinguished Leader Award. She was also named VCOM VA Student of the Year in the Southwest Region for 2015-16.

Outside of work, Dr. Mullins enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter. She loves the outdoors, cooking, volunteering, and their goldendoodle, named Rupp.

Dr. Mullins is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology and the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology.

Jason E. Bailey, PA-C

  • Virginia Tech, undergraduate
  • Jefferson College of Health Sciences, physician assistant school

Jason Bailey has a decade of experience and training as a physician assistant in dermatology. He diagnoses and treats patients with acne, eczema, psoriasis, moles (nevi), skin cancers, actinic keratosis (precancers), spider veins, and many other conditions.

Jason is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, and his clinical interests include melanocytic neoplasms and photoaging.

Seth Morgan, PA-C

Seth Morgan has over a decade of experience as a physician assistant in dermatology. A lifelong resident of southern West Virginia, Seth received his Bachelor of Science in medical science and Master of Science in physician assistant studies from Mountain State University.

Seth is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), and has received training in advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS), EMT-B, first aid, and crisis prevention. His clinical interests include rashes, acne, cosmetic services, and helping people of all ages treat their skin conditions and concerns.

A father of three, Seth enjoys spending time with his family and working with patients in Giles and Montgomery Counties.

Jonathan R. Fraim, PA-C

A photo of Jonathan R. Fraim, PA-C
  • College of Health Sciences, undergraduate
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center, physician assistant school

Jonathan Fraim earned a Bachelor of Science in physician assistant studies in 2002. After graduating, he worked for over a decade as a physician assistant in family medicine and the emergency department at Carilion Hospital in Roanoke. From pediatric care to urgent care to training students, Jonathan has a strong and broad foundation in medical care.

Jonathan returned to school and earned his Master of Physician Assistant Studies in 2015 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He joined Dr. Gross’s practice in Salem, Lewis Gale Physicians, in 2017.

Jonathan is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, and holds a Virginia Physician Assistant License.

Melanie Schano, MSN, FNP-C

  • Radford University, undergraduate
  • Georgetown University, graduate school

Raised in Blacksburg, Melanie Schano began her nursing career in the emergency department, first working at the Scott and White Memorial Hospital, a level-one trauma center in Texas, and the Carilion New River Valley Medical Center. She began working with Dr. Johnston in 2011.

Melanie Schano is licensed by the state of Virginia as a family nurse practitioner and a registered nurse. She is a member of the Dermatology Nurses Association, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners.

Emily Blankenship, Medical Aesthetician

Photograph of Emily Blankenship

Emily Blankenship is a licensed aesthetician in the state of Virginia and an ACDT certified dermatology technician. She developed an interest in skincare and aesthetics after struggling with acne at a young age.

Emily is a graduate of Starkey Medical School of Esthetics, and has experience performing a wide range of cosmetic procedures including laser hair removal, Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatments, Frax laser treatments, body contouring, microneedling, chemical peels, dermaplaning, and facials.

Kevin Kendall, Practice Manager

Photograph of Kevin Kendall
  • Concord University, undergraduate

Kevin Kendall has 20 years of experience in management, training, marketing, and medical practice management. Kevin is certified through the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) as a Certified Physician Practice Manager and a Certified Dermatology Coder. His no-nonsense leadership, forthright communication style, efficiency, and expertise helps keep River Ridge Dermatology running smoothly.