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Cartoon doctor represents minorities in medicine

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Albany/HV: Cartoon doctor represents minorities in medicine
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Doc McStuffins, a cartoon meant to make doctor visits easier for children, has turned into a symbol of progress for many. YNN's Erin Billups filed the following report.

Since its premiere in March of 2012, Disney Jr.'s Doc McStuffins has quickly grown in popularity among kids.

"Doc McStuffins and Dora," says one child after being asked her favorite television show.

"She helps toys," another child says.

Doc McStuffins is also helping adults.

"The power of Doc McStuffins is that she's a young girl," says Artemis Medical Society Co-Founder Dr. Aletha Maybank. "Not only is she taking care of her own toy animals, but her mother is also a physician on the show."

Maybank says McStuffins represents an often overlooked minority in medicine - black, female doctors - and that her image has mobilized a movement.

"We realized we needed some support," Maybank says. "Many of our doctors felt isolated across the country, and so we decided to start Artemis Medical Society, and then the whole 'We are Doc McStuffins' movement came from that."

The society, named after the Greek God Zeus's healer daughter Artemis, is now a year old and has more than 3,000 members worldwide.

The network is opening the door to mentorships, friendships and a conversation about the options available to all children, including children of color.

"They look at me and they think I'm the nurse, and that's kind of their level of thinking and understanding of the height that we can get to," Maybank says. "But, to see that we can actually become doctors, and they look like us, is really a powerful image and a powerful message."

Doc McStuffins is popular among kids of all different backgrounds.

Disney's goal with the series was to help children become more confident and comfortable when they visit the doctor's office.

"They want to take their toys with them to the doctor's appointment now," one adult says.

Kids easily slid into doctor play at a mobile McStuffins station set up in Times Square.

"It opens kids up to really be a part of the conversation, a part of the doctor visit," Maybank says.

Maybank hopes McStuffins will inspire more children to go into medicine.

"So that they can think about taking care of themselves and their communities that they're coming from," Maybank says.

Hopefully, McStuffins' influence can help to meet a growing need for doctors in medically under-served communities.

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