Precision medicine conference lambasted for heavily white male panels

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The Precision Medicine World Conference is under fire on social media for slating women in just 17 percent of its slots for speakers, according to a STAT report.

Unfortunately for the precision medicine group, the man leading the criticism against it is Jonathan Eisen, PhD, a microbiologist with a Twitter following that tops 37,400 people. So when Dr. Eisen tweeted, "No thanks #PMWC2017 - I don't want to go to your $&*@(#@( #manel #yammm #biased meeting," with a link to a blog he wrote lambasting the conference organizers, it got quite a bit of attention online. It launched a conversation on the lack of gender, racial and ethnic diversity in the speaker lineup.

"Just so sick of meetings like this," he wrote on the blog. He added, "I am sure they can all make a litany of excuses. But I am so tired of hearing them. In the end the only way to get some of these groups to change their practices is to boycott their meetings. And to publicly discuss, with the sponsors and speakers and organizers, why their meeting is not OK."

Conference organizer Tal Behar told STAT other meetings have a similar ratio of men to women, and an anonymous organizer of past Precision Medicine World Conferences told STAT they recruit local speakers heavily to keep costs down.

However, Twitter users are not letting the Precision Medicine World Conference off easy, counting how many speakers are local and tracking down other meetings with better male-to-female ratios.

Read more here.


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