Dr. Stefanick's research, which has been widely disseminated nationally and internationally, has emphasized the role of lifestyle—especially exercise, diet, weight control, and menopausal hormone therapy—on chronic disease prevention, particularly heart disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and more recently, dementia. Her primary academic interests include sex/gender differences and the influence of sex hormones on human physiology and disease, menopause, and health promotion over the life course, including healthy aging. She offers courses on these subjects at Stanford, where she plays major leadership roles in the Women's Health at Stanford program, the Cardiovascular Institute's Women's Heart Health Program, and the Cancer Prevention and Control Program of the Stanford Cancer Center.
Considering the differences between males and females in clinical decision-making is crucial. However, white adult men are strongly over-represented in existing medical data sets as clinical trials have not adequately enrolled women or analyzed sex-specific differences in the data. This lack of diversity in the data results in inaccurate treatment decisions. These same limitations are the result of the current “reference genomes” which are predominantly based on white, European ancestry. To fulfill the promise of precision medicine, clinical trials and population studies need to adequately include the female sex. This session will review the needs and progress being made to correct this issue so precision medicine can become more precise.