At the request of Taiwan’s National Defense Medical Center (NDMC), Marianne Legato, MD FACP, Founder and Director of the Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine, took a weeklong tour of Taipei in August. The trip, originally scheduled for May, was part of a national movement to embrace gender-specific medicine in the Taiwanese medical community.
Dr. Legato gave two speeches attended by the country’s top physicians and medical students. The first, Gender-Specific Medicine After the Age of Darwin: Achievements and Challenges in 21st Century Science reviewed the history of gender-specific medicine and how it influences the development of the new sciences. After describing the importance of gender-based research on clinical application, Dr. Legato surveyed genomics and what the future holds based on today’s scientific breakthroughs. She posed the question, “If we can synthetically create life, will it be an advantage to retain two sexes?” In response to Dr. Legato’s address, representatives of leading universities and the Taiwanese government participated in a panel discussion of the issues raised by her presentation.
Following the symposium, the Taiwan Women’s Link, hosted a roundtable discussion on women professionals. Taiwanese legislator Sue Huang, the organization’s founder, served as moderator. Dr. Legato drew on her own experiences when she advised the women in the audience to assert themselves. She described the resistance she endured both as a female medical student in the 1950s and as a pioneer of gender-specific medicine and the women’s health movement in the 1990s.
Because a typhoon kept Dr. Legato and Foundation staff from touring the rest of the country, she delivered her second speech in Taipei at the NDMC, and her hosts at the Tzu Chi University watched it virtually. The lecture, Why Sex Matters: The New Science of Gender-Specific Medicine, went into detail about the expressions of sex in the normal human function and experience of disease. Dr. Legato also explained genomics through the lens of gender, emphasizing that the new science does not make gender-specific medicine obsolete. Because the audience found the presentation so engaging, the moderator extended the question period of the lecture — a rarity in Taiwanese symposia.
Dr. Legato concluded her week with private meetings with key individuals in the Taiwanese health care system including the minister of health.
Full Presentation: Gender-Specific Medicine After the Age of Darwin Part 1
Full Presentation: Why Sex Matters