About Us

The Dallas Area Parkinsonism Society (DAPS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1978 by Clarice Dougherty to help her husband and others confront the daily challenges presented by Parkinson's disease (PD). Thousands of lives have been changed for the better because of Clarice's mission and the dedication of many others who have followed her. DAPS serves as a pillar for the Parkinson’s community by providing free education; speech and exercise classes; and support groups. 

Meet the Team

Mike Miles, Executive Director 

Mike is a graduate of Dallas Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  He has been Executive Director of the Dallas Area Parkinsonism Society since December 2014. Prior to taking on the role, Mike spent more than 20 years developing expertise in nonprofit management and development.  As Regional director with a nonprofit foster -to-adopt agency, Mike oversaw multiple district and local offices in central Texas and then in the Dallas/Tyler area.  He was responsible for record-breaking growth and infrastructure changes that resulted in providing a higher quality of care and service to the foster children and families. As an Executive Consultant with a development company, he personally led over 40 capital campaigns and worked with a team in Detroit to raise over $100,000,000 for the Detroit Catholic diocese.  

Leisha Phipps, Program Director

Leisha comes to DAPS with over 20 years in the nonprofit sector, as a social worker, board member, volunteer and most recently, Curator at The Heritage Village at Chestnut Square in McKinney.  Her love for nonprofits began at The Turning Point (Rape Crisis Center) in Plano where she was the Clinical Director for services to those impacted by sexual assault.  After retiring from the clinical field, Leisha applied her skills to the administrative side of nonprofits where she served on the Board of Directors at The Turning Point in several positions.  It was here that she discovered that her passion for helping others could be used to develop, grow and manage small nonprofits. When the opportunity to expand her skills and experience presented itself at DAPS in 2019, Leisha jumped at the chance to be a part of such an important community. 

Catalina Assaad, Office and Event Assistant

Catalina Assaad began volunteering at DAPS while finishing her Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology degree at the University of Texas at Dallas.  Since graduating in December 2020, Catalina has become an integral part of the DAPS team, while she is applying to graduate programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders in August.   Her professional interests include the study of neurogenic communication disorders and auditory rehabilitation for patients with cochlear implants and hearing aids. Catalina’s goal is to open her own practice and partner with non-profit organizations who support minority communities and those with lack of access to health care. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cycling, and hiking.

Newsletter Team


Pam Michel, Production Editor

Board of Directors 

Bentley Foster, Jo Klein, Barbara Glass, Marcie Salamone, Martha Bonilla, Mike Braitsch, Jared Caplan, Stephen Holman, Harold Kellogg, Steven Markel, Robbie McCullough, Greg Rector, Chuck Stewart

Medical Advisory Board

Michael Braitsch, PT, Bradley McDaniels, PhD, CRC,  DPT Shilpa Chitnis, M.D., Ph.D. Richard B. Dewey, Jr., M.D. Thomas D. Franklin, Jr., Ph.D. Richard L. Fulbright, Ph.D. Dwight C. German, Ph.D. Aashoo Mentreddi, M.D. Padraig O’Suilleabhain, M.D. Nirav Pavasia, M.D. Alexander Peralta, M.D. R. Malcolm Stewart, M.D. Gary L. Tunell, M.D. , Rasheda El-Nazer, MD, Mazen Elkurd, DO, Aanchal Taneja, MD