Dr. Douk is a Licensed Educational Psychologist and a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst who specializes in the assessment and treatment of individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. He obtained pupil personnel services credentials in School Psychology as well as Child Welfare and Attendance. He also holds certificates of specialization in autism and applied behavior analysis. He has a Master’s degree in Counseling, a Doctorate in Psychology, and was trained in the UCLA PEERS program. He continues his professional development and remains active in the autism research community by participating with the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment. In addition to his extensive clinical training, Dr. Douk received real-world business training from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management in their Management Development for Entrepreneurs Program. This experience led him to develop his global business strategy with the UCLA Anderson School and National University of Singapore as a 2016 alumni from their Global Executive Dual-MBA program.
Dr. Douk has spent the past 17 years working with children, adolescents, and families affected by autism and other developmental disabilities. His professional background includes the assessment and treatment of individuals with a variety of developmental disabilities and behavior disorders in school, home, and clinical settings. Dr. Douk recognized the need for an organization with a service delivery model that is grounded in research, collaboration, and embraces a family-centric approach to treatment. In response, he founded Behavioral Health Works (BHW) with the vision of establishing a multidisciplinary organization “committed to bringing out the best in behavior.”
Presently, Dr. Douk’s focus with BHW (bhwcares.com) is to ensure the clinical integrity of all behavioral programming and to develop innovative treatment programs. He has co-founded global organizations and serves on several advisory boards including the Hope Out Loud Foundation’s (holproject.com) health initiative where he serves as co-founder and chief clinical advisor. He is also the co-founder and chief clinical officer at ClinicSoft (clinicsoft.com), a software company that focuses on enhancing the delivery of clinical services through the use of technology. Dr. Douk is the host of Autism Talk, a radio show that brings consumers and providers together within the autism community. As an adjunct professor, he also co-directs the Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) program held jointly between National University and BHW. Dr. Douk is a member of the California Association for Behavior Analysis, Association for Behavior Analysis International, California Association of School Psychologists, and the American Psychological Association.
Tell me about your early career.
I started my career as a school psychologist.
How did the concept for Behavioral Health Works come about?
Experienced the challenges that families go through to obtain services and I wanted to provide a better solution for them to get this access and be provided with a one-stop shop for services.
How was the first year in business?
Exciting, fun, challenging. We needed to figure things out on the fly and were operating as a mom and pop shop in our first year. We made a lot of mistakes but were always open to change and making our services better, from the front-line clinical services to the back end administration.
What was your marketing strategy?
Catered towards the schools nearby to show how BHW can help improve the lives of our families.
How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
Families, schools, and other partners responded and we consistently grew 500% each year.
How do you define success?
When you’re able to sustain and maintain an organization for the short, medium, and long-term.
What is the key to success?
Communication, across, below, above, all around.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
To never stop learning.
What are some quotes that you live by?
“You give a person in need a fish and you feed them for a day. You teach them to fish and you give them an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime.”
What are some of your favorite books?
Good to Great by Jim Collins.
Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
Navigating the uncertainty with various funding sources and establishing an infrastructure that’s comprehensive but adaptable at the same time.
When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
Prayer. Support from family and my community of brothers and sisters to journey alongside with me.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Stay hungry but remember to stay humble.
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This interview was conducted for research purposes by author Jason Navallo for his upcoming book, Underdog.
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