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GSA Statement Regarding U.S. Executive Order on Immigration

Updated March 7, 2017

 

Aging crosses all borders. It’s an issue that affects everyone regardless of religion, nationality, ethnicity, or gender orientation. The main purposes for The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), as shown in our bylaws, are “to advance the scientific and scholarly study of aging and to promote human welfare by the encouragement of gerontology in all its areas.” And improving the lives of people as we age requires cooperation among scientists from around the world.

Our Society is the largest interdisciplinary organization in the world devoted to the scientific study of aging. As such, GSA’s leadership shares the concerns of our members and scholars around the world regarding the recently revised executive order on visas and immigration issued by U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration. We remain deeply concerned about the chilling effect it will have on science. This policy still threatens the free flow of scientific information by limiting interaction among scientists. Such restrictions are not consistent with GSA’s commitment to open collaboration and communication between researchers.

Approximately 18 percent of our members are based outside the U.S., located in more than 50 countries. And many of those within the U.S. are themselves immigrants. The diversity of GSA members is matched only by the number of disciplines in which they study. This diversity is consistent with our broader scientific community. According to a National Science Foundation report, more than five million of the country’s 29 million scientists and engineers were not born in the U.S. Further, all six of the Americans who won Nobel Prizes in economic and scientific fields last year were immigrants.

To our international members, we pledge to support you by continuing to provide an outlet to network with your peers and share your research widely. We remain committed to fostering international collaborations. GSA is an open, welcoming Society of scholars who share a common interest in advancing innovation in aging.

We wish to assure the gerontological community that GSA will continue its ongoing commitment to support scientists and their scientific endeavors regardless of nationality. We are proud to demonstrate this commitment as host Society of the World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics in July. As this event’s organizer, we stand ready to assist scholars who encounter issues related to travel restrictions.

The uninterrupted exchange of information between scientists of all nations is paramount. GSA will continue to monitor events carefully and will continue to respond as appropriate in the future.

If you wish to add your voice to the opposition, consider signing the “Academics Against Immigration Executive Order” petition at https://notoimmigrationban.com. As of March 7, the petition has more than 43,000 academic supporters. There is also a March for Science scheduled for Saturday, April 22. GSA previously signed on to a joint letter from a coalition of leading American professional scientific and engineering societies, which asked the Trump Administration to rescind the original executive order.

Thank you for your support of science. Working together as a community of scholars, clinicians, and educators, we will confront these new challenges.

Signed,

Barbara M. Resnick, PhD, CRNP
President
The Gerontological Society of America

James C. Appleby, BSPharm, MPH
Chief Executive Officer
The Gerontological Society of America

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The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

 

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