multi-tasking?

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Executive Orders and the Medical Community

It’s sad they even had to release a statement, but below is the full statement from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

February 2, 2017
Dear Members of the Graduate Medical Education Community,

Since the Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” was issued on Friday, January 27, the ACGME leadership has been working with the leadership of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and other organizations to understand the details of the policies announced, and the implications for our current and future residents and fellows.

There are over 10,000 licensed physicians in the US who graduated from medical schools in one of the seven countries named in the Executive Order (EO). Some of these physicians practice in underserved communities through the Conrad 30 Waiver Program that permits International Medical Graduates (IMGs) to remain in the United States after graduation in order to provide care to medically underserved communities. They are a valued and welcomed group of colleagues.

There are currently approximately 1800 physicians enrolled in ACGME-accredited residency and fellowship programs who graduated from medical schools in the seven named countries. These physicians are providing much-needed medical care to a conservatively estimated 900,000 patients in urban, suburban, and rural communities across the country annually. They too are a valued and welcomed group of colleagues.

The ACGME, through its requirements and eligibility standards, articulates the values of our profession. Discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or other factors is a violation of our personal and professional values. To this end, we have worked with the AAMC and others to co-author a letter to President Trump representing the values of the profession, and concerns over these actions.

The ACGME is committed to programs in support of their residents, fellows, designated institutional officials, program directors, and the entire GME community through the disruption and uncertainty created by the EO. Our function on behalf of the medical community is to create an optimal clinical learning environment for residents and fellows in order to ensure that patients receive the highest quality of care. We will provide, as soon as we have it, authoritative information to you, through our combined efforts with the AAMC, ECFMG, and others, through our website and links to other authoritative sources.

Most importantly, we will continue to point out to the public and the profession the profound moral distress this EO has provoked within the health care community. We all know or know of individuals who have been directly affected by this event. What is not often as obvious is the anxiety and frustration it provokes in others indirectly impacted by the event. We might have concern for a colleague or friend, concern for family members, concern for contagion, or merely anger and frustration over the affront to personal and professional values. We encourage programs to spend time discussing these events, respecting all viewpoints, and deciding on actions where indicated to reaffirm our values, and support those in distress. This is a “teachable moment” for all of us. Let’s use it to make ourselves more committed to our values, less tolerant of discrimination and disparities, more supportive of inclusion, and more courageous in our pursuit of equity and excellence, kindness, compassion, and quality medical care for the American public.

We will continue to work with the ECFMG, which serves as the “IMGs’ Dean’s Office,” while residents apply to US residency and fellowship programs, as well as with the AAMC, which operates the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS®) program for applicants, to provide the best available information. A set of FAQs is in the process of being finalized. We will post those as soon as they are ready, and continue to update them as information becomes available. We greatly appreciate the work of our colleagues at the AAMC and ECFMG in crafting responses to these questions with us.

We also greatly appreciate the response we have received from individuals and groups who are concerned about the physicians impacted by the EO, and the ultimate impact on patient care in the United States. We will continue to monitor the situation, assess the implications, and provide updates on behalf of our residents and fellows, GME programs and institutions, and the broad GME community. Updates can be found at on our website and on our Twitter feed.

In closing, please use this opportunity to reaffirm and articulate our values. This should include “not giving up” on our international graduate applicants this year. Our colleagues from other countries have cared for America and Americans for generations. We must not abandon them now, as they search for the American Dream we often have taken for granted.

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Nasca, MD, MACP
Chief Executive Officer
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
ACGME International

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overheard

Person 1: You’re too young – you don’t need to get fillers or plastic surgery until you’re older.

Person 2: Thanks, but I could die tomorrow.

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A jobs plan?

In all seriousness, call them.  

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Religious Freedom Bills

If you needed some good news this week – here it is.

Many “religious freedom” bills and “bathroom” bills have been cropping up in many state legislatures lately.  Proponents argue that these bills are necessary to protect religious beliefs and all people to “peacefully exercise” their faith without diminishing the rights of any other group.  Similarly, “bathroom” bills have been proposed as necessary in order to safeguard women and children from potential sexual predators.  Opponents of these bills call them out for exactly what they are – laws aiming squarely at the rights of LGBT citizens and codifying discrimination.

