Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What are they thinking at Susan G. Komen?

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is a great organization. They do important work and in a short period of time have changed the way we talk about breast cancer.

But as of right now, they are in the throes of a serious public relations misstep.

Earlier today, it came to my attention that Komen is collaborating on a regional breast cancer conference with Egypt. Of course, it makes sense that Israeli doctors and breast cancer advocates attend, given Egypt and Israel are neighbors at peace.

They were supposed to and, until yesterday, had all the required paperwork in place. Then, Egyptian officials decided having Israelis attend wasn't such a good idea.

Now, Susan G. Komen has quite the PR and communications infrastructure. They employ several PR firms. One would expect a statement from the organization about how breast cancer affects all, differences should be put aside, let's cooperate for the good of humanity, etc. and so on.

Their response?

Deafening silence. Where Komen should have put its foot down and threatened to walk out of the conference, founder Nancy Brinker is still scheduled to speak. Komen CEO is quoted as saying:

“In the midst of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this collaboration in Alexandria begins a week of listening, learning, sharing…and breaking the silence,” said Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. “We must break the silence because it saves women’s lives. Raising awareness about breast cancer teaches women and their families that there is hope and possibility after diagnosis. When breast cancer is discovered early, the chances for survival are very good.”

Apparently, listening, learning and sharing doesn't include Israelis, perhaps the most research-minded population on the planet today. And, if I had to bet, the source of whatever the next great breakthrough is against this

No comments: