Infectious diseases do not respect national borders, and success in fighting them requires a global response. Broad international collaboration is critical to our ability to identify, track and respond to emerging infectious diseases.
As a medical society representing over 10,000 infectious diseases physicians and scientists from 100 countries over 6 continents, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) joins many other medical and scientific societies in expressing deep concern about the impact of the recent executive order restricting the entrance of certain foreign nationals to the United States. Advances in medicine come as a result of international collaboration and the free exchange of scientific ideas and discoveries. Travel and attendance at international conferences, including those held in the U.S., is essential to such collaboration.
The executive order may also negatively affect our nation’s medical and scientific workforce. Over the past decade, about one third of physicians entering the ID specialty have come from countries other than the U.S., including those impacted by the executive order. These ID physicians contribute to America’s robust ID patient care, public health efforts, and biomedical research and innovation. IDSA and the HIV Medicine Association have already heard reports from members who fear they will be unable to re-enter the U.S. after visiting family in their countries of origin, despite having valid visas, and these concerns will likely spill over to international travel essential to their work. Limiting the capabilities of physicians and scientists to collaborate around the world threatens the very national security the administration is committed to protecting.
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