Health Equity

Being a physician in the District in the 21st century means being on the front line of the most pressing public health issues in the world. In our small geographic boundaries, physicians help address issue found in every state all in one area. The issues are too lengthy to list on one webpage but physicians are on the front lines of addressing health issues for all District residents.

News, MSDC Statements, and MSDC Testimony on Health Equity Issues

24th Council session information coming soon.

MSDC Joins AMA, AAP DC on Amicus Supporting Minor Consent for Vaccines Law

Aug 9, 2021, 08:41 AM by MSDC Staff
The brief argues the Minor Consent for Vaccinations Amendment Act is based on good public health and policy, and should be upheld.

On Friday, a coalition of health and advocacy organizations filed an amicus brief in a case challenging the District's new law permitting minors in some cases to consent to vaccinations.

The case, Mazur v. District of Columbia Department of Health, challenges the applicability of the Minor Consent for Vaccinations Amendment Act of 2020. This law - which was supported by MSDC - permits physicians to vaccinate minors over the age of 11 without parental consent if the minor displays an understanding of the vaccine, and the vaccine is on the ACIP schedule for the minor. The plaintiff sued the District alleging his minor daughter sought a vaccine without his consent at a DC medical facility, and this conflicts with the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.

The law has a number of safeguards built in to protect the minor from what is essentially one of the safest medical procedures available. MSDC supported this legislation because there are multiple reasons a minor may seek vaccination without a parent present - the parent may not be able to take the minor to an appointment, the minor may be homeless without parental involvement, or the parent may have an illogical opposition to vaccines. The law creates a process where the minor can still be vaccinated if they are aware of the vaccine, possible side effects, and health implications.

MSDC supported this legislation and celebrated its passage because it allows minors to be vaccinated without an undue burden on the patient or physician. MSDC joins the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), AAP DC chapter, and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. The brief was written by the Democracy Forward Foundation.

You can see the brief here. You can also see the press release announcing the brief here.

Sample of Health Equity Legislation MSDC Tracked 


Student Access to Treatment Amendment Act (B23-467)

What does it say? The bill allows for the administration of medicinal marijuana in schools as well as allows students to bring sunscreen to schools and apply it without a prescription.

MSDC position: MSDC supports the language permitting sunscreen application in schools

Current status: A win for DC physicians and public health! The legislation passed the Council in February and was signed by the Mayor. Previous temporary and emergency legislation permitted students to use sunscreen at schools this school year already.

Electronic Medical Order for Scope of Treatment Registry Amendment Act (B23-261)

What does it say? The bill requires DC Health to establish an electronic Medical Order for Scope of Treatment registry (eMOST).

MSDC position: MSDC supports this legislation to more easily allow patients to make their treatment orders known.

Current status: A win for the physician community and our patients! The Council passed the bill in December and the Mayor signed it into law on January 16, 2020.

Healthy Beverage Choices Amendment Act (B23-495)

What does it say? The bill would implement a 1.5 cent per ounce tax on the distribution of "sugary" beverages. The money collected from the tax would establish a Healthy People, Healthy Places Open Spaces Grant Program.

MSDC position: MSDC sent a letter to Council Chair Mendelson asking for a hearing to discuss all of the issues around a beverage tax.

Current status: The bill was introduced October 8, 2019 and referred to the Committee on Business and Economic Development and the Committee of the Whole.