Even in her career, whether it is when she’s working as an emergency medicine specialist at Texas Regional Medical Center at Sunnyvale or at her second job as the physician supervisor at the Dr Pepper plant in Irving, Taylor, 38, rarely encounters women physicians of color. So, when she heard about the new TV cartoon “Doc McStuffins,” popular on Disney Junior. Taylor welcomed the opportunity to share a bit of her profession with her own 4-year-old daughter, Hana Taylor Schlitz.
The television show, which stars a 6-year-old African-American girl whose favorite accessory is a pink stethoscope and who dreams of becoming a doctor like her mother, impressed Taylor so much she wrote about it on her own blog, http://www.CoilyEmbrace.com, and created an online collage of 131 African-American women physicians of color who are real-life Doc McStuffins; then Taylor sent the collage to Disney, and subsequent international media attention of her campaign drew more physicians’ praises and a call for some organized way for more women minority medical professionals to share their common experiences.
So, Taylor, with help from other physicians nationwide, created Artemis Medical Society, a new Fort Worth-based nonprofit corporation. Named after the Greek goddess, Artemis’ mission is to create and promote an environment in medicine where women physicians of color from all medical specialties can come together to support and learn from each other. Taylor, who is Artemis’ president, said women physicians of color share a common bond because they are unique in the medical community.
Artemis started with the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/groups/342922302445521/ and a couple hundred members in June, but Artemis is transitioning to a new website www.ArtemisMedicalSociety.com soon. Artemis boasts more than 2,000 members already.
About 90 percent of Artemis’ members are African-American women physicians, but the group is open to all women physicians of all minority groups. Members represent a wide range of medical specialties and many graduated from top medical schools, including Harvard, Stanford and Yale.
“For a large majority of us, we are the only people of color, and possibly the only women, practicing in our medical group or departments; this can create feelings of isolation,” said Taylor, whose practice group is Innovative Emergency Associates of Sunnyvale. “We believe that Artemis Medical Society can answer this call for support by women physicians of color and help each other reach our professional and personal aspirations.”
American Medical Association’s own statistics show there were 18,533 black female physicians in 2010, less than 2 percent of the 985,375 physicians in the United States. Taylor, who entered emergency medicine after her father, Dwight, was among one of the first bystanders shot and killed in the 1992 L.A. riots, hopes to encourage more racial diversity in the physician workforce; her mother and grandmother were nurses, and encouraged her to become a doctor.
The nonprofit has hosted several online seminars for members already. One included practicing physicians’ advice to those in medical school or who had just started residency; and the second focused on nontraditional paths for those with medical degrees, such as consulting for pharmaceutical companies or working in media.
Artemis’ own survey found more than half its members are between the ages of 31 and 40. More than one-third of the members are between ages 26 and 30.
The founders are funding all of Artemis’ expenses at this point, Taylor said. However, Artemis will collect membership dues at some point in the future.
Stephen Garrison, president and CEO of TRMC-Sunnyvale, praised Taylor for her efforts to encourage other women and promote diversity and growth among the physician ranks.
“She’s a leader for the profession, as well as wonderful role model for all the young minority girls and women who will become physicians in the decades to come,” Garrison said. “We are always pleased when one of TRMC-Sunnyvale’s physicians goes above and beyond to make a difference in the community, whether it’s by volunteering in a local neighborhood or by taking the extra step to strengthen our medical community by affirming and encouraging what’s possible for every child.”
For more information about Artemis, go to http://www.facebook.com/groups/342922302445521/.
Press Release provided by Texas Regional Medical Center at Sunnyvale.