Recently proposed changes to the US immigration system could slow the progress of medical research, according to several doctors. Around 18 percent of medical professors in the US graduated from medical schools in foreign countries, claims an analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, on Monday.
Graduates from foreign medical schools are also responsible for leading 19 percent of clinical trials, as well as 13 percent of research grants that receive US National Institute of Health funding and producing as much as 18 percent of published biomedical research. Without those contributions from foreign medical professionals, research in the US will pay the price, according to Dr Anupam Jena from Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who is also the senior author of the study.
In an email, Jena says he expects to see less clinical trials conducted, a decline in the number of written research papers, and a fall in the pace of medical innovation in general, with the impact likely to be felt more in the long-term than the short but to be of considerable significance.
Immigrant graduates of foreign medical schools constitute almost 25 percent of doctors in the US, and also practice in specialties that suffer from a shortage of practitioners, and in underserved areas to a disproportionate amount, according to Jena and colleagues. Some hospitals and states rely greatly on doctors in the H-1B US visa program, which is set for a revamp under President Donald Trump.