January 31, 2017
1 min read

ACC president: Travel ban could be detrimental to research, patient care

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The president of the American College of Cardiology issued a statement that said the Trump administration’s ban on travel to the United States by immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations could have a “detrimental impact” on scientific discovery and patient care.

“The ability to share ideas and knowledge necessary to address [the CVD] epidemic is imperative,” Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC, president of the ACC and medical director of the Heart and Vascular Institute at Lee Health in Fort Myers, Florida, said in the statement. “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 [CVD] is no longer the No. 1 killer of men and women worldwide, we must ensure that our system of scientific exchange allows for health care professionals to learn from each other regardless of their nationality.”

Richard A. Chazal

The travel ban also complicates matters because many people who work in U.S. hospitals and health care practices are international medical graduates, naturalized citizens and legal residents, Chazal said, noting that more than 25% of current practicing physicians are international medical graduates, with cardiologists having one of the highest percentages.

“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 [CV] workforce shortage, especially in rural America,” Chazal said. “Such policies also threaten the care continuum of patients who rely on these providers for their medical care.”

He said 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 the promise of the modern-day Hippocratic Oath, which states in part: “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 ... 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.”

Disclosure: Chazal reports no relevant financial disclosures.