Karisti Julia – Past President

​​Karisti is Community Relations Director for Belmont Village Senior Living - Turtle Creek.  She has a love for helping seniors and started working with them over 20 years ago as a nursing home volunteer at a nursing home.  She is active with her church Highland Park United Methodist and is active with AWARE, The Alzheimer's Association, and helps organize the Dallas Dementia Symposium with Teepa Snow.  She served as DAGS President from 2021 - 2022.  belmontvillage.com

Melissa Gomez – Forum Chair

Melissa Gomez is the Program Director of the Senior Companion Program sponsored by The Senior Source in Dallas.  She is a graduate of Texas Woman's University with an M.S. in Family Studies.  Melissa has been a Nonprofit Volunteer Manager for 20 years, ranging from pre-k students to older adults, and in multiple settings.  She is active with her church, Lakepointe, in Rockwall.

Advisors to the Board

DAGS is governed by an Executive Board of Directors.

             President                                   President-Elect

             Secretary                                   Treasurer     

There are nine 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.
  • Advocacy – Plans educational programs and events pertaining to public policy issues as they effect older adults.
  • Programs – Plans and coordinates monthly continuing education programs for DAGS members.
  • Communications – Markets and promotes all educational programs and the Annual Forum.
  • Scholarship – Coordinates and distributes information about the student scholarship program.
  • Social Work - Provides networking and informal mentorship opportunities to Social Workers serving older adults.
  • Nursing - Provides networking and informal mentorship opportunities to Nurses serving older adults.
  • Membership Engagement - Welcomes new members, and facilitates engagement between and among DAGS Members.
  • Forum – Plans and implements the annual forum for DAGS members and the public.

Dallas Area Gerontological Society

What Does DAGS Offer?

Stephen Dennis – Membership Chair

Stephen has over 20+ years of Sales & Marketing experience in the Service industry. His mother was a client of Homewatch CareGivers years ago; he was impressed with their care and service as she battled with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Now he serves as their Business Developement Manager. In his spare time Stephen enjoys sports, hiking and spending time with family and friends.

Eden Summers – Social Work Co-Chair

Eden has worked as a Medical Social Worker for Gentiva Hospice (formerly Odyssey & Kindred) for the last 19 years.  In June, 2022, she passed her Advanced Palliative and Hospice Social Work Certification exam.  She is committed to providing compassionate care for dying patients and their families to help them prepare fo the end of life.  Prior to going into hospice, Eden was a Victim Advocate for the Arizona Attorney General's Office, primarially working with elder fraud crime victims.


Debbie Austin – Advocacy Chair

Debbie Austin is a long-time volunteer with The Alzheimer's Association and serves on the City of Dallas Senior Affairs Commission representing District 8.  She serves as the Social, Civic Engagement, and Isolation Sub-Committee Chair.

              Email:  info@dags.org

Sheri Sparks – President Elect

In January 2022, Sheri Sparks unveiled Elderly Care Concierge to the Dallas-Fort Worth marketplace. Its mission is to improve life experiences and provide peace of mind for families.  Elderly Care Concierge professionals allow adult children to tend to their own work and family obligations knowing that their adult parent(s) are receiving the appropriate assistance to maintain an enjoyable and independent lifestyle. Sheri has a vested interest in Elderly Care Concierge not only because it’s her brainchild and she serves as President, but also because her mother is the company’s first client

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

DAGS is a non-profit, voluntary, professional networking, member organization whose mission is to provide continuing education on gerontological topics, to promote policies that will improve services for older adults, and to provide scholarships to individuals pursuing careers in aging-related fields.

Emilia Bourland – Scholarships Chair

Emilia Bourland, OTR, ECHM, CFPS, is the President & Founder of Higher Standards Caregiver Training.  After earning her Bachelor's degree in psychology from UT Austin, and her Master's degree in occupational therapy from TWU, she has worked as an Occupational Therapist for over 13 years.  Emily has earned an Executive Certificate in Home Modification, is a Certified Fall Prevention Specialist, and is a registered clinician with the National Board of Certification of Occupational Therapists.

