We celebrated our 24th annual gala in the exclusive Metropolitan Club in New York City, where we honored Patricia D. Klingenstein and Sally S. Kleberg for their admirable, incredible, and impactful philanthropic work.
Patricia Klingenstein’s consistent and generous support of institutions devoted to education, medicine, history, and art is exemplary. Pat and her family are longtime members of the Klingenstein Center at Teacher’s College—dedicated to improving the quality of independent schools—and supporters of the Mercy Hospital in Maine—whose mission is devoted to intensely personal patient care. Pat’s deep interest in history is reflected by a 30-year involvement in the New York Historical Society, to which she and her husband have contributed the Klingenstein Library, and where she is the longest-serving trustee. Her passion for the arts is demonstrated by support for a number of museums, including the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick Museum. Pat is also an invaluable patron of New York libraries: she is a trustee of the New York Public Library, and was honored by the New York Landmarks Conservancy as a “Living Landmark” in 2021 for her contributions to the preservation and improvement of city branch libraries.
Sally Kleberg’s exceptional philanthropy is founded on her philosophy that the American model of philanthropy and stewardship is derived from our cultural history as pioneers and immigrants who cut their way across the land to create American democracy. As a 5th generation member of the remarkable King Ranch family from South Texas, Sally has an especially insightful understanding into the nature of private philanthropy as the “giving of time, talent, and treasure” alongside concepts of stewardship and building value. She is passionate advocate of Duke University’s School of Environment and is particularly interested in endangered areas of the planet like the Galapagos Islands and Madagascar, Sally also continues her family’s mission of improving availability of quality education to all.
Thanks to the invaluable generosity of Pat, Sally, and so many more, we were able to expand our international presence this year, even during such a difficult time. This was also the first year that the Foundation was able to extend its support to promising, young researchers outside the United States! In January, we awarded grants to Doctor Joohyung Lee from Monash University in Australia, for the study of male-specific Parkinson’s disease therapy, and to Doctor Chiara Baggio, a junior faculty member from the University of Padova in Italy, for the study of blood vessel function in autoimmune disease.
Our most recent and exciting scholarly venture is an extremely prestigious symposium on the latest developments in the new science of epigenetics, which we are hosting at the invitation of the Menarini Foundation of Italy in the Spring of 2022. The Foundation has assembled a faculty of 30 world-class investigators to present on the fascinating new discipline of epigenetics, the science of how gene expression is regulated in response to environmental factors.
The Foundation is also proud of the important work we’ve continued back home in the United States. We supplemented our 5-year $250,000 commitment to Johns Hopkins Center for Women’s Health, Sex, and Gender with additional funding for research into the gender-specific aspects of COVID-19. The winners of this special grant were Doctors Monica Mugnier, Nishal Gilotra, Shannon Wood, and Fenna Sillé, whose studies range from immune evasion mechanisms in African sleeping sickness to heart failure process improvements. The Department of Medicine at Columbia University also named Doctor Delivette Castor as this year’s scholar to be supported by us through the M. Irene Ferrer Foundation. Dr. Castor is working to deploy advanced machine-learning methods to end HIV in women.
The Foundation is also very excited to announce that our most recent publication, The Plasticity of Sex, won a Prose Award from the Association of American Publishers. This is our second Prose Award—our first was for the third edition of The Principles of Gender-Specific Medicine, which also won the award for the best book in clinical medicine published in 2018.
Thanks to all of our supporters; you are an amazing, invaluable, and excellent group to whom we look for the advice, funding and guidance that makes our work possible.
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.
At its core, gender-specific medicine is the science of how normal human biology differs between men and women and how the diagnosis and treatment of disease differs as a function of gender. Dr. Legato’s discoveries and those of her colleagues have led to a personalization of medicine that assists doctors worldwide in understanding the difference in normal function of men and women and in their sex-specific experiences of the same diseases.
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), The International Society for Gender Medicine: History and Highlights (Academic Press, 2017), and most recently, The Plasticity of Sex (Academic Press, 2020). Her books have been translated into 28 languages to date.
As an internationally respected authority on gender medicine, Dr. Legato has chaired symposia and made keynote addresses to world congresses in gender-specific medicine in Berlin, Israel, Italy, Japan, Panama, South Korea, Stockholm, and Vienna. In collaboration with the Menarini Foundation, she is co-chairing a symposium on epigenetics, Sex, Gender and Epigenetics: From Molecule to Bedside, to be held in Spring 2021 in Italy. 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.”