Recent Executive Orders issued by the White House have already had wide-reaching and devastating consequences for immigrant and refugee children and families.
Refugees are just that—people fleeing violence and persecution and seeking refuge in the United States. Many children affected by the Executive Orders have been waiting for refuge much of their lives, having been born in refugee camps, amid violence or even civil war.
We have a choice in how to treat immigrant and refugee children; we can care for them, offer them the best possible opportunity to grow and learn and thrive here in our country, or we can turn our backs on them. Children do not decide where they or their parents were born. They do not determine whether or how to travel to the United States. Yet they are here, and often at great expense, fleeing violence, losing loved ones, suffering extreme poverty and adversity. We owe it to these children to protect them.
These Executive Orders impact our profession as well as our patients; international medical school graduates and pediatric researchers were among the foreign nationals and refugees impacted by the recent travel ban. Last year, almost 20 percent of pediatric residents graduated from medical school overseas. These physicians are an instrumental part of the pediatric workforce and often work in underserved areas in desperate need of pediatric subspecialists. Immigrant physicians enrich and diversify our workforce. We work alongside them every day. We share bylines in journal articles and we stand next to them at the bedside of our young patients. Preventing these professionals from traveling or training here to do life-saving work, or otherwise threatening their immigration status, prevents some of the best and brightest minds from caring for some of the sickest, most vulnerable children. It is discriminatory, and it is wrong.
Today, leading pediatric medical organizations offer a renewed resolve to do everything we can to care for and protect immigrant children, refugee children, and all children. We hold our federal government to that same standard.
Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned jointly by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Board of Pediatrics, the Academic Pediatric Association, the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs, the American Pediatric Society, the Association of Pediatric Program Directors, the Pediatric Policy Council and the Society for Pediatric Research.
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying this guest column shows migrants sitting at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Respite Center in McAllen, Texas June 27, 2014. The Sacred Heart Catholic Church has a temporary shelter where detained immigrants, most of them fleeing violence from their Central American countries, have been taken for temporary food and shelter after being ordered to appear in immigration court. Rio Grande Valley pediatricians visit the center to care for the immigrants. (Photo: Reuters/Stringer)
About the Pediatric groups
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.
The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) certifies general pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists based on standards of excellence that lead to high quality health care during infancy, childhood, adolescence, and the transition into adulthood. The ABP certification provides assurance to the public that a general pediatrician or pediatric subspecialist has successfully completed accredited training and fulfills the continuous evaluation requirements.
The Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs (AMSPDC) is comprised of over 150 Pediatric Department Chairs in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. AMSPDC’s mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of children through the development of the chairs of academic pediatric departments and support of their clinical, research, education, and advocacy missions.
The Academic Pediatric Association’s mission is to nurture the academic success and career development of child health professionals engaged in research, advocacy, improvement science and educational scholarship to enhance the health and well-being of all children. APA’s vision is to be a thriving academic pediatric community that ensures optimal health and well-being for all children, particularly those most vulnerable. Our organization’s core values are academic excellence, collaboration, mentorship, inclusion, respect, health equity, partnership with children families and communities.
The Association of Pediatric Program Directors (APPD) serves pediatric programs by leading the advancement of education to ensure the health and well-being of children. APPD is comprised of 198 pediatric residency programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and those hospitals in Canada approved by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons to provide residency training programs in Pediatrics. APPD has approximately 3,300 individual members working together towards APPD’s vision of exemplary pediatric education.
The mission of the American Pediatric Society is to advance academic pediatrics. This is accomplished through promoting pediatric research and scholarship, serving as a strong and effective advocate for academic pediatrics, recognizing and honoring achievement, and cultivating excellence, diversity, and equity in the field of pediatrics through advocacy, scholarship, education, and leadership development.
The Pediatric Policy Council (PPC) is a public policy collaborative of four pediatric academic organizations: the Academic Pediatric Association, the American Pediatric Society, the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs, and the Society for Pediatric Research. Established in 1984, the PPC is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the nation’s children by supporting public policies to advance pediatric research, pediatric training, and quality health care for children and families.
The mission of the Society for Pediatric Research is to foster the research and career development of investigators engaged in creating new knowledge that advances the health and well-being of children and youth. This is accomplished by providing a forum for presentation and dissemination of innovative ideas and research at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meeting.