Disney’s ‘Doc McStuffins’ Seen as Inspiration to Young Minority Girls

An animated show featuring a pint-sized, pig-tailed 6-year-old with a pink stethoscope who makes boo-boos better just may be the ticket to help young African-American girls dream big and consider a career in medicine.

That’s the hope of two black female doctors recently profiled in an Associated Press story who are big fans of the Disney Junior series “Doc McStuffins.”

In the series, Doc herself is a few years away from medical school, but she gently and patiently heals the owies of her stuffed animals and toys in her backyard clinic. The show premiered in March on the Disney Junior channel, and Hollywood, Health & Society—working through a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—provided experts to work closely with executive producer and creator Chris Nee and her staff, advising on core issues relevant to kids.

Nee created the show after her son Theo was diagnosed with asthma when he was a toddler, as a soothing antidote to the anxiety he felt on visits to doctors and hospitals.

Now, as the AP story points out, the show resonates with black women “whose own wish to practice medicine came true,” and who see the Doc character as a positive role model for others who may follow:

For Dr. Myiesha Taylor, who watches Disney Channel’s “Doc McStuffins” with her 4-year-old, Hana, the show sends a much-needed message to minority girls about how big their ambitions can be.

“It’s so nice to see this child of color in a starring role, not just in the supporting cast. It’s all about her,” Taylor said. “And she’s an aspiring intellectual professional, not a singer or dancer or athlete.”

Taylor, a graduate of the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, is an ER physician at the Texas Regional Medical Center near Dallas.

In the show, Doc’s own mother is a physician, who encourages her daughter to follow in her footsteps.

The AP story continues with Dr. Leah Backhus, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of Washington and another big fan of the Disney Junior show. Dr. Backhus, also a USC Keck alum, is mom to young daughter Sydney and son Ryan. From the story:

“It’s incredibly reassuring for Sydney to see that and know that her family sits into the general definition of what family can be like,” Backhus said. “It’s not so unique. It’s something really pretty cool.”

The show’s positive depiction of an African-American family, so rare for children’s TV, can have a “tremendous impact,” she added.

Girls, the Keck School of Medicine at USC awaits.

Above, Doc McStuffins with her friends Chilly, Lambie and Hallie. Image ©Disney Junior