It Takes a Village: IDSA’s Statement on the Executive Order on Travel to the U.S.

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Last night two U.S. federal courts issued orders putting a stop to President Trump’s executive order prohibiting travel to the U.S. from six Muslim-majority countries. The courts said the order is discriminatory because it’s a religious test that violates the separation of church & state doctrine, which flows from the 1st amendment to the constitution.

That’s front-page news. What’s less well known & also vital, is that the U.S. science & medical community is up in arms about the ban. That’s because they recognize that disease threats are global (think Ebola or the bird flu virus) & therefore believe the solutions are also global. Take, for example, the World Health Organization’s plea last month for world governments to coordinate their efforts to combat 12 “priority pathogens,” MRSA among them.

But for world-leading governments to be at their best they need the best people. And so the Infectious Disease Society of America has also weighed in with a statement condemning the ban. Notice that IDSA frames infectious disease as a national security threat. Essentially saying we need medical “soldiers” from across the globe, over here, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with us, to combat the problem – otherwise the annual body count will rise, needlessly:

IDSA Statement on Exec. Order on Travel to U.S

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. … 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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