AAFP: Discrimination Based on Religion Not the Answer to U.S. Security Woes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017

Statement attributable to:
John Meigs, Jr., MD
President
American Academy of Family Physicians


“The American Academy of Family Physicians encourages the Trump Administration to recognize the important role immigrants have played throughout the history of the United States to help make this country one of the most inclusive, thoughtful and progressive in the world.

"Many of America’s physicians and students earn their medical degrees overseas and complete residency training in the United States, where they then continue to practice medicine successfully. Discrimination based on religion and targeted at physicians and medical students, among many others, is simply un-American. These additional primary care physicians are very important to our health care workforce and provide much needed care to all segments of society, from rural to urban to underserved; infants to children, adults and the elderly. Patient care is the AAFP’s number one priority -- denying that based on a physician’s religion, geographic location, or nation of origin is unacceptable.

"The AAFP appreciates the Administration’s desire to protect our freedoms -- but doing so with a wholesale ban on particular populations entering the United States is not the solution. Our international physicians and medical students have worked hard to earn the privilege to practice medicine in the United States. Locking them out of the country by imposing arbitrary discrimination via travel restrictions is at least uninformed, and at most, a threat to the nation’s ability to ensure a physician workforce that meets patients’ needs. 

"We are also deeply concerned that steps taken by the Administration will have a chilling effect on global health. It is often America’s physicians who answer the call to assist people around the world when a public health crisis occurs. Imagine a world where physicians fail to answer the call of the needy because they fear they may not be able to return to their home and families in the United States.   

"America has long accepted many of those who are forced to flee their countries for political or religious reasons. We stand proud as a land of opportunity. 

"The AAFP looks forward to working with the Administration to help address our security issues while at the same time, declaring that a blanket solution to a very specific issue is not the answer.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Meigs, contact Janelle Davis, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5222, or jdavis@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).