19 September 2019

From the Secretary General

On behalf of the Association I would like to state that we are deeply sorry for the sexist, unprofessional and unauthorised slide used by an external speaker at an event in Homburg (Saar), Germany yesterday. This is an issue we are taking extremely seriously and this has been discussed with the Officers of the EACTS Council. I would like to thank Rebecca Dobson (on Twitter @theharveys) for bringing this to our attention. I’m also grateful that another speaker on the course subsequently raised the issue in front of the audience and a full apology was made to the audience at the time. There is no place for sexism or other forms of discrimination in our Association.

We understand that the offensive slide was part of a presentation by an external speaker. We have initiated an investigation to understand the full circumstances. Our investigation continues.

We have reviewed and updated our guidance to speakers. It’s disappointing that we need to state explicitly in writing that slides of this nature will not be tolerated, but we have updated our guidance in any case to make it abundantly clear. It’s vital that EACTS speakers and trainers – as well as our members and staff – uphold the highest professional standards at all times.

EACTS has a long history of inclusiveness and this individual’s slide does not reflect the values and standards that our global members represent.  We are committed to accelerating diversity and openness across the organisation – and the cardio-thoracic specialty more broadly. That’s why we have been working over the summer to establish a new Women in Cardio-Thoracic Surgery Committee. We’re in the final stages of recruitment and the Chair will be appointed and announced in the coming weeks.