Lindsay Ford – Programs Co-Chair

Lindsay Ford is a Sales Specialist with Harmony Cares Medical Group (formerly Visiting Physicians Association).  Prior to working for Harmony Cares, Lindsay worked in Hospice and In-Home Care.  She is originally from Huntsville, Alabama.

Anna Tudor – Social Work Co-Chair

Anna earned her BSW from Midwestern State University where she was a member of Chi Omega.  She works for The Legacy at Home.  Anna believes it is her life's work and passion to empower people with knowledge in regards to their healthcare rights and opportunities.  She enjoys showing people what is available to them while acknowledging their needs and values.

Pamela Farris, RN – Nursing Chair

As an experienced nurse with over 30 years of Geriatric, Palliative and Hospice care there are not many scenarios that Pamela has not navigated with an improved outcome. As the Owner of Harmony Care Management, Pamela and her team are able to provide expert guidance and assistance through her vast network of resources.

Lisa Shardon – Treasurer

Lisa Shardon is President and CEO of Home Health Companions, a licensed home health company that provides nursing services and professional caregivers to assist adults with limitations of daily life. 
Lisa currently serves on the University of Texas Dallas, Center for Vital Longevity Advisory Council. She is Vice President of the Executive Board of Directors of the Aging Mind Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding the cause and cure for Alzheimer’s disease through partnerships with various institutions of higher learning. She is also a professional member of the Aging Lifecare Association.

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

Nell Taylor – Programs Co-Chair

Nell is a Senior Living Advisor for Ruby Care SLA. After being a caregiver for her mother with Alzheimer’s Disease and her aunt with dementia, she was called to help others who needed guidance with placement for their loved ones.

Nell is a 3rd generation Dallasite, and a graduate

of Southern Methodist University. 


Robbie McCullough – President

Robbie McCullough is a 30-year financial services and insurance veteran with a passion for caregiving. Robbie’s personal life experiences and prior work history led him with a lifelong aspiration of building a homecare business. Robbie is a graduate of Baylor University. He holds a as well a Certified Senior Advisor designation proctored by the Society of Senior Advisors Certified Employee Benefits designation thru the Wharton School. He is the Owner of Assisting Hands Home Care a nationally recognized Agency.   assistinghands.com/38/texas/prestonhollow

Lin O'Neill – Secretary

A graduate of Texas Woman’s University and the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management, Lin O'Neill possesses broad expertise in operations and human resources, coupled with an exceptional knowledge of organizational behavior. This skill set served her well in her role as a vice president (and the first woman corporate officer) for Continental Airlines, where she managed several thousand employees and led the Inflight Services Division through reorganization and realignment. Lin is a successful consultant, author, and speaker, and serves as Founder & President of O'Neill Enterprises.

Susan Rogers, MSG– Communications Chair

After earning a B.A. in Psychology from UCONN and an M.S. in Gerontology from UNT, Susan spent twenty years working with Elders and their families in a range of care settings.  Susan applies that expertise in her role as Community Liaison for Certified Elder Law Attorney John McNair.​ Susan is a member of the Down Syndrome Guild of Dallas, and serves in leadership roles with NPRA of Texas, Dementia Friendly Dallas, and is a Little Free Library Steward.


Paula Jones – Membership Engagement Chair

​​Paula is the Community Relations Director for Iris Memory Care of Turtle Creek. She developed deep passion for seniors living with dementia after a close family member was diagnosed.  She has been helping seniors with dementia for close to 10 years and still LOVES what she does. 


John McNair – Legal Advisor

John has practiced law in Dallas for over 40 years.  He is board certified in Estate Planning and Probate and in Tax Law.  He has earned the National Elder Law Foundation's Certified Elder Law Attorney designation.  He is also an accredited attorney with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, experienced with VA Benefits, and Medicaid qualification.  John previously served as DAGS Treasurer, and has advised the Board on Legal Matters for the past 10 years.   McNair-DallasLaw.com

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