Donation to Gender Medicine at Karolinska Institutet

Published 2010-02-17 00:00. Updated 2013-11-26 10:24

[Press Release 2010-02-17] How do gender differences influence the way in which patients are affected by disease? Should men and women receive the same treatments? Everyone´s right to receive the best possible care regardless of gender is the underlying vision for a donation of SEK 10 million from Paul Lederhausen - the entrepreneur whose achievements include the establishment of McDonald's in Sweden. The donation will allow Karolinska Institutet to establish the Erica Lederhausen Professorship in Gender Medicine Research, one of the first professorships in the world in the field of gender medicine.

Paul Lederhausen Photo: Tobias Arnerlöv
Paul Lederhausen Photo: Tobias Arnerlöv

Gender medicine research has revealed biological differences between men and women that are crucial to how medical care and treatment should be designed. However, even though insight into medical differences between the genders has increased, both men and women are still affected by a lack of knowledge within gender medicine, in both care and research. For example, all studies of osteoporosis have been carried out on women, leading to the lack of guidelines for the treatment of men.

"Everyones right to receive the best possible health care and medical treatment is fundamental in a democratic society. I find it very exciting to be involved in supporting the growth of such a new area as gender medicine, which has the potential to generate discoveries of major significance for women and men to receive the best possible care and treatment", says Paul Lederhausen.

The Erica Lederhausen Professorship in Gender Medicine Research will be based at the Karolinska Institutet Centre for Gender Medicine, which was inaugurated in 2001 as the first centre for gender medicine in the world. The generous donation from Paul Lederhausen will enable the centre, under the leadership of the first incumbent of the professorship, Karin Schenk-Gustafsson, to undertake major new initiatives. The professorship will be directed towards research into gender differences for widespread public diseases such as cardio-vascular disease, cancer and psychiatric conditions, with respect to their causes, symptoms, treatments and prognoses.

"Karolinska Institutet is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a medical university in 2010, which provides us with the opportunity to look back with pride, but an even greater opportunity to contemplate the future. The establishment of one of the first professorships in gender medicine in the world is an important initial step for us in realising our visions for the future", says Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, President.

Paul Lederhausen is the businessman behind the establishment of McDonald's in Sweden. The daughter in the Lederhausen family, Erica, suffered from cystic fibrosis and died in 1976, aged just 16 years. Paul Lederhausen has provided significant support for many years, both as an individual and through McDonald's, for research into and care of seriously ill children. Ronald McDonald Barnfond (The Ronald McDonald House Charities in Sweden) supports families with seriously ill children through such projects as the building of Ronald McDonald Houses. These houses provide the opportunity for families to live in homely and secure surroundings close to their children while they are being treated in hospital. Four houses have been built so far - in Huddinge, Gothenburg, Lund and Linköping - and fundraising for a fifth is under way. The Ronald McDonald House Charities has awarded more than SEK 100 million since it was founded in 1990, and more than 50,000 family members have been able to live in the houses.

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