What happened when a Syrian, Muslim physician wrote a letter to his patients about immigration

Practice Management

Rany Jazayerli, MD, a dermatologist in the Chicago suburbs, decided to share his heritage as a Syrian and Muslim with his patients in a letter while also outlining his views on recent immigration policy. The Daily Herald published a column from Dr. Jazayerli, explaining what happened when he sent his political views to patients.

Dr. Jazayerli was at a medical conference in Utah when President Donald Trump signed his executive order placing travel bans on immigrants from seven countries where citizens are predominantly Muslim. The executive order left much up to interpretation and in some airports Green Card holders were detained and denied access to the United States.


During the period after President Trump signed the ban, Dr. Jazayerli remained in Utah but felt he "had to do something." When he returned to Chicago, he decided to pen a letter to his patients sharing his Syrian and Muslim heritage because polls show Americans are more likely to think positively about Muslims when they know someone of Muslim decent personally.


Dr. Jazayerli guessed his patients would respond positively, and they did.


He reported several patients inquired about his family still living in Syria and none of his patients reported leaving the practice because of his letter.


"Maybe I'm supposed to be surprised at how positive the response has been from my patients, but I'm really not. I have complete confidence in the inherent goodness of this nation and its people, and I have faith that once my patients understand how this order affected me on a personal level, they would respond with sympathy and support," Dr. Jazayerli wrote.


The travel ban could have an impact on the U.S. physician shortage as well, as 30 percent of American transplant surgeons attended foreign medical schools and more than 260 people from countries affected by the travel ban have applied for medical residencies in the U.S. President Trump's initial executive order was suspended on Feb. 3 and a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit subsequently upheld the suspension, according to the Washington Post. However, President Trump is expected to sign a second executive order today that would go into effect March 16 that would impose a 90-day ban on entry for immigrants from six countries and suspending the U.S. refugee program for 120 days.


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