Letter to congressional leaders re: DACA

Sep 15, 2017

From time to time, AADPRT is asked to sign on to letters from our affiliated organizations advocating for a variety of issues. In this case, AAMC asked us to sign on to a letter advocating for legislation to protect medical students and trainees who are currently covered by DACA. After careful consideration, AADPRT's Steering Committee felt that this effort was consistent with our mission "to better meet the nation's mental healthcare needs" by "promot[ing] excellence in the education and training of future psychiatrists.

As always, we welcome your thoughts and questions.

Sandra and the Steering Committee


September 14, 2017

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Paul Ryan


United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Chuck Schumer

Minority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Minority Leader

United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Speaker Ryan, Minority Leader Schumer, and Minority Leader Pelosi:

On behalf of the undersigned health professions organizations, we urge you to ensure that all members of the health care workforce with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status are able to continue their employment, education, training, and research, with passage of a permanent legislative remedy, such as the bipartisan, bicameral Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615, H.R. 3440). By providing a legal pathway to permanent residency for undocumented Americans brought to the U.S. as children, Congress can help our country produce a diverse and culturally responsive health care workforce to meet the needs of underserved populations, improve cultural awareness, and promote health equity.

With the nation’s population growing and becoming increasingly diverse, it is crucial that the health professions workforce respond to the changing demographics of the country to mitigate racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic health disparities. Research demonstrates that diversity in the health professions leads to improvements in access to care for underserved communities, and some studies have shown that patients report greater satisfaction with clinical care when they are treated by providers from the same racial/ethnic background.

Diverse health professions school classes also enhance the ability of the entire workforce to provide culturally competent care to individuals regardless of their background. Higher education research shows that diversity in the classroom produces a more enriched learning environment. Diversity contributes to increased exposure to divergent perspectives, enhances cognitive complexity, promotes civic engagement and facilitates more inclusive teaching and educational content. Diversity in teams has contributed to greater productivity, creativity and innovation that has significant implications for advancing science and health care.

Health professions students who are undocumented encompass a diverse, multiethnic population, who are often bilingual and more likely to practice in underserved communities. For a narrow cohort of undocumented students that meet specific criteria, legislation like the Dream Act of 2017 would grant lawful presence in the U.S., work authorization, and in many cases state identification and driver’s licenses, all of which make attending health professions school and residency training possible.

Our organizations are dedicated to promoting a culturally competent, diverse, and prepared health and biomedical workforce that leads to improved care and health equity. A permanent legislative remedy would help us achieve this goal. We urge congressional leadership to advance legislation before health professionals participating in DACA lose their lawful status and are unable to continue their employment, education, training, and research.


Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health

Academy on Violence and Abuse

Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine

American Academy of Dermatology Association

American Academy of Family Physicians

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Association of Anatomists

American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine

American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training

American Board of Medical Specialties

American College of Physicians

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

American Dental Education Association

American Geriatrics Society

American Medical Association

American Medical Student Association

American Nurses Association

American Organization of Nurse Executives

American Physiological Society

American Psychiatric Association

American Psychological Association

American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science

American Society for Microbiology

American Society for Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics

American Society of Transplantation

Americas Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association

Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association

Association for Prevention Teaching and Research

Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries

Association of American Medical Colleges

Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges

Association of Anatomy Cell Biology and Neurobiology Chairs

Association of Departments of Family Medicine

Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors

Association of Graduate Departments of Biochemistry

Association of Nurses in AIDS Care

Association of Psychologists in Academic Health Centers

Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry

Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health

Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions

Association of University Anesthesiologists

Association of University Professors of Neurology

Association of Women's Health, Obstetric ad Neonatal Nurses

Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors

Council on Social Work Education

Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association

GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality

Heart Failure Society of America

HIV Medicine Association

Infectious Diseases Society of America

Latino Medical Student Association

Medical Group Management Association

National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health

National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians

National Hispanic Medical Association

National League for Nursing

National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties

North American Primary Care Research Group

Physician Assistant Education Association

Pre-Health Dreamers

Society of Academic Associations of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine

Society of Emergency Medicine Physician Assistants

Society of General Internal Medicine

Society of Surgical Chairs

Society of Teachers of Family Medicine

Student National Medical Association