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, Statements, and Testimony on Health Equity Issues

25th Council session information coming soon.


MSDC Statement on Post Story on Immoral Stealing of Human Remains

Dec 14, 2023, 08:03 AM by Dr. Ashesh Patel, MSDC President
MSDC's president mourns the mistakes medicine made in the past and explains how MSDC is working to rectify past mistakes by the profession.


Below is a statement from MSDC President Dr. Ashesh Patel on information shared in today's Washington Post story, "Smithsonian Targeted DC's Vulnerable to Build Brain Collection".

There are too many examples of physicians in the past, even highly respected ones, who in the pursuit of scientific knowledge, engaged in morally impermissible behavior. This was not only a failing of the individual physician but also of the healthcare system in which they practiced.

The combination of the inappropriate acquisition of human remains and their use to support racist theories make the Washington Post’s report disturbing. Sadly, this was not the first time and will not be the last time that physicians will fail patients, even those entrusted with leadership in the profession.

Recognizing this, the Medical Society of DC (MSDC) strives every day to ensure that the practice of medicine in DC is, as our vision says, the nation’s model for patient care and physician practice. We work with all stakeholders to inform DC physicians about best practices. In particular, we partner with DC government and local private stakeholders to do so.

In 2023, even before we were made aware of the Washington Post’s report, MSDC released its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) statement as the next step in its work to address medicine’s failings.  This is a continuous process we will use to live up to the high standards that medicine can and should be held to.

We also adhere to the American Medical Association’s policy H370-998: Organ Donation and Honoring Organ Donor Wishes. MSDC affirms the importance of organ and tissue donation to a healthy society but strongly believes that donations must be done within the ethical guidelines outlined by organized medicine.

We mourn the mistakes of the past and affirm the need to learn from them to ensure that they are not repeated.

Policy H370-998: Organ Donation and Honoring Organ Donor Wishes
We the AMA (1) continues to urge the citizenry to sign donor cards and supports continued efforts to educate the public on the desirability of, and the need for, organ donations, as well as the importance of discussing personal wishes regarding organ donation with appropriate family members; and (2) when a good faith effort has been made to contact the family, actively encourage Organ Procurement Organizations and physicians to adhere to provisions of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act which allows for the procurement of organs when the family is absent and there is a signed organ donor card or advanced directive stating the decedent's desire to donate the organs.

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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.