To: Columbia University

Per Fink Should Not Spread Lies about ME at Columbia University!

Per Fink giving a lecture.

We demand that Per Fink be uninvited to speak at the 4th Columbia University Psychosomatic Conference taking place in New York City on Saturday, October 20th.

Per Fink is a practicing physician in Denmark who uses the diagnosis of Bodily Distress Syndrome (BDS) as a unified umbrella for a number of diseases, including myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). He treats theses diseases as psychosomatic illness with talk therapy and graded exercise, which have been shown to harm people with ME.

The National Academy of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the New York State Department of Health have all clearly stated that this disease is NOT psychosomatic, but rather is a disease that causes serious neurological, immunological, energy metabolism, and autonomic impairment. Allowing Dr. Fink to continue to spread misinformation about this disease is reckless and dangerous and puts people with ME at risk of harm.

We absolutely believe that scientists should have academic freedom, but there must be a standard for continuing education courses to be backed by science. We believe that the level of science in Per Fink’s work is not up to the standard of Columbia University or the co-sponsors of the conference.

Why is this important?

Per Fink's approach has been responsible for children being removed from their homes because he believes ME is psychosomatic.

Per Fink’s clinic claims to treat ME but no patient has ever received an ME diagnosis there. So far, 55 patient complaints about his practices at the clinic have been sent to the Board of Patient Safety in Denmark.

Per Fink WRONGLY claims:

- ME is a form of BDS because the symptoms of ME fit into his overly-broad BDS concept.

- He can cure ME patients with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) – he uses the flawed PACE trial as evidence.

- His website claims that no patients have been harmed by his treatments.

- ME is caused by incorrect illness beliefs, deconditioning and stress.

There is no scientific evidence for any of this. And yet, in less than a month, on October 20, Per Fink will be speaking at Columbia University.

The Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health received part of a $9.6 million dollar multi-center grant over five years to study the biology of ME. How can a university that accepts grants to study ME also host a speaker that propagates the idea that ME is psychosomatic?

Please sign this petition to demand that the conference director, Dr. Alla Landa, uninvite Per Fink from the Psychosomatic Conference at Columbia University.

UPDATE (10/08/18): We've updated the language in the above paragraph about the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) to clarify that CII is not hosting the event nor do they support it. They study the biomedical reality of ME. This petition is calling on the University to disinvite Per Fink, not CII. Also CII only received part of the $9.6M multi-center grant (since they are one of several centers funded by this grant).


Reasons for signing

  • Per Fink represents everything wrong with medicine. His work is harmful to patients and rooted in ideological non sequiturs and logical fallacies. In earlier times, Fink would have confidently argued for the psychogenic origin of diabetes, asthma, tuberculosis, MS, lupus and many other conditions his predecessors have wrongly imagined to be illusionary. Stop inventing nonsense and let science do its work free of ideology and personal beliefs.
  • I am an ME patient and as a sufferer for 8 years with my life turned upside down! Stuck in pain, in bed, unable to do anything! This Dr has it all wrong and his thinking is VERY DANGEROUS to patients! Please look to Open Medicine Foundation our of Stanford for scientific up to date FACTS! On this serious, debilitating illness! Ty
  • Per Fink is a disgrace to medicine.

Updates

2018-10-19 16:16:37 -0400

10,000 signatures reached

2018-10-15 19:19:42 -0400

Know someone in the NYC area who supports people with ME? Encourage them to come out on Saturday, Oct. 20th to protest Per Finks participation in the Columbia University Psychosomatics Conference:
https://my.meaction.net/events/columbia-university-per-fink-protest-stop-the-harm

2018-10-15 19:05:27 -0400

Signed the petition? Here is something else you can do! Call and email these people:
- Dr. Ann Marie T. Sullivan (Commissioner of New York State Office of Mental Health),
- Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman (Executive Director of NYS Psychiatric Institute),
- Dr. Alla Landa (Columbia Psychosomatics Conference Director)

Contact information and messaging can be found here:
https://my.meaction.net/events/call-email-campaign-to-stop-per-fink/

2018-10-10 03:50:36 -0400

5,000 signatures reached

2018-10-08 19:10:05 -0400

UPDATE (10/08/18): We've updated the language in the second to last paragraph of the "WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT" petition explanation section. This is to clarify that the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University is not hosting the event with Per Fink nor do they support it. They study the biomedical reality of ME. This petition is calling on the University to disinvite Per Fink, not CII. Also CII only received part of the $9.6M multi-center grant (since they are one of several centers funded by this grant).

2018-10-06 03:50:37 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2018-10-05 20:26:42 -0400

500 signatures reached

2018-10-05 16:55:07 -0400

100 signatures reached

2018-10-05 16:28:45 -0400

50 signatures reached

2018-10-05 16:15:53 -0400

25 signatures reached

2018-10-05 16:08:53 -0400

10 signatures reached