Letter to the VTCSOM Community

From Dean Cynda Johnson, Assoc. Dean for Student Affairs Aubrey Knight, and Chief Diversity Officer Karen Eley Sanders

Dear VTCSOM Community,

We know Friday’s U.S. Presidential Executive Order on immigration enforcement is causing anxiety within our community. The order bans visa and green card holders of seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia – from entering the United States for the next 90 days.

While the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine does not have any students here on visas, we know some of you have families in some of the affected countries.

Our partner institutions do have some students and faculty who are directly impacted. More than 100 Virginia Tech students are from the impacted countries, with additional teaching and research scholars who are citizens of the named countries. Carilion Clinic has resident physicians and other employees with green cards or visa who are impacted by the executive order.

Beyond those directly impacted, we are hearing concerns from members of our community who feel minorities are being targeted. The school actively promotes an environment of inclusiveness and mutual respect within its doors as well as in the broader community.

There are some resources we want to share with you. If you’d like to talk to someone one-on-one about your concerns, please reach out to Aubrey Knight, Karen Eley Sanders, or Emily Holt. We also invite you to an informal community gathering on Monday, Feb. 6 from 5-6 p.m. in the school’s café. It will be an opportunity to talk with the dean, members of our leadership team, and with fellow students, faculty, and staff in our community. We will have cookies and drinks available.

In addition, Virginia Tech has a webpage that will be regularly updated with news and information as well as resources for students and employees. President Tim Sands also sent a letter to the Virginia Tech community.

Carilion Clinic is working vigilantly to determine other potential outcomes from the executive order, particularly in regards to the upcoming residency match process.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education released a statement yesterday as they are evaluating the executive order’s impact on the match process. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) noted in its statement, “Because disease knows no geographic boundaries, it is essential to ensure that we continue to foster, rather than impede, scientific cooperation with physicians and researchers of all nationalities, as we strive to keep our country healthy.” They are looking at next steps to evaluate how the order will impact the schools and hospitals they help support, including the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Carilion Clinic.

Please reach out to us with your concerns and utilize some of the above resources as needed.

Cynda Ann Johnson, MD, MBA President and Dean

Aubrey Knight, MD Associate Dean for Student Affairs

Karen Eley Sanders, EdD Chief Diversity Officer