COVID times have been difficult and unpredictable for everyone. It’s hard to stay positive when you don’t know when it’s all going to end and we can go back to the norms that we so took for granted before.
In such uncertain times, the need for heroes and heroines becomes all the more important. Having outstanding figures to look up to does a lot to inspire hope in the masses. But it’s not just an improvement of morale that these heroic figures provide: Each has made substantial contributions to the fight against this disease in their respective fields.Read More »
A Doll to Look Up To
Barbie dolls have long been an important part of young girl’s lives and personal development. When Mattel released their Role Model series, the company took things to the next level and pushed the boundaries of how powerful and positive an influence a seemingly simple toy could have on a child’s life.
Play is such a critical part of growing up. It’s where we get to learn, explore, and discover who we are in a safe environment that’s not bound by the same limitations as everyday life. So when Mattel announced on August 4th, 2021, that they were paying tribute to six notable women who helped fight back against the COVID-19 pandemic, it was an important day for young future heroes everywhere.
Here are the amazing women whose valiant contributions have been forever honored with custom dolls.
Honoring the Women in the Front Lines
It takes brazen courage and selfless hard work to have the impact that each of these six women during the COVID-19 pandemic. From the long academic and professional ladder that they climbed to achieve such a high level in their careers, to the courage and tenacity it takes to stand up against such a controversial and devastating issue in a highly public-facing way, there’s so much to be admired in these individuals.
Amy O’Sullivan, RN
When Nurse Amy O’Sullivan was diagnosed with COVID-19, she encountered severe symptoms that were very nearly life-threatening. This came after treating the first COVID patient who was reported in Brooklyn while working at the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center. After recovery and quarantine, she sprang right back into action. As soon as she possibly could, Nurse O’Sullivan returned to her job and helping and caring for people when it was most needed, underlining her dedication to people’s health.
Professor Sarah Gilbert
One of the brave and ingenious minds working behind the scenes is Sarah Gilbert, a professor at England’s Oxford University who specializes in vaccinology. With her valiant contributions – and under her strong leadership – the institution was able to develop and produce the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to significantly drive down COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. It’s safe to say that Professor Gilbert’s work has helped save millions of lives across the globe.
Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa
Systemic racism has continued to pervade virtually every corner of society, and it takes courage and passion to stand up against it. That’s something that Dr. Oriuwa, who works at the University of Toronto as a psychiatry resident, has firmly committed herself to fighting in the healthcare system. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many health-related racial issues to a head, which only made Dr. Oriuwa strive harder to spotlight this disparity.
As the only black student in a class of 259 at Toronto’s medical school, she knows firsthand the depth of today’s racial inequality and continues to push back when underserved and underrepresented populations are at their most vulnerable.
Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz
STEM careers – those in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – are great for any young girl to set her sights on. As society continues to grow and develop, the problems to be solved will become ever more complex, and the need for these types of professional roles will only increase.
Dr. Cruz is living proof that you don’t always have to stick with your first career path. She had already earned her electrical engineering degree before deciding that medical school was where her true passion lay. It’s clear that the professional resonated with her: During the height of the pandemic, Dr. Cruz could be found fighting COVID in the front lines from clinics to hospitals. As if that’s not enough, she’s also outspoken in her pushback against Asian-American discrimination and biases.
Dr. Kirby White
This Australian general practitioner made a huge impact during the pandemic by providing much-needed protective gowns to numerous frontline medical workers. She demonstrated the power of community by organizing a local volunteer effort called Gowns for Doctors that was responsible for sewing reusable gowns by the thousands, which made their way to more than 750 medical facilities in rural areas. Without the support of these hundreds of individual volunteers and textile companies, these remote clinics would have been unable to keep up with supplies to ensure the safety of their healthcare workers.
Dr. Jaqueline Goes de Jesus
Dr. Jaqueline Goes de Jesus played no small role in analyzing the structure of Brazil’s dangerous COVID-19 variant – she led the team. As a biomedical researcher, genome sequencing – the process of determining the entire sequence of a DNA’s instructions – was an everyday part of her already important work. When it came to genome sequencing the Brazilian COVID variant, however, it became a project that would help countless individuals stay healthy and avoid a life-threatening disease.
Although these custom-made dolls are currently still one-of-a-kind and not available for fans to buy, the fact that they exist is still an excellent tribute to the sacrifices and noble contributions of these pandemic heroines. As fans continue to beg for the chance to buy one, we can only hope that Mattel will give in and mass-produce these uniquely heroic Barbie dolls.
After all, displaying them as part of a collection would be an excellent way of personally honoring these women, and kids everywhere (and of all ages) would have the opportunity to roleplay as these noble role models and become inspired for their futures. Until then, you can pay your own tribute by checking out the dolls online and spreading the word.