Will international physicians boycott U.S. meetings & medical journals?

Practice Management

There are some medical professionals calling to boycott U.S. medical journals and meetings over President Donald Trump's executive order placing travel restrictions on citizens of six primarily Muslim countries. 

Thousands of scientists and researchers from around the world signed an online petition boycotting conferences in the U.S. as a result of the executive order. The petition reads, "We the undersigned take action in solidarity with those affected by Trump's Executive Order by pledging not to attend international conferences in the US while the ban persists. We question the intellectual integrity of these spaces and the dialogue they are designed to encourage while Muslim colleagues are explicitly excluded from them."


Countries represented in the ban include the United Kingdom, Australia, Qatar, the Netherlands, Greece, Sweden, Canada, South Africa Germany, Pakistan, Brazil and some in the U.S.


After President Trump's initial executive order was blocked, he signed a revised executive order which two U.S. federal judges also blocked. The order would ban individuals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States.


The Canadian Medical Association Journal's Deputy Editor Matthew B. Stanbrook, MD, PhD, argued the boycott would do more harm than good and called for more collaboration with the U.S., according to a report in Medscape. Many scientific institutions in the U.S. condemned the travel ban as harmful to the scientific community. U.S. scientists and researchers have faced additional challenges from the Trump administration, as key influencers have questioned the validity of vaccinations, climate change and research funding.


"For academics to suspend interactions with U.S. colleagues or refuse to peer review and validated the work of U.S. researchers risks weakening U.S. science at the worst possible time, abandoning colleagues to face a political administration that already manifests a desire to muzzle federal scientists, escape accountability by the media and wage war on facts incompatible with its preferred narrative," he wrote.


Executive Vice President of the Association of American Medical Colleges Atul Grover, MD, PhD, supported the editorial and urged scientists to be politically active and use journals to explain the harm a travel ban does to the scientific and medical community.


The travel ban could also impact medical residents hoping to study in the United States, as expedited H-1B visa reviews won't be granted, according to the report.


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