Melanie Calhoun– Membership Chair

After several years in the private sector, Melanie decided to transfer her experience to the public sector and use her skills to help others. Melanie currently serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Senior Companion Program at The Senior Source, Inc.

The Dallas Area Gerontological Society (DAGS) was founded in 1989.

DAGS is a non-profit, voluntary member organization whose mission is to provide continuing education on gerontological topics, provide scholarships to individuals pursuing a career in the aging field, and to advocate for improved services for the elderly..

Kathleen Warshawsky, BSN, RN– President

Kathleen is a registered nurse, as well as the owner and Publisher of Seniors Blue Book Greater Dallas. She began her nursing career in 1992, starting with clinical practice at the bedside and transitioning into roles of Educator, Administrator, and Director of Nursing. Kathleen is passionate about providing community education and resources for aging well.

John McNair Legal Advisor

John  McNair has practiced law in Dallas for over 30 years.  He is board certified in Estate Planning and Probate and in Tax Law.  John is an accredited attorney with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, experienced with VA Benefits and Medicaid qualification.

Rob Novick – At Large Board Member

Rob Novick is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years of experience working with adults and seniors, specifically in the mental health industry. He has worked in some of the top rated hospitals in the Dallas Metroplex, including Zale Lipshy Hospital. In addition to being the EAP (Employee Assistance Program) Director for the Texas Rangers Baseball Club, he is in private practice assisting families plan and prepare for the care of aging loved ones.

Sydney S. Farrier – Advocacy Chair

Sydney is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 40 years of experience working with adults and children. She is currently at partner in DFW Aging Solutions, LLC, a company that provides continuing education for professionals in the field of health care and Alzheimer’s care.

Laurie Miller– Past-President   

Laurie is the founder, owner and administrator of Apple Care & Companion, a non-medical home care agency.  Laurie has been involved in the senior care industry since 2006 and has served on the board of DAGS since 2008. Laurie is also co-founder of the iACT Summit.


  • Meetings with educational programs
  • Professional Networking
  • Public policy updates
  • Student scholarship
  • Continuing education credits for Social Workers and LPC’s

DAGS is governed by a nine member Board of Directors.

             President                                   Past-President

             Vice-President                          Secretary

             Treasurer                                  (4) At-Large Board Members

There are six standing committees in which all members are encouraged to participate.

  • Membership – Promotes the Society and its benefits to others interested in aging. Maintains membership records and provides other important services.
  • Public Policy – Plans educational programs and events pertaining to public policy issues as they effect the elderly.
  • Programs – Plans and coordinates monthly continuing education programs for DAGs members.
  • Communications – Markets the Annual Forum program.
  • Scholarship – Coordinates and distributes information about the student scholarship program.
  • Forum – Plans and implements the annual forum for DAGS members and the public.


What Does DAGS Offer?

Dallas Area Gerontological Society

Questions Call Us:  972-382-9900

Janet Mariani– At Large Board Member

Janet has a Texas License Master in Social Work and is in the Marketing and Leasing Dept of The Tradition Senior Living-Lovers Lane community.  I have been in a variety of Social Work disciplines and really enjoy working with the Seniors!

Brittney Tree – At Large Board Member

Brittney Tree is the Manager of My Ride Dallas, a transportation information program at the Dallas Area Agency on Aging that helps seniors and people with disabilities in Dallas County find rides. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Connecticut.

Matt Newton – Scholarship Chair

Matt runs his family business, Alert Response, a medical alarm company serving DFW since 1991.  While in college at UNT he first started working as technician for his father and founder of Alert Response, Spud Newton. Since then he has become more involved in the community and most recently served as the Treasurer and President of TAGS, serves as a board member for PediPlace and is a founding member of the Senior Standing Tall Coalition in Denton County.

Susan Rogers – Communications Chair

After earning a B.A. degree in Psychology from UCONN and a M.S. degree in Gerontology from UNT, Susan spent twenty years working with Elders and their families in Assisted Living, Memory Care and Skilled Nursing Facilities.  Susan uses that experience and expertise in her role as Community Liaison for Attorney John McNair with Underwood Perkins, PC.

Harley Cohen– Vice President

Harley Cohen is the President of Right at Home, an In Home Care and Assistance Agency, since 2006.  Harley is also the Past Board President for the ECHAD Apartments, senior low income housing apartments subsidized by HUD and is a Certified Senior Advisor.

Karisti Shankle – Program Chair

Karisti is in Community Relations for Belmont Village Senior Living.  She has a love for helping seniors and started working with them 15 years ago when she was volunteering at a nursing home -  she never dreamed it would turn into her full time job!  She is active with her church Highland Park United Methodist and enjoys spending time with friends and family.

Emily Grooms – At Large Board Member

MA, MS/UNT/Gerontology, CALM
Emily is a Partner in two neighborhood-based licensed assisted living communities, specializing in difficult and challenging behavior.  A Gerontologist, she brings 15 years training and skill for Residents with difficult and challenging dementias.  She is a facilitator/trainer for the Alzheimer’s Association.  She also serves on the board for the Texas Organization of Residential Care Homes, and is past-president of the North Texas Chapter.  Since 2013, she’s been Education Chair for TORCH educational conferences.

Peggy Papert – Forum Chair

​Peggy is the owner and licensed clinical social worker of Elder Care Consultants of Texas helping families to streamline the steps needed to navigate their loved ones later years. She has worked over 32 years in a wide array of settings including in and out patient medical and psychiatric hospitals, managed care and religious organizations. Peggy is an has served on a local hospitals’ Attending Clergy Executive Board as a social worker.  Peggy maintains her association with NASW, her certification with the state board and she has completed a gerontology certificate program. Her BS is from Vanderbilt University and MSSW from University of Texas at Arlington. 

Lisa Shardon– Secretary
Lisa is President of Home Health Companions, a licensed home health provider offering in-home companion and caregiver services, private duty nursing and aging life care services. She is a member of the Aging Life Care Association and serves on several non-profit boards to raise awareness on research and education of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

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Lori Nesler – Treasurer

Lori Nesler is the owner of Comfort Keepers In-Home Care which opened in 2002. She currently serves as a board member at Sharing Life Community Outreach, which houses the Medical Equipment Exchange that she established . She chairs the annual “Stop Senior Hunger” Food and Funds Drive and is a past member of the Adult Protective Services Community Board. Lori is a Certified Senior Advisor, and is passionate about helping seniors.