Dr. Cruz’s Work as Physician and Leader in Advancing Equality