We are leaders in ensuring expert Parkinson’s care, educating and empowering the Parkinson’s community and driving the understanding of Parkinson’s through research. As a national organization with local presence and impact, we bring help and hope to the estimated one million people in the U.S., 10 million worldwide, who are living with Parkinson’s.
Your support of the Parkinson’s Foundation South Central Chapter makes a big impact on the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) right here in your community, as well as across the country and around the world! Read more about our impact in the South Central Chapter.
Thanks to supporters like you, we are able to provide free resources and advance research toward a cure.
Find Expert Care
Access to care professionals, medications and services
Parkinson’s Foundation Global Care Network creates more opportunities for people with PD to access high-quality care.
Aware in Care Kit
Advocate for your best care
The Aware in Care Hospital Kit gives people with PD tools and information to share with hospital staff during a planned or emergency hospital visit.
The Helpline answers more than 20,000 calls a year
Call our Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) to find your nearest PD specialist or local resources and get answers to your PD and caregiving questions.
We are your trusted ally for information at every stage
We offer resources including videos, podcasts, webinars and other opportunities to learn about the many aspects of living well with PD.
Progress towards new medicines, better therapies and eventually a cure relies, almost exclusively, on innovative, high-quality research.
The Parkinson’s Foundation Community Grants program supports programs that further the health, wellness and education of the Parkinson’s community. We help people with Parkinson’s live better lives, today.
In the 2021 grant cycle, we awarded six local grants to community programs. These Community Grants are made possible through the support of donors.
Learn more about the Parkinson’s Foundation Community Grants program, including application information, deadlines and more.
ATTN: South Central
200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800
Miami, FL 33131
Board of Advisors
Dan Novak, PhD - Board Chair
Dr. Novak volunteers as a Research Advocate and serves as a steering committee member in the Parkinson’s Study Group and as a patient reviewer for NIH’s Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Novak has served as national chair of the People with Parkinson’s Council and he serves as President of the South Central Chapter.
Prior to his diagnosis in 2008, he spent 31 years at IBM where he worked in executive and international healthcare roles. Novak received his Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Regent University, his MBA from the University of Dallas and his BBA from the University of North Texas.
Dr. Valerie Johnson PT, DPT – President Elect
Dr. Valerie Johnson PT, DPT founded Balance Therapy LLC and The Parkinson’s Mind Body Institute to best serve those living with PD.
Valerie has a doctorate in physical therapy from Texas State University and is certified in PWR! and BIG therapy for Parkinson’s. She is the team neuro-therapist for the Dallas Mavericks, providing comprehensive concussion evaluations and treatments. Valerie teaches dance and movement classes for Parkinson’s along with individual Physical Therapy evaluations and treatments.
Valerie attended Emory University to earn the Vestibular Rehabilitation Competency Certificate sponsored by the American Physical Therapy Association.
Rebecca R. Cantu PT, DPT
Dr. Cantu brings her knowledge and experience as a recent 2017 graduate of University of Incarnate Word. Her experiences include a pediatrics to high intensity sports specific rehabilitation, but her area of interest includes neurological rehabilitation, with a special interest in vestibular therapy. She currently holds a Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery Certification.
Elizabeth Chambers, MD
Dr. Elizabeth Chambers is fellowship trained in movement disorders specializing in Parkinson's Disease, all types of tremor, dystonia, chorea, ataxia, myoclonic jerks, and tics.
Her expertise extends into deep brain stimulation (DBS) initial programming and subsequent follow up care. Dr. Chambers appreciates the field of neurology and the complex beauty of the brain, but has an even deeper passion for her patients. Dr. Chambers was chosen by her peers to receive the Stephen Damm Award for excellence and compassion in patient care.
Chase Crossno, MPH
Chase is an Assistant Professor of Medical Education at the Burnett School of Medicine where she leverages theater, art, and public health pedagogies to teach the next generation of empathetic scholars. At Boston University she specialized in global health, social justice, and sex, sexuality, gender, and health. Chase spent 15 years working in direct patient care with both domestic and international organizations focused on HIV prevention and sexual health education. She is also the proud co-founder of Paper Chairs theatre company in Austin, TX, whose mission is to use curated experiences to raise difficult questions, inspire original thinking and to enrich the cultural landscape.
Dr. Alan Diamond, DO
Dr. Alan Diamond is the director of the Movement Disorders Center at Washington Regional Medical Center. Dr. Diamond earned his medical degree from the University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his neurology residency at Saint Louis University and fellowship in movement disorders at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He specializes in Parkinson’s disease and the surgical treatment of movement disorders.
Lt. Colonel Robert Horn, MBA
Mr. Mark Horn retired from the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith (UAFS) in 2014, culminating twenty-two years of cabinet-level leadership and service. Upon retirement, the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas recognized Horn for his "singularly distinctive service and contribution to higher education" by granting him standing as Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Arkansas System and UAFS.
