International Doctors Start Residencies at U.S. Hospitals Amid COVID-19 Surge

By Joel Rose : kqed – excerpt

Dr. Basim Ali graduated at the top of his medical school class in Pakistan and landed a residency at a renowned teaching hospital in Texas, where he’ll be on the front lines of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the U.S.

“There’s obviously some degree of anxiety about what that’s going to be like,” Ali said by phone from Karachi before coming here. “But there’s also this understanding that this is what we signed up for.”

More than 4,000 foreign-born doctors officially begin their residencies at hospitals across the United States on July 1. They’ll confront two historic challenges: the COVID-19 pandemic and some of the most restrictive immigration policies this nation has seen in decades.

The White House has blamed foreigners for the virus, and closed the borders to all kinds of immigrants. President Trump has referred to coronavirus as “foreign” and called it “kung flu” at his rallies. And last week, his administration suspended green cards and visas for many foreign guest workers…

But when it comes to health care, the U.S. depends on foreign labor. Almost 30% of doctors are immigrants. It’s been a symbiotic relationship: doctors come here to get top-notch training, and U.S. hospitals get access to the brightest minds in the world.…(more)


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