AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, issued the following statement on the proclamation signed by President Trump limiting certain non-immigrant visas through December 31, 2020:
“The AAMC is deeply troubled by this proclamation, which will hinder our nation’s health care workforce and biomedical research enterprise. The medical residents, physicians, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students who work and train in the United States with H-1B and J-1 visas are integral to providing health care nationwide. These individuals are also performing scientific research that is critical to advancements in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the entire spectrum of illnesses, as well as future pandemics.
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted how sustaining our country’s health workforce is clearly a matter of vital national interest, as stated in the President’s April 22 immigration proclamation that categorically exempts health care professionals.
Over half of the current postdoctoral researchers in this country hold temporary non-immigrant visas and fill a critical need in the U.S. labor market by providing specialized knowledge and skills in the development of innovative and cutting-edge biomedical research.
Restricting these gifted international researchers and physicians from entering the U.S. will not help our economy, but rather will hamper the ability of our medical schools and teaching hospitals to make scientific progress. Ultimately it will reduce health care access across our nation.
The U.S. needs the strongest possible health care and research workforce now more than ever.
Limiting the health care worker and biomedical research exception to COVID-19 overlooks the fact that hundreds of thousands of Americans die each year of heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, among other diseases.
We urge the administration to rescind this policy in the national interest.”
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 comprise all 155 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 173,000 faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences. Additional information about the AAMC and its member medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org.