ACC comments on President Trump’s executive order on immigration

American College of Cardiology (ACC) President Richard A. Chazal released a Jan. 30 statement denouncing President Donald Trump’s executive order that barred some refugees, immigrants and citizens from entering the U.S.

As the New York Times noted, the order was signed Jan. 27 and barred Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., suspended refugee admissions for 120 days and blocked citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days.

Chazal wrote in his statement that more than 25 percent of physicians are international medical graduates. He added that “we must ensure that our system of scientific exchange allows for healthcare professionals to learn from each other regardless of their nationality.”

Here is his full statement:

The ACC is the professional home for more than 52,000 cardiovascular care professionals around the world. This diverse group of scientists, teachers and healthcare professionals are united around the common mission of transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health with the ultimate goal of curbing the global epidemic of cardiovascular disease.

The ability to share ideas and knowledge necessary to address this epidemic is imperative. Policies that impede this free-flow of ideas will have a detrimental impact on scientific discovery, as well as the lives of patients around the world. If we are to realize a future where cardiovascular disease is no longer the #1 killer of men and women worldwide we must ensure that our system of scientific exchange allows for healthcare professionals to learn from each other regardless of their nationality.

Additionally, international medical graduates, naturalized citizens and legal residents make up a significant portion of the healthcare workforce in hospitals and practices across the country. For example, more than 25 percent of current practicing physicians are international medical graduates, with cardiology ranking among the top when broken down by medical specialty. Policies that bring the immigration status of those already here into question, while also limiting the ability of others to legally train in the U.S. going forward, will only serve to exacerbate the already existing cardiovascular workforce shortage, especially in rural America. Such policies also threaten the care continuum of patients who rely on these providers for their medical care.

The modern-day Hippocratic Oath in part says: “I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.” It goes on to say: “I will prevent disease whenever I can ... and I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings.” The ACC is committed to supporting all of its members—no matter where they live and work, and no matter where they are from—in fulfilling this promise.