Two states that were considering such religious freedom laws are Wyoming and Colorado.  In addition to religious freedom, Wyoming House Bill (HB) 135 also sought to define marriage as between “one man and one woman” – in direct opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2015.  Thankfully, HB 135 – also known as the Government Non-Discrimination  Act – was withdrawn from consideration today.

And in Colorado, a state House panel for a third straight year rejected a Republican-led effort to expand religious freedom protections in Colorado.  House Bill 1013 would establish a more rigorous legal test for any law that might be considered a burden to someone’s religious beliefs. Such laws would have to “further a compelling government interest” and be the least restrictive means of pursuing that interest.  State law in Colorado already prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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Cabinet confirmations

If you’re a concerned citizen and you’re worried about some of the potential Cabinet appointees from the Trump administration – keep reading.  If you aren’t worried, then feel free to move on.

There’s more and more evidence that CALLING your Senators and Representative is actually more effective than emailing them.  I know – I hate making phone calls too.  This is probably worth it though.

Here are some scripts you can use to call your Senators (remember, the Senate votes on Cabinet confirmations).  If you dont know who your Senators are – click here.

Betsy DeVos – Secretary of Education

Hi, my name is [Name] and I’m a concerned constituent from [City, State].

I’m calling to express my deep opposition to the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.  May I ask how [Senator’s Name] will be voting?

[If NO for Confirmation]: Please tell the Senator thank you for listening to their constituents. Have a good day.

[If YES for Confirmation]: Betsy DeVos has no experience in the public school system she would be overseeing. She is an advocate for school voucher programs, which takes our tax dollars and places into the hands of private and religious schools. Her committee hearing demonstrated she lacks a basic understanding of education policy and is not prepared for this important job. I urge the Senator to reconsider their position and reject DeVos’ confirmation. I will remember [Senator’s Name] stance in the next election.

[Optional: add anything else you wish to say here, if you have children mention how this would affect you]

Tom Price – Secretary of Health and Human Services

Hi, my name is [Name] and I’m a concerned US citizen from [City, State].

I’m calling to express my deep opposition to the confirmation of Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Tom Price’s record makes it clear he is intent on destroying America’s social safety net.

He supports cuts to Social Security and a Medicare voucher program, which would have major negative impacts on our senior population. He has plans to defund Planned Parenthood and dismantle the Affordable Care Act. The American people deserve access to affordable, quality healthcare, the confirmation of Tom Price would endanger the health and lives of millions of Americans.

[Optional: add anything else you wish to say here, if you have a story about how the ACA has helped you, please tell them your story]

Please tell [Senator’s Name] to oppose the confirmation of Tom Price. Thank you.

Scott Pruitt – Environmental Protection Agency

Hi, my name is [Name] and I’m a concerned US citizen from [City, State].

I’m calling to express my deep opposition to the confirmation of Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Scott Pruitt is a science denier who is in the pocket of the oil and gas industry. He has a long history of protecting corporate profits over the health and safety of the American people, allowing companies such as Devon Energy to write letters in his name on his letterhead. The EPA’s role is to protect human health and the environment, Scott Pruitt would be dangerous to this scientific agency and to the American people.

[Optional: add anything else you wish to say here and/or ask questions about your Senator’s stance]

Please tell [Senator’s Name] to oppose the confirmation of Scott Pruitt. Thank you.

Jeff Sessions – Attorney General

Hi, my name is [Name] and I’m a constituent from [City, State].

I’m calling to express my deep opposition to the confirmation of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General.  May I ask how [Senator’s Name] will be voting?

[If NO for Confirmation]: Please tell the Senator thank you for listening to their constituents. Have a good day.

[If YES for Confirmation]: Senator Sessions has a long history of allegations of racism, does not support equal rights for the LGBTQ community, and has not enforced the Voting Rights Act. He will not protect all of the people of the United States. I urge the Senator to reconsider their position and reject the confirmation. I will remember [Senator’s Name] stance in the next election.

[Optional: add anything else you wish to say here]

Thank you for your time.

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#GingerPride

For all of the redheads out there – and those of you who love us – you may rejoice.  It looks like there may finally be redhead emojis!

While natural redheads make up less than 2% of the world’s population – that’s still potentially a lot of emoji users.  You can read more about it here.

Now if only we could get that white wine glass too…

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