Horn served on active duty in the United States Air Force for 22 years, retiring in 1992 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. In retirement, Horn continues to serve the community through volunteer work.
Dr. Jerome Lisk MD, FAAN
Dr. Lisk is a Clinical Assistant Professor at University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler. He is involved in many ongoing national clinical research trials in Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Lisk earned his medical degree at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia. He completed an internal medicine internship at the UCLA and his neurology residency and movement disorders fellowship at the University of Texas at Houston.
Lisk received the 2010 NAACP Man of Valor Award, and is a 2013 Graduate of the American Academy of Neurology's Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum and Diversity Leadership Program.
Dr. Vicki Nejtek, PhD
Member, Institute for Healthy Aging
Associate Professor, Pharmacology & Neuroscience
Vicki’s laboratory’s interest is in studying how people with mild brain trauma, mood problems, medical diseases, and/or addiction problems will react to treatments and how their responses to treatment might differ among others without such problems, and they look for clues to identify the people who might be more at-risk for developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease than others.
Active research includes longitudinal outcomes research, matched-control cross-sectional biomarker studies to predict risks for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, community-based program effectiveness, and more.
Steve Newton, MPH, FACH
Steve is EVP-Chief Growth Officer of Baylor Scott and White Health. Steve has nearly 30 years experience in large integrated delivery systems in the for-profit and not-for profit sectors, and 20+ years’ experience as president of tertiary/quaternary care hospitals. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
He is a cum laude graduate of Williams College and received a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Yale University. He is married, has three children, and is a long-distance runner and veteran of 17 marathons. Steve also serves as the Reach Further Campaign Chair for the South Central Chapter.
Christopher Oholendt, OT/PMHSA
Christopher is an Occupational Therapy Specialist in Little Rock, Arkansas. He graduated with honors in 2000. Having more than 21 years of diverse experiences, especially in Occupational Therapy, Chris affiliates with no hospital, cooperates with many other doctors and specialists in medical group University of Arkansas.
Chris is motivated to promote health. Occupational therapy has afforded him the opportunity to understand the healthcare landscape and the challenges of the cost, quality, access paradigm. Looking for ways to innovate outpatient PT, OT, Hand Therapy and fitness for the community.
Tom Pajda, JD
Tom is an attorney with extensive experience in telecommunications law. He recently retired from a 36-year career with AT&T as Assistant Vice President and Senior Legal Counsel which he completed after being diagnosed in 2010.
Tom is a graduate of St. Mary's University in San Antonio where he earned a BA in economics, and attended Southern Illinois University, earning a Juris Doctor degree. Tom and his wife have been active supporters of Moving Day DFW since the beginning; Along with their four adult children and family and friends, their team was awarded the "Most-Spirited" honor in 2018 & 2019.
Dr. Sabiha Parveen, PhD, CCC-SLP
Dr. Sabiha Parveen is at Oklahoma State University where her expertise is in the investigation of speech and cognitive symptoms associated with Parkinson disease (PD), and the development of more effective speech and cognitive intervention programs for PD as well as quality of life related issues among individuals with PD. Her other areas of interest include multicultural issues in SpeechLanguage Pathology and scholarship of teaching and learning in Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Dr. Jennifer Penn, PT, DPT, NCS
Dr. Penn joined the School of Physical Therapy faculty at the University of the Incarnate Word in 2015 to teach evidence-based evaluation and treatment of individuals with neurological injuries. She earned a bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from Brigham Young University, Provo, UT in 2002, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA in 2005.
She currently provides care for individuals with neurological injuries through the UIW School of Physical Therapy Community Clinic. She is driven by the hope of providing the best care by assisting in development of the clinicians of tomorrow.
Gretchen was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in 2017 at the age of 52.
Her commitment to the Parkinson’s community springs from a deep history of PD in her family while at the same time believing that what seems an impossible challenge creates opportunities for connection, healing, and hope.
Professionally, Gretchen’s work experience centers around corporate philanthropy. She also blogs and writes short fiction. She lives with her family in Dallas. Gretchen was selected to join the Parkinson’s Foundation People with Parkinson’s Council in 2018 and was elected as Chair in 2020 after serving as vice-chair.
Okeanis Vaou, MD, FAAN
Dr. Vaou has recently joined UT Health in San Antonio and is Vice Chair of Faculty Development. Prior to that she served as the Director of the Movement Disorders and Deep Brain Stimulation Center at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Boston, MA. Her expertise is treating patients with Parkinson’s Disease, Atypical Parkinson’s, Essential tremor and other movement disorders.
Dr. Vaou is actively involved in medical student education and has received national and regional awards for education. She was also selected to participate in the nationally esteemed program by the Academy of Neurology “Women Leading in Neurology”. Read more here.