Barbie reveals doll that looks like Toronto doctor to honour her work as a frontline hero
Barbie is recognizing six amazing women who've worked tirelessly in the fight against COVID-19 by creating dolls in their likeness — one of which is Toronto-based physician Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa.
Mattel announced the new dolls this week as part of Barbie's ongoing Dream Gap Project, "which introduces girls to women's stories from all walks of life to show them they can be anything."
Oriuwa, the only Canadian woman chosen for initiative, is an accomplished physician and spoken word poet who has worked on the front lines of COVID-19.
Throughout her career, she has worked tirelessly to emphasize and recognize the importance of children's mental health and systemic racism in the healthcare system.
"I remember playing with Barbie as a young girl and imagining them as having the careers I aspired toward, even if the dolls weren't dressed like that career," Oriuwa said of the honour.
"Imagining that they were doctors and writers and performers allowed me to live out my dreams at an early age and to explore all the possibilities available to me. I am truly honoured to be a Barbie Role Model and I hope that I can inspire the next generation of girls to set goals and work hard to reach their limitless potential."
Oriuwa was the only Black person in her class of 259 students during her first year in medical school at the University of Toronto in 2016, and she worked hard to help diversify the program after facing discrimination.
She was also the first Black woman to be chosen as sole valedictorian for a graduating class, has received numerous prestigious awards and is a medical board member for the Made of Millions Foundation — a global advocacy non-profit organization with a mission to change how the world perceives mental health.
Oriuwa was chosen for Barbie's role model initiative along with emergency room nurse Amy O'Sullivan from the U.S., frontline worker Dr. Audery Cruz from the U.S., Professor of vaccinology Sarah Gilbert from the U.K., biomedical researcher Dr. Jaqueline Goes de Jesus from Brazil and general practitioner Dr. Kirby White from Australia.
"Barbie recognizes that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened," said Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie & Dolls at Mattel, in a statement.
"To shine a light on their efforts, we are sharing their stories and leveraging Barbie's platform to inspire the next generation to take after these heroes and give back. Our hope is to nurture and ignite the imaginations of children playing out their own storyline as heroes."
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