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Pioneering Education in Personalized Medicine

Dr. Waters Participates in the First Sex and Gender Medical Education Summit at Mayo Clinic

It’s becoming more and more clear that to advance health, we must personalize our disease prevention strategies and medical treatments. We must match each patient with the best possible care.

Experts are now looking to personalized medicine — also known as individualized or precision medicine — to provide a patient-centered framework for ushering in a new way of thinking that will guide tomorrow’s inevitable leaps in medical innovation.

But in order for this medical-cultural shift to occur, we need to incorporate this new way of thinking into how physicians are trained. To accomplish this, a group of scientists and medical educators convened at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN in October 2015 for the first Sex and Gender Medical Education Summit. This timely initiative recognizes the mounting medical evidence that men and women are different when it comes to many important aspects of biology and disease. For example, from lupus to Grave’s disease, from rheumatoid arthritis to multiple sclerosis, women are more prone than men to develop autoimmune diseases. Men report better health than women, yet women outlive men. Adverse drug effects are seen much more frequently in women.

The goal of this first-of-its-kind educational summit is that 5 years from now in every medical school in the U.S., physicians-in-training will be taught about high blood pressure in men and high blood pressure in women, rather than just high blood pressure. They will be trained in the lung cancers of women and the lung cancers of men, rather than generic lung cancer.

Dr. Waters was one of 150 participants at the Mayo Clinic Summit, sharing his decade-long experience in researching male-female differences in biology and health. In 2004, Dr. Waters’ team published work on male-female differences in the ability of the trace mineral selenium to protect against human cancers.

More recently, the Murphy Foundation’s published research on highly successful aging in pet dogs documented a female longevity advantage that depends on ovary function. The Murphy Foundation will continue to champion research and education on personalized medicine, including sex-specific differences that impact cancer and aging.

In 2016, Dr. Waters intends to publish the Murphy Foundation’s new findings providing the first examination of sex differences in disease resistance in the oldest-living Rottweilers. With these efforts, the Murphy Foundation will be propelling forward the new thinking — advancing patient-centered care for people and pet animals through precision medicine.

  • More findings on female longevity advantage from our research

  • Selenium and women's health

  • Our manuscript on sex differences in the anticancer effects of selenium

  • Our thoughts on "personalized cancer prevention"