The Executive Order on Refugees: An Emerging Public Health Crisis


March 10, 2017 Update:


New in The Lancet: The Revised US Refugee Ban, Health, and Security, Leonard Rubenstein and Paul Spiegel

“The new order suspending and then shrinking the refugee resettlement programme does not bring any security gains and imposes tremendous mental and physical harm on people who have suffered more than most of us can even imagine. Let them in.”


February 21, 2017 Update:


Ethics, Refugees, and the President’s Executive Order, Nancy Kass, ScD

“The values emblematic of our country are often thought to include deep commitments to individual liberties and to entrepreneurship, but also empathy for others, care for the sick, and broad interests –regardless of how we get there– in lifting the tide for all. Mogens Lykketoft, former UN General Assembly President said, “The genuine loss and pain these people are suffering should be unbearable for all of us.

This sentiment should exemplify our common morality.”



The Executive Order on Refugees: An Emerging Public Health Crisis


Please note, due to technical difficulties with sound recording, the first few minutes lack audio, audio begins at 4:15.


via Johns Hopkins HUB


The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health hosted a symposium examining the consequences of President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending the U.S. refugee admission program.


The symposium, “The Executive Order on Refugees: An Emerging Public Health Crisis,” took place in the Bloomberg School’s Sommer Hall on JHU’s East Baltimore campus and was cosponsored by the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.

The executive order, signed Friday, blocks entry into the U.S. (with very narrow exceptions) of individuals from seven nations—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—for 90 days. The order also immediately suspends, for 120 days, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, during which time refugees will not be admitted to the United States.


On Friday, two dozen faculty members joined Michael J. Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School, in publishing an open letter to President Trump urging against the action.


“We write as researchers and scientists, but we also share our deep concern that the proposed executive order ignores decades-long policy and law of the United States to provide a haven for people suffering persecution on account of nationality, membership in social group, political opinion or religion,” the letter states. “Instead, it prioritizes admission of refugees on the basis of religious-based persecution over the needs of people suffering from political oppression in the Middle East and throughout the world.”


The symposium featured discussions on a range of topics, including an on-the-ground perspective of the Syrian refugee crisis; the U.S. refugee resettlement program; the health of refugees and displaced people in Iraq (including Yazidis) and Syria; and public health and bioethics concerns related to the refugee crisis.


Speakers at the symposium included Zaher Sahloul, the former president of the Syrian American Medical Society; and David Rocah, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.


Johns Hopkins faculty participants included:



Image By Haeferl – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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Leonard Rubenstein
Nancy Kass

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One Response to “An Emerging Public Health Crisis”

  1. […] In response to proposed changes in immigration policy, the Institute co-hosted a symposium, “The Executive Order on Refugees: An Emerging Public Health Crisis”, to consider the ethics issues emerging as the health of refugees and displaced people are […]

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