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AAMC Statement on Immigration and Family Separation

June 20, 2018

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Stuart Heiser, Sr. Media Relations Specialist

AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement:

“As educators of future physicians and providers of care for the most vulnerable populations, including refugees from around the world, the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals see first-hand the health consequences of those who come to this country seeking safety and the harsh conditions they endured as they made their journey. Compounding this experience by separating children from their parents can have catastrophic effects. Decades of medical research tells us that separating a child from a parent or other caretaker can affect brain development and manifest itself in lasting mental and physical disorders.

The separation of families at the borders should not be considered a political issue or experiment in immigration policy. The human toll of this trauma is tragic and avoidable. This practice must stop—period.

Other immigration issues directly related to our health care workforce also require immediate attention, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The AAMC renews its call for immigration policy that creates certainty for physicians and researchers, attracts the best and the brightest from around the world, and promotes a culturally competent, diverse, and prepared health and biomedical workforce that leads to improved care and health equity.”

Child at border
A Mission Police Dept. officer (L), and a U.S. Border Patrol agent watch over a group of Central American asylum seekers before taking them into custody on June 12, 2018, near McAllen, Texas.
John Moore/Getty Images

The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.

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