Intended for healthcare professionals


Standing up for science in the era of Trump

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 21 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j775
  1. Jose G Merino, US clinical research editor13,
  2. Ashish Jha, KT Li professor of health policy, 2,
  3. Elizabeth Loder3,
  4. head of research,
  5. Kamran Abbasi, executive editor3
  1. 1Department of Neurology, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
  2. 2Harvard T H Chan School of Public Policy, USA
  3. 3The BMJ
  1. Correspondence to: J Merino jmerino{at}

Be fair but challenging, critical but constructive

Any president of the United States is entitled to implement policies that reflect personal ideology and political beliefs. The public may disagree on the merits and drawbacks of these policies, but as long as the supporting arguments are based on facts and comply with constitutional principles then so be it. In its first weeks, however, Donald Trump’s presidency has raised worrying questions about its likely impact on science and health policy.1 2 Many of the new administration's pronouncements seem to place little value on facts or analysis. They also seem lacking in careful consideration of the consequences for biomedical research, healthcare, and ultimately the health of people in the US and the rest of the world.3


We are particularly concerned that Trump’s administration is acting in ways that will suppress research and limit communication on scientific topics that it deems politically inconvenient. All scientific communications from the Environmental Protection Agency may need to be approved by political appointees before being presented or published.2 Scientists from the Department …

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