Creating a Healthcare System that Works for Everyone 

Too often, marginalized communities are excluded from getting the healthcare they need. This can come in the form of lack of public transportation or lack of nearby health care facilities that hinders them from the care they need. 

It can come in form of a healthcare system that has sown the seeds of distrust for decades. Lack of diversity in clinical trials can affect health outcomes for these communities, as well as lack of translation for medication labels. 

All these issues serve to harm marginalized communities. As a pharmacist and a refugee, bringing equity to healthcare is incredibly important to me. I want to share a little bit about my efforts to improve healthcare equity. 

Diversity in Clinical Trials 


(Credit: LSS Photography)

Diversity in clinical trials helps ensure clinical results reflect the effectiveness and safety profile for all communities. Diversity also helps build trust between marginalized people and the healthcare system. A trust that has been eroded from mistreatment by the healthcare system for generations. House Bill 1745, which I sponsored, requires clinical trials to recruit participants from underrepresented demographics, widening the lived experiences of participants. This requirement is critical in helping researchers understand the impact of structural and social determinants of health. 

Addressing the Dental-Hygienist Workforce Shortage 


The shortage of dental hygienists across the state can have harmful effects on many communities because it hinders access to dental care. Another piece of legislation I introduced, House Bill 1287, reduces this shortage by streamlining active practice requirements for full licensure in Washington. 

I am glad to say that both bills were signed into law earlier this year. 

Translating medication directions 

(Credit: LSS Photography)

Misuse of medication is one of the top reasons for why pharmacological therapy not working well. Many need to be taken on an empty or full stomach. Some need to be taken in the morning, at lunch, or before bed. Others can interact with other prescriptions or over the counter medications. That is why the direction on medication packaging is so important to follow. 

For people whose primary language isn’t English, pill bottles are difficult to read or understand. This challenge can be life or death. That is why I am looking at legislative options to require translations for medication labels. Having access to primary-language direction of use can save lives and ensure best prescribed pharmaco-therapy effectiveness. 

Equity is about seeing everyone their humanity and worth. For too long our healthcare system, like education, has not served each and every member of our collective community. I will continue the effort to move healthcare into a more equitable system, this is how we can begin to curb the ineffectiveness and the significant cost. If you have any questions, ideas or concerns, please reach out to my office. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Thank you, 

Rep. My-Linh Thai