International Women's Day interview: Dr. Marianne Legato on gender-specific medicine

RELX, 8th March 2021

RELX’s Global Head of Corporate Responsibility, Dr Márcia Balisciano, talks to Dr. Marianne Legato about gender-specific medicine.

Marianne J. Legato, MD, Ph. D. (hon. c.), FACP is an internationally renowned academic, physician, author, lecturer, and pioneer in the field of gender-specific medicine. She is a Professor Emerita of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School. Dr. Legato is also the Director of the Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine, which she founded in 2006 as a continuation of her work with The Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University. She received an honorary PhD from the University of Panama in 2015 for her work on the differences between men and women.

She began her work in gender-specific medicine by authoring the first book on women and heart disease, The Female Heart: The Truth About Women and Coronary Artery Disease, which won the Blakeslee Award of the American Heart Association in 1992. Because of this research, the cardiovascular community began to include women in clinical trials affirming the fact that the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment of the same disease can be significantly different between the sexes. Convinced that the sex-specific differences in coronary artery disease were not unique, Dr. Legato began a wide-ranging survey of all medical specialties and in 2004, published the first textbook on gender-specific medicine, The Principles of Gender-Specific Medicine. The second edition appeared in 2010 and the third edition, dedicated to explaining how gender impacts biomedical investigation in the genomic era, won the PROSE Award in Clinical Medicine from the Association of American Publishers in 2018. A fourth edition is forthcoming.

She also founded the first scientific journals publishing new studies in the field, The Journal of Gender-Specific Medicine, and a newer version, Gender Medicine, both listed in the Index Medicus of the National Library of Medicine. She has founded a third peer-reviewed, open access journal, Gender and the Genome, which focuses on the impact of biological sex on technology and its effects on human life.

Dr. Legato is the author of multiple works, including: What Women Need to Know (Simon & Schuster, 1997), Eve’s Rib (Harmony Books, 2002), Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget (Rodale, 2005), Why Men Die First (Palgrave, 2008), and The International Society for Gender Medicine: History and Highlights (Academic Press, 2017). Her most recent book, The Plasticity of Sex (Academic Press, 2020), won the PROSE Award in Biomedicine from the Association of American Publishers in 2021. Her books have been translated into 28 languages to date.

Dr. Legato was the President and speaker at the International Symposium: “The World Writes on the Body: How the Environment Impacts the Phenotype,” Florence, Italy (2018). She was the keynote lecturer at the International Society of Gender Medicine’s 2019 Annual Congress, where she gave a presentation on the adaptability of the human genome. In 2018 and 2020, she was a Distinguished Speaker and Guest of Honor at the 2nd and 3rd “Global Men’s Health Summit” in Panama. She is also a Keynote Lecturer at the “Sex and Gender Health Education Summit,” a national collaboration brought together by the Mayo Clinic, the American Medical Women’s Association, the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health, and Thomas Jefferson University. In collaboration with the Menarini Foundation, Dr. Legato will co-chair a historic summit on epigenetics with 30 of the world’s leading researchers, to be held in 2021.

In 2021, she was awarded the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and the Humanitarian Award by Marquis Who’s Who. She maintains one of the only gender-specific private practice in New York City, and she has earned recognition as one of the “Top Doctors in New York.”

We are grateful to all our fascinating podcast guests for taking their time to share their thoughts and hopes with us.  Inevitably, given remote working, there may be occasional sound interference – which does not detract from our speakers’ insights.