Our Mission

Tropical Oasis is committed to helping our clients achieve the sobriety goals of all chemical elements that alter mood and mental well-being. This is achieved by offering the best quality care, with a staff of highly qualified and dedicated professionals, in one of the most beautiful and serene places in the world. We believe that with the right to help, a person can become free from the clutches of addiction and learn to enjoy life once again.

Nick Russi


Tropical Oasis was co-founded by Nicholas Russi, Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Nicholas has worked in the field of addiction and mental health treatment for over 12 years.

Doreen Garcia

Executive Director

With over 30 years experience, Doreen Garcia is an expert and visionary about establishing business relationships with Behavioral and Mental Health Treatment Centers.  Doreen has won numerous awards for Excellence in Leadership, Inspirational Awards, Women in Leadership awards by Senator Jack Scott and Carol Liu and was one of the 50 women to receive an award for “50 Fabulous Women in Pasadena, CA.  She also received a “Local Hero’s Award” through Union Bank and KCET Studios in honor of Hispanic Heritage month for being passionate about providing guidance to those wanting to transform their lives and free themselves from addictions, her loving yet stern Leadership qualities, Professionalism and Team Building skills.  Doreen carries her Visionary skills with her at all times and is truly grateful to be a part of service-based organizations.

Alberto Augspurg

Program Director

Alberto has worked in the treatment field since 1988, and has gained different training experiences in Minnesota, Florida, and in El Salvador-Central America.  

He is native to Costa Rica, Bi-Lingual and is highly committed to the well functioning of our treatment center.  Alberto has been married for 33 years, with 2 adult siblings.  He just recently became a proud grandfather for the first time.  Alberto is health conscious and a disciplined jogger. Along with his many talents he has to offer our team,  he will be an advocate on health and fitness to the clients of Tropical Oasis Treatment Center.

Dr. Steven Kogel Hughes

Resident Psychiatrist

Born in Philadelphia Pa. in 1943. Father of 8, grandfather of 13, great grandfather of 2. Studied Medicine at the University of Costa Rica and specialized in Psychiatry, graduated in 1981.

Dr. Kogel values continued education and is Currently working on thesis for PHD in Education researching the influence of compassion and spirituality on learning, health and longevity.

He Former held the position of Director of the National Institute for treatment of alcohol and drugs, IAFA.  Avid competitor of Racketball. Enjoys playing piano and flute. We are grateful and honored to have Dr. Kogel heading our psychiatric services. In addition to psychiatry, Dr. Kogel will be providing group therapy as well as individual therapy.

Michelle Tullis

Clinical Director

Laura “Michelle” Tullis has worked in the field of addictions since 1990.  She earned her Master’s degree in Addiction Counseling from N. Florida and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.  She specializes in addictions, grief therapy, stress management, and panic disorder.  Ms Tullis did internships on domestic violence and she was given the opportunity to teach after being admitted to the Doctoral Counselor Education Program at the University of Florida, She went on to publish with various colleagues and worked briefly at the University of Florida Brain Institute there where she trained with psychiatric interns.  She has worked in international treatment centers from Costa Rica to Thailand and her compassion and knowledge will greatly enhance our treatment center. 

Vladimir Mata, MD

Medical Doctor

Melissa Soto


Dr. Melissa Soto is a licensed Psychologist with a degree from Fidélitas University in San José, Costa Rica and graduated in 2011. Since that time she has been working at private practices in Jacó, Parrita and Quepos.  She is specialized in Clinical Hypnosis, Emotional Rational Therapy, Eating disorders, Strategic Short Therapy, as well as various other fields.
She has helped children, adolescents, adults and couples work through through various problems.
Dr. Soto also works with different government entities as well.