Will Trump's Ban Cause Foreign-Born Doctors to Look Elsewhere?
Doctors say the federal travel ban has sown widespread fear. The Medical Colleges Association estimates that about 18,000 current medical residents are not U.S. citizens. Other foreign doctors are practicing on non-immigrant visas.
This article first appeared February 2, 2017 on ProPublica.
Get sick in Toledo, Ohio, and chances are good you'll be treated by a doctor born in another country. If you have allergies, stomach issues or neurological problems, the chances are even better. At least half of those doctors are foreign-born, Ohio Medical Board data shows — some from the seven countries listed on President Trump's travel ban.
Allergist Syed Rehman, for instance, was born in Iraq, attended medical school in Pakistan and came to the United States for his specialty training in 1984. Neurologist Mouhammad Jumaa was born in Syria, went to medical school in Damascus, then did eight years of training in Pittsburgh. And Dr. Imran Ali, a professor of neurology at the University of Toledo Medical School, left Pakistan to complete his training in North Carolina.
For decades, foreign-born doctors like Rehman, Jumaa and Ali have played a vital role in shoring up American's health care system. The doctors come to the United States for residency, drawn by cutting edge medical training and American ideals, then stay to fill the country's growing need for doctors. But Trump's executive order this week — and worries it may expand to other countries, such as Pakistan — has touched off a wave of anxiety, anger and dire predictions that immigrant doctors, faced with hostility or uncertainty, may go somewhere else. The news made the front pages of media outlets across Pakistan and India.