February 4, 2013

Keller doctor featured on Disney Channel show

An emergency room physician at Texas Regional Medical Center at Sunnyvale is one of three physicians being featured on the Disney Channel this month.

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KELLER -- When Dr. Myiesha Taylor watched the Disney cartoon Doc McStuffins with her daughter, she saw a reflection of herself.

Now, in celebration of Black History Month, the Keller woman is one of three physicians being featured on the Disney Channel this month.

Taylor, an emergency doctor at Texas Regional Medical Center at Sunnyvale, talks about her job and her heroes during We Are Doc McStuffins, a real-life TV show that accompanies the cartoon .

The popular cartoon features a young African-American girl who aspires to be a doctor like her mom. Since its premier in 2012, the Disney show has garnered worldwide attention for its portrayal of a little girl who runs a clinic for her stuffed animals and toys out of her backyard playhouse.

The real-life segments began airing Friday after a new Doc McStuffins episode. Additional segments featuring the real doctors will begin rolling out in March and will air regularly on both the Disney Channel and the Disney Junior channel.

Taylor, who played a key role in the creation of We Are Doc McStuffins, said her goal for the segments is to inspire children and their parents to think about and plan for the future.

"There's only one Beyoncé ... but if you study hard, you can be a physician," Taylor said.

Taylor said shows like Doc McStuffins make children realize that they can reach that goal.

"We're in a country where there are resources," Taylor said. "If you really want to do it, you don't have to let your circumstances stop you."

Taylor knows firsthand that certain situations in life can change people's mind-set.

In 1992 when she was a senior in high school, her father, Dwight Taylor, was killed, one of the first victims of the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles.

After learning of his death, Taylor's vow to make a difference in people's lives got even stronger, so she kept her plans to go to medical school.

Taylor graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana and then went to the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, where she obtained her medical degree.

Taylor lives in Keller now with her husband, William Schiltz, and three children -- Haley, 10, Ian, 7, and Hana, 4 -- moving to Texas four years ago.

"I strive to be the type of person, if I see a need that is not being met, that becomes my pursuit," Taylor said. "When my father got shot and died because of lack of trauma services, I thought, 'How can we prevent this?' ... We can't change the whole system, but we can do small things that matter to influence change."

Birth of a movement

Taylor played a big role in the creation of We Are Doc McStuffins.

After watching the cartoon with Hana, she said she was impressed with how well it was written.

"My first thought was that the show was really cute," she said. "But then as I got into the content ... I realized this is really educational."

Taylor said she wanted to let Disney know that she really appreciated the show and its content, so she posted a "thank you" card with a photo collage of real-life Doc McStuffins on her blog and on social media websites.

The postings were seen by other African-American women physicians, who contacted Taylor asking that their photos be included as part of the collage.

The "We Are Doc McStuffins movement" was born.

The group of women grew to form the Artemis Medical Society, an organization that now has about 2,600 female African-American physicians and medical students from around the world.

Nancy Kanter, senior vice president, original programming and general manager for Disney Junior Worldwide, said shortly after Doc McStuffins launched, she became aware of Taylor's blog.

"We were so moved by her words and her astute assessment of what a series like Doc could offer our kids that we got in touch with her to thank her," Kanter said.

Kanter said from there she wanted to find other ways to support Taylor's message.

"That led us to creating the interstitials with some of the doctors so that kids would have a chance to see exactly what they do and hear their stories," she said. "I have to say this has been one of the proudest moments in my career in kids TV."

Role model

Kanter said the African-American physicians' group is a shining example of how passion and commitment can lead to a future with limitless possibility.

Stephen Garrison, CEO of Texas Regional Medical Center at Sunnyvale, east of Dallas, said Taylor is an exceptional role model for young women entering medicine and a great asset to the hospital.

"She does it with grace and has a great relationship with the patients that come through," Garrison said.

"Not only to deliver medical care, but she has a relationship with the community."

Taylor's husband said the fruits of labor from the Disney show will likely be seen later down the road.

"The funniest thing about this will be in 20 years from now," Schlitz said.

He said someday, a reporter will be interviewing a doctor for a story and ask the question, "What made you want to become a doctor?"

"It was the Doc McStuffins show. That's what inspired me."

Susan McFarland, 817-390-7547

Twitter: @susanmcfarland1

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