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Scientific Bio

Dr. Marianne J. Legato, MD

Last updated : September 29, 2017

Marianne J. Legato, M.D., Ph.D. (hon c), F.A.C.P., is an internationally known academic physician, author, lecturer, and specialist in gender-specific medicine. She is an Emerita Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School. She received an honorary PhD in 2015 from the University of Panama in recognition for her work in establishing the importance of gender-specific medicine in basic research and clinical medicine.

Dr. Legato founded the Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University in 1997. It was the first collaboration between academic medicine and the private sector focused solely on gender-specific medicine: the science of how normal human biology differs between men and women and of how the diagnosis and treatment of disease differs as a function of gender. Doctor Legato has established the not-for profit Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine, which is dedicated to the support of gender-specific biomedical investigation and educational outreach to both the lay and scientific communities.

Doctor Legato is the editor of the first textbook on gender medicine, Principles of Gender-Specific Medicine, published for the scientific community by Elsevier in 2004. The second edition appeared in 2010. The new third edition has just been released by the Academic Press. Her latest book for the scientific community written in collaboration with Dr. Marek Glezerman is The International Society for Gender Medicine: History and Highlights, which was released in September 2017.  She is the founder and editor in chief of three scientific journals, The Journal of Gender-Specific Medicine and Gender Medicine, published for the scientific community. Both were selected by the National Library of Medicine and Elsevier Science to be indexed and included in their worldwide databases, MEDLINE and EMBASE. The latest is the official journal of the Foundation, Gender and the Genome. The journal launched in 2017 and is published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Dr. Legato spent her research career doing cardiovascular research on the structure and function of the cardiac cell. The American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health supported her work. She won the Murray Steele Award, the Martha Lyon Slater Fellowship, and a four-year Senior Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, New York Affiliate. She won a coveted Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health and has been a member both of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s study section on cardiovascular disease as well as the Basic Science Council of the American Heart Association. Dr. Legato served as a charter member of the Advisory Committee to the National Institute of Health's Office of Research on Women's Health from 1995 to 1998, and was the co-author of their Task Force Report on Women's Health.

Her preeminence in the field of gender-specific medicine is reflected in the over 575 invitations she has received to both lay and professional audiences throughout the world. She has made keynote addresses at international conferences including the State Street Executive Women's Dinner Series (2014), the Academic Emergency Medicine Consensus Conference (2014), the 25th European Students Conference (2014), the Annual FOCUS Fall Conference for Penn Women at the University of the PA Perelman School of Medicine (2015), Sex Matters: Update in Gender Specific Patient Care at Johns Hopkins (2015), 7th Congress of the International Society of Gender Medicine Conference, Berlin (2015), Gender and Lifestyle: From Puberty to Elderly Frailty, Matera (Italy) (2016), and International Congress of Cardiology: From Scientific Evidence to Clinical Practice. Taormina, Italy (2016), The 8th Congress of the International Society for Gender Medicine: Trends in Gender Medicine: Super-Aging Society and Globalization, Japan (2017), and most recently, delivered the keynote address at the NHLBI/ORWH Workshop: “Female Sex and Gender in Lung/Sleep Health and Disease,” Washington D.C. (2017). She has been invited as a Distinguished Speaker and Guest of Honor at the 2nd Global Men’s Health Summit in Panama in February of 2018.

Dr. Legato has received many awards for her leadership role in gender-specific medicine, among them inclusion in the 2003 National Library of Medicine’s exhibit, “Changing the Face of Medicine”, which honored the lives and accomplishments of women who enhanced the practice of medicine in the United States. In the fall of 2000, the Ladies Home Journal honored Dr. Legato as a “Heroine of Women’s Health. She received the “Woman in Science” award from the American Medical Women’s Association in February of 2002. She delivered the keynote address at the inaugural kickoff of the Gender-Specific Scientific Interest Group of the Intramural Program for Research on Women’s Health of the National Institutes of Health in 2002. In 2005, Dr. Legato won the Shirley Sacks Women’s Health Award for Distinguished Service in Gender-Specific Medicine from the National Council on Women’s Health, Inc. She was named the 2005 Lila A. Wallis Distinguished Visiting Professor in Women’s Health at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY. She received the President’s Award from Women in Health Management in 2006. The Ladies’ Home Journal created the Marianne J. Legato award in Gender-Specific Medicine in 2006, awarded annually to a physician who has made an outstanding contribution to gender-specific science and clinical care. Most recently she received an honorary award for excellence in science from the University of Messina in Italy (2016).

She writes extensively for the lay public. In 1992, Dr. Legato won the American Heart Association’s Blakeslee Award for the best book written for the lay public on cardiovascular disease with her publication of The Female Heart: The Truth About Women and Heart Disease, published by Simon & Schuster. She published What Women Need to Know, (Simon & Schuster) in 1997. Her book for the lay public on gender-specific medicine, Eve’s Rib, was published in 2002 by Harmony Books; her book, Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget, was published in 2005 by Rodale and is now translated into 24 languages. Her latest book, Why Men Die First, (Palgrave) appeared in 2008.

She is a practicing internist in New York City and has been listed each year in New York Magazine’s Best Doctors since the feature’s inception in 1993 through 2014 and Castle Connelly's Top Doctors List through 2017.

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