"She is the best doctor ever. She's awesome. She's always seeking knowledge. And if you do that, you're good," pronounced Dr. Deonza Thymes, a board-certified Emergency Room physician, about Doc McStuffins, an animated character with her own titular show on Disney Jr. who also inspired the formation of a national organization of African-American women physicians.
Thymes explained, "One of my friends was watching Doc McStuffins with her daughter, and she was so impressed with what a positive image and role model Doc was, that she called me and said, "Hey, we should get all our friends together and send Disney a collage." So we did that, we sent Disney a collage and we said, "We're Doc McStuffins all grown up; thank you, Disney Jr. for this programming." And what started off as a social movement has bloomed and transformed into an actual medical society called Artemis Medical, where our objective is to provide a nurturing, supportive environment for women physicians of color, and to also encourage and hopefully guide some younger generations to come into medicine. The face of our society is changing and we want to make sure the face of medicine changes with it."
Girls - and boys - of all backgrounds looking for a preview of what life might be like for a doctor got that and more on Wednesday, August 21 in New York City, when the DocMobile rolled into town right outside the Times Square Disney Store as part of their "So Much You Can Do... To Take Care of You" campaign, alongside the real-life doctors of the Artemis Medical Society.
"Currently, African-American women physicians make up only 1.9 percent of the workforce," Thymes said. "But we are 13 percent of the population. It's very important to have these kinds of role models so that we can grow up and help our communities. I think it will change medicine for the better. Studies show women doctors spend more time with their patients, we listen more. Women interact with people differently. And it's nice to have that perspective more involved in medicine. It helps patients relate more to see someone who looks like them. It helps feel them more comfortable in the care that they're getting."
The Artemis Medical Society hopes watching Doc McStuffins will encourage more gifted young women of color to go into medicine - and to take better care of themselves, too. "Doc McStuffins says that anyone can be a doctor. And it shows that compassion is something that everyone should have. Doc helps people to be healthy, it teaches children to be empowered about their physical health, and she teaches them techniques to stay safe."
What are some of the things Doc says kids can do to stay healthy and safe? Check out our Doc (and Doctor) approved list! (Go to the top of the page, where the photo is, and click on View List for pictures and details.)
And for more, see Gifted Minority Students and the NYC Private Schools.