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Cleveland Plain Dealer Op-Ed on Immigration Reform

This morning the Cleveland Plain Dealer published an Op-Ed by Giovanni Piedimonte, the chairman and physician-in-chief at the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital, advocating for immigration reform to increase the number of physicians working in the United States. Dr. Piedimonte says "by 2020, the United States is projected to have a shortage of 45,000 doctors" and notes that many parts of the country, especially rural areas, are already underserved.   Currently, about 50% of students in STEM programs at Ohio's research universities are foreign-born. However, most of these foreign students return home after graduation because they are not able to obtain visas. Only a fraction of the 65,000 H-1B visas awarded every year go to physicians. Dr. Piedimonte argues that President Obama should expand the H-1B visa program, encourage foreign-born doctors to work in medically underserved areas of the country, and end country specific caps.

We wholeheartedly agree. The tech industry tends to be the most vocal supporter of immigration reform and we often hear of the shortage of qualified workers in that sector. But in Cleveland, where the health care industry is dominant, we should speak up more and demand change. This isn't just an issue affecting far away regions of the country, it affects us too. Our communities and the healthcare industry would both benefit from immigration reform that allowed more doctors to practice here.

Read Dr. Piedimonte's full piece on Cleveland.com.

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