A Message from the Dean Evaon Wong, College of Health Sciences

Evaon Wong

As Dean of the College of Health Sciences, I am proud of the network of alumni we have built. From OT, PT, and PA we have created a robust community of healthcare professionals. In two years, we will graduate our first cohort of MSW students, who began their SMU journey in Fall 2023. We also plan to launch a new two-year Master of Health Administration degree this fall. (Note: it was just approved by WASC! We are eagerly awaiting confirmation to potentially introduce an alumni discount.) It is an exciting time for growth in our college and we are committed to keeping you well-informed about our progress and stay connected to our community.

Here are some highlights:

Physician Assistant

  • The PA Program welcomed 3 transfer students from CSU Monterey Bay this spring. SMU continues to support PA students and programs around California, in solidarity with CSU-MB and Western University, by providing a welcoming home for displaced students.
  • FACES for the Future, a program founded by Dr. Tomás Magaña, Assistant Professor and Medical Director in the Master of Physician Assistant Program at SMU, was recently awarded a multi-year grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to support overdose and substance misuse prevention for youth.

Occupational Therapy

  • Dr. Gordon Giles accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Occupational Therapy Association of California in November 2023.
  • On February 1, 2024, Dr. Domenique Embrey and OTD Student, Maria Morales, will be leaving for India to embark on the EXXAT Medical Mission. They will travel to an orphanage outside of Mumbai and to rural clinics via a medical mobile team.

Physical Therapy

  • Angela Rusher has been appointed to the Task Force to Explore Career Pathways for Graduates of DPT Programs of the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy.
  • Jeff South has been appointed to the Task Force to Develop a Systems Approach to Social Determinants of Health in PT Curriculum of the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy.

In August, we will welcome our next cohorts of students, with a two-day on-campus orientation session (which follows a virtual session earlier in the month). We have expanded the orientation programming as we seek to improve the student experience and encourage inter-professional collaboration. Faculty are working improving curricular design and execution, and planning to offer courses that are open across programs.
We are now hosting two college-wide town halls each year in spring and fall to gather in community and foster more communication and inter-departmental learning opportunities.

Additionally, we are hosting a presentation on gender affirming care on March 14th which will be accessible both in-person and via Zoom.

Recent research indicates that gender-affirming care saves lives through improving mental health outcomes for gender-diverse communities including nonbinary and transgender individuals. The presentation will cover foundational knowledge on gender-affirming care and address how to support clients/patients through their journey of transitioning.

Please find the event details below. If you wish to join in-person or virtually, please register here prior to March 7th for our planning purposes. For questions, please reach out to my assistant, Allyson Emmarene, at aemmarene@samuelmerritt.edu. Your participation is highly encouraged, and we look forward to fostering an inclusive and informative session.

Title: Providing Compassionate, Gender Affirming Care at Planned Parenthood MarMonte (PPMM) featuring Dr. Katherine Schott, DNP, MS, CNM, FACNM, CNE Vice President of Patient Services. 
Date: March 14, 2024
Time: 12 pm – 2 pm
Location: Zoom or SMU's Health Education Center 400 Hawthorne Ave, Bechtel Room
Oakland, CA 94609

We know the work you do as a graduate of SMU's College of Health Sciences will help promote health equity across diverse communities in California, and impact thousands of lives. And we want to hear from you, celebrate your accomplishments, and inspire new and prospective students with your example! We currently have openings for SMU Alumni Health Sciences Representatives, panelists for Admissions and/or Alumni events, and more. Please reach out to aemmarene@samuelmerritt.edu if you are interested in participating this year.

We also encourage you to stay in touch with the Office of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving for information on mixers, reunions, and other events to network with your peers. Questions should be directed to alumniaffairs@samuelmerritt.edu.

Thank you for all that you do every day to improve the lives of people in our communities.

Evaon Wong
Dean of the College of Health Sciences

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