Incoming AU medical residents can’t get visas to train

FILE - In this July 1, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Two incoming Augusta University anesthesiology residents may miss changeover day due to delays in obtaining visas to live and work in the U.S..


One of the residents was denied a visa; the other resident’s application for a visa remains on hold, said Jennifer Scott, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University senior communications coordinator.

The matter could confirm fears that President Trump’s revised travel ban creates roadblocks for international medical residents who matched with MCG residencies in March, but Scott said MCG does not know why the U.S. Department of State hasn’t approved visas for the two.

Scott declined to identify the residents or their countries of origin, saying at this point the pair are not yet MCG employees or students.

Each year MCG contracts with more than 500 graduating doctors to staff 47 residency programs during Match Day, and all begin their residencies on Changeover Day, typically July 1, she said.

The American Medical Association was critical of the revised travel ban, which blocked travel from majority Muslim nations of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. AMA pushed for expedited waivers to allow matched residents to obtain visas in time to begin their residencies.

Dr. Walter Moore, senior associate dean for graduate medical education and veterans affairs, said MCG hopes the impact will be minimal.

“First, we certainly hope for the best outcome for these potential residents,” Moore said. “We determine how many residency slots to offer each year based on a lot of information including patient volumes, number of faculty available to teach, staffing, etc.

“When you pull individuals out of the equation, there will, of course, be some collateral impact,” he said. “However, it is still very early in the residency cycle, which starts each year on July 1, and we are hopeful that the impact will be avoided or minimized.”

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