When the animated children’s series Doc McStuffins debuted two years ago, series creator Chris Nee knew her title character was groundbreaking: Doc is a six-year-old African American who plans to be a doctor when she grows up. Doc’s dad is a stay-at-home parent and homemaker, and her mother is a physician. Doc spends each episode diagnosing and patching up ailing stuffed animals and baby dolls of varying skin tone and hue.
Once the cartoon starting airing on Disney Channel, those who took note of how it was pushing boundaries included an international group of female physicians of color that has deployed Doc McStuffins as part of its push to raise the profiles of doctors who are neither white nor male—and draw other women of color into the field of medicine.
Dr. Myiesha Taylor, president and co-founder of the 3,500-member group, the Artemis Medical Society, is an emergency medicine physician in suburban Dallas-Fort Worth. She has experienced first-hand how the show and the character help “normalize brown-skinned women as doctors.”
“You’d be surprised at the number of children I now hear say, ‘She looks like Doc McStuffins’ when I walk in,” said Taylor.