Ximena Lopez, MD
Growing up in Spain and Mexico, Dr. Ximena Lopez spent a great deal of her time hospitalized for severe asthma. That experience informs her daily work as a physician. “I was impressed by the physicians who took care of me, and I have wanted to be one ever since,” she says. Dr. Lopez focused her studies on the endocrine system, the collection of glands and organs that produce and regulate hormones in the bloodstream to control many functions of the body, including metabolism, growth and sexual development. “There is a strong need for research in this field to improve the outcomes of our patients,” explains Dr. Lopez. “For example, it is still unclear which very young patients with gender dysphoria will persist as transgender individuals through adulthood. There is no objective diagnostic test available that can predict this.” After almost three years of work, Dr. Lopez founded the GENder Education and Care, Interdisciplinary Support (GENECIS) program at Children’s Health℠, Dallas Texas in 2014. It is the first such program in the Southwest that provides comprehensive mental and endocrine care for youth with gender dysphoria. In addition, Dr. Lopez is the principal investigator for a study evaluating the changes in psychological outcomes in adolescents with gender dysphoria followed in the program, most of whom are on endocrine therapy. In the near future, she hopes to expand her research and investigate the neurobiology of children with gender dysphoria with functional MRIs, as well as the effects of GnHR receptor agonists and cross-sex hormones on glucose and lipid metabolism in adolescents. Management of children with gender dysphoria is complex and requires a collaborative focus, as well as an intricate attention to detail. Dr. Lopez finds her work captivating. “I am constantly inspired by my patients and their families,” she explains. “It is extremely gratifying to see a child who is depressed blossom and become a happy individual with the adequate support and treatment.” Dr. Lopez earned her medical degree from Universidad La Salle in Mexico. She completed her pediatric residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2005; her pediatric endocrinology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School; and her clinical research fellowship at Joslin Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in 2008. She is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and its sub-board on pediatric endocrinology, and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Pediatric Endocrine Society and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. She is also an associate professor of pediatrics in the Pediatric Endocrinology Division of UT Southwestern Medical Center. Outside of her practice, Dr. Lopez enjoys family activities outdoors with her son and husband. She practices taekwondo and flamenco dancing, and looks forward to opportunities to travel and explore new places.