MSDC Statement on Policing, Social Determinants of Health, and Activism June 1, 2020

Written by MSDC Staff


MSDC is disturbed by the death of George Floyd. As a member of the House of Medicine, we draw attention to the American Medical Association and their statement "Policy Brutality Must Stop", especially:
An increased prevalence of police encounters is linked to elevated stress and anxiety levels, along with increased rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and asthma—and fatal complications of those comorbid conditions. Racism as a driver of health inequity is also particularly evident in findings from a 2018 study showing that law enforcement-involved deaths of unarmed black individuals were associated with adverse mental health among Black American adults—a spillover effect on the population, regardless of whether the individual affected had a personal relationship with the victim or the incident was experienced vicariously.

We are encouraged by the activism of our members and District residents to draw attention to issues around race, inequality, and social determinants of health. However, we encourage anyone protesting to protect themselves appropriately from the novel coronavirus and be tested for COVID-19 at a District testing site to ensure the pandemic does not continue. We also encourage everyone participating in a protest to protest peacefully to protect everyone's safety and to ensure that the real message is not overshadowed by acts of violence. 
Finally, the District of Columbia is fortunate to be the home of Howard University, one of the nation's premier university and medical school especially for African-American students. We share President Wayne Frederick, MD, MBA's statement on this situation as the most appropriate reflection to share.