James (Jimbeaux) Whitaker is our president elected in October 2010. He is also employed with East Texas
Medical Center and is very active in bringing about community awareness of Parkinson's Disease. He is experienced
in fundraising and event planning!
Melinda Hermans, PhD, RN, BC
Dr. Melinda Hermanns is our vice president. Dr. Hermanns has been a registered nurse for 19 years and has had a
variety of experience from surgical ICU to rehabilitation nursing; however, her speciality area is Psychiatric Mental Health.
She is Board Certified in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Dr. Hermanns
graduated with her PhD in Nursing in May 2008, from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. For the past
two years, she was the facilitator of our Care Partner Support Group for Parkinson's Disease. Dr. Hermanns is passionate about
educating others about Parkinson's disease. She has published a number of articles in nursing, including articles in the area
of Parkinson's disease.
Corene Schwab is our 2nd vice president. Corene is a retired R.N. diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2006.
She started a music label called AHHA music in July 2007 and also has a partnership in a recording studio in Nashville, TN.
Corene lives here in East Texas with her husband, Clarence, who is very supportive of Corene in her love for country music.
Joyce Woodward Smith is our treasurer. She is retired from Smith County and was County Treasurer for 25 years.
Joyce has two children and three grandchildren. She has lived in Tyler for the last 38 years and enjoys volunteering
her time to the APDA East Texas Chapter, crocheting, and quilting. She also loves traveling and spending time with her
Debbie Williams Gates, LVN
Debbie Gates is our secretary. She is employed as a nurse with East Texas Medical Center in Tyler and works with
Dr. George M. Plotkin, Movement Disorder Specialist. She has been a board representative since January 2011 and brings
a vast amount of Parkinson's knowledge to our board.
George M. Plotkin, PhD, MD
|George M. Plotkin, PhD, MD
Dr. George Plotkin is serving as medical director for the Information and Referral Center of East Texas and serves
as a medical liaison for the APDA East Texas Chapter. Dr. Plotkin is a movement disorder specialist here in East
Texas who specializes in Parkinson's Disease.
Kelly M. Pierson, CCRC
|Kelly M. Pierson, CCRC
Kelly M. Boutin, CCRC, is the Parkinson's Coordinator for the APDA Information and Referral Center of East Texas.
She is certified as a clinical research coordinator. She has been with the APDA Information and Referral Center since
April 2007 and enjoys every moment that she can spend with the patients of the Parkinson's community. She assists with
the coordination of all Parkinson's fundraising events along with other members of the board and volunteers. She
organizes, facilitates and oversees the majority of the Parkinson's support groups in East Texas. She is married to
Brenton J. Boutin. She also has two children -- her daughter is a registered nurse at Baylor Hospital in Dallas,
TX, and her son is a Freshman attending Stephen F. Austin State University. She has lived in Tyler for the last 43
years. Her personal interest with a parkinson's organization is that her paternal grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson's
Helen Cassel, RN, NP-C
Helen Cassel is a retired nurse practitioner from ETMC and specialized in deep brain stimulation programming for
parkinson patients. She lives with her husband, Scott Cassel, in Lindale, TX.