Compassion in Action: SMU Embraces Gender Diversity with Dr. Katharine Schott's "Lunch and Learn" Presentation

Allyson Emmarene

On Thursday, March 14th, SMU hosted an engaging 90-minute presentation on gender-affirming care (GAC) with Dr. Katharine Schott from Planned Parenthood Mar Monte (PPMM). The event drew more than 125 students, faculty, staff, and incoming OT and PT students in person, with an additional 50+ participants joining online. This session was part of the “Lunch and Learn” series sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement, led by Sam Alavi-Irvine with support from Assistant Chief of DEI, Vivie Nguyen, College of Health Sciences, and Dean Evaon Wong’s office.


Prior to the event, the LGBTQIA+ working group shared specific topics they wished for Dr. Schott to address with the goal being to provide an introductory session on topics such as:

  • Essential principles of gender affirming care, including its definition and significance.
  • The life-saving impact of gender affirming care and its critical importance in addressing urgent healthcare needs.
  • Dispelling the misconception of gender affirming procedures as elective, highlighting their essential role in enhancing individuals' well-being, satisfaction and quality of life.
  • Comprehensive medical support throughout the transitioning process, encompassing post-surgery physical therapy and other vital aspects of care.
  • Addressing the mental health challenges, such as isolation, faced by gender diverse communities.
  • Advocating for self-education among healthcare providers, emphasizing the importance of proactively learning about best practices rather than relying solely on trans and non-binary individuals for guidance.

Dr. Katharine Schott, DNP, MS, CNM, FACNM, CNE, is the VP of Patient Services for PPMM.  She provided a comprehensive and inspiring presentation on how a national organization like Planned Parenthood provide GAC in their clinics.  She discussed what that care looks like (e.g. hormone therapy, surgeries, and non-medical gender affirmation), as well as how she as a practitioner strives to make all patients feel welcome and supported.  


To extend support, two outreach representatives from PPMM staffed a table equipped with informative materials, sign-up sheets, and complimentary giveaways. And SMU provided a table featuring Pride t-shirts and pronoun badges, which were accessible to all members of our community.


With the success of Dr. Schott’s powerful and informative presentation, we hope it draws more awareness to GAC and the importance of its implementation in student coursework, faculty and staff training, and practice.


SMU continues to actively work on making the university a more inclusive and supportive place for all by expanding our efforts to provide compassionate care for diverse populations.


For those seeking more information, please feel free to contact Dean Wong’s assistant, Allyson Emmarene at

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