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ACP reaffirms commitment to non-discrimination

January 30, 2017

Attributable to:
ACP President Nitin S. Damle, MD, MS, MACP President, American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians (ACP) today issued a statement reaffirming its commitment toward non-discrimination against physicians, medical students and others in immigration policies, and affirmed concerns that such discriminatory practices can have a negative impact on public and global health.

ACP will be releasing a comprehensive response to President Trump’s executive order, and other issues relating to immigration policy, in the very near future.  Yet it is already clear to us the executive order is resulting in discrimination based on religion against physicians and medical students from the designated countries who are getting their training, and caring for patients, in the United States.  These are physicians who have already been thoroughly vetted and had been granted visas.  They are now at risk of not being able to reenter the U.S. if they go abroad or may currently be abroad and being prevented from returning to their homes and their patients.

ACP has longstanding policy on diversity in medicine and non-discrimination in health care based on religion or gender, ACP affirms that physicians, including Muslim physicians, should not be subjected to discrimination and/or travel restrictions, based solely on their religious beliefs. ACP values the significant contributions of Muslim physicians to the health and well-being of our nation, as well as physicians of all religions, races, ethnicities and cultures, both in the U.S. and abroad. If the executive order is not permanently rescinded, blocked by the courts or reversed by Congress, it will hinder the free exchange of information and travel among doctors around the world. 

In 2016, 3,769 non U.S. citizen international medical graduates obtained first-year residency positions.  If the executive order prevents medical residents from being able to come to the U.S., this could potentially affect the care for thousands of patients.  The College is greatly concerned about the devastating impact on public health of a ban on refugees from war-torn countries that are most at risk of injury, death, persecution and deprivation.

Additionally, the ACP does not support discrimination or disparate treatment of any kind in healthcare settings, including discriminatory practices directed to those, including patients, who are Muslim and other religious faiths. 

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The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States. ACP members include 148,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

Contact: Jackie Blaser, (202) 261-4572,  jblaser@acponline.org