The staff at the Diabetes Center were awarded the 2017 Partners in Excellence Team Award in recognition of outstanding performance and commitment to excellence in providing diabetes care.
The staff of the Cooley Dickinson Diabetes Center is committed to ensuring the health and well-being of teens and adults with pre-diabetes and diabetes through prevention, care, management, and ongoing support. The Center teaches practical diabetes care and prevention by providing education and tools to successfully manage diabetes through innovative programs of education, exercise, nutrition, medication, and support.
Diabetes Center Medical Director
Jeffrey M. Korff, MD
A Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and Board Certified in Endocrinology and Metabolism since 1981, Dr. Korff has practiced endocrinology and metabolism in the Pioneer Valley since 1986, and founded the Center for Excellence in Diabetes Education with Kelly Henry in 2002. He graduated from Tufts Medical School, completed a fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Chicago and served as a Visiting Scientist and Senior Staff Fellow at the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Korff is a member of The Endocrine Society and the American Thyroid Association. He brings his expertise and concern for patients with diabetes to the Diabetes Center as its Medical Director. Dr. Korff is an administrative Medical Director and does not see patients.
Medical Management of Diabetes
Kinga Pluta, MD, BC-ADM, CDE
Kinga is an Internal Medicine and Pediatrics trained physician who has focused her practice on diabetes management and education. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Siena College and her medical degree from Albany Medical College. Kinga completed her Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency training at the University of Connecticut and affiliated hospitals in 2002, and is board certified in both specialties. In 2010, after 8 years in the primary care field, she began to focus her practice on diabetes care, a transition in focus which came just two years after her young daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In 2010 she completed requirements to become a Certified Diabetes Educator and in 2013 received the BC-ADM certification. Kinga is passionate about working with patients to find lifestyle and medication regimens which will work best for their specific needs. She believes that educating and empowering people with diabetes to find strategies to live full, happy and healthy lives is the key to their success.
Kristen DeRosa NNP-BC, ACNPC
Kristen is a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing MSN program and the MGH Institute of Health Professions’ Post-Master’s Certificate program. She is certified with dual specialties as a neonatal nurse practitioner and more recently as an acute care nurse practitioner in adult gerontology. She is currently a specialist in Cooley Dickinson’s diabetes center.
Michelle Howard, NP
Michelle received her Bachelor’s in Nursing from Elms College in 2016. She has a passion for working with patients with complex diagnoses, working as a hemodialysis RN for six years and a diabetes educator for three years. She received her Doctor of Nursing Practice with a concentration of Family Nurse Practitioner from UMass-Amherst in May, 2021. She joined the Cooley Dickinson Medical Group Diabetes Center shortly after and has continued her passion of working with patients who are living with diabetes. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys reading, being outside, going on hikes with her husband and their dog, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
Diabetes Self-Management Education
Danielle Dowen, RD, LDN, CDCES
Diabetes Education Program Coordinator
As a Registered Dietitian for over 10 years, Danielle has had the privilege of working with individuals with diabetes as well as other complex medical conditions. Danielle joined Cooley Dickinson Medical Group Diabetes Center as a Diabetes Educator in November of 2019 and has since enjoyed getting know patients as they encounter health hurdles and successes.
Danielle strives to recognize individual challenges, ease apprehensions, and work together with patients to achieve mutual goals. It became clear to Danielle early on in her career that there is not one single approach that will work for everybody. Rather than hand out a list of dos and don’ts, Danielle will spend time on the why and how so that patients fully understand their condition and care plan. Ultimately, Danielle aims to help patients find a way to meet their health goals while continuing to enjoy their daily lives and favorite foods.
Jessica Dawicki, MS, RDN, LDN
Jessica is a registered dietitian who started working as a diabetes educator at Cooley Dickinson Medical Group Diabetes Center in May 2021. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Simmons College and completed her dietetic internship at Umass Amherst. Growing up with family members with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes Jessica knew she wanted to focus on diabetes care once becoming a dietitian. Jessica understands that a one-size-fits-all approach with health care does not adequately meet the patient’s needs. Jessica focuses on meeting patients where they are to help make small meaningful changes that can then become habits over time. Jessica strives to create a nonjudgmental space for patients so they can feel comfortable asking questions, better understand their condition, and set achievable goals. Jessica enjoys helping patients achieve those health goals and encouraging them during that process.
Diabetes Paraprofessional Educators
Donna Rose, CMA
Donna has been a medical assistant since 2005. Born and raised in Western Massachusetts, she started her career in health care in 1994. She became a certified nursing assistant working in nursing homes and in different facilities assisting adults with mental illness. In 2004 she went back to school and became a certified medical assistant working in occupational health services, urgent care and preventive wellness. She joined our team in 2018 and has since become a paraprofessional diabetes educator.
When she isn’t working Donna is very active in the community. She is involved with different local centers that assist people with all different pathways and in all stages of recovery from addiction. She believes with the right tools and support anyone can reclaim their own lives when they have the courage to change, and when they live one day at a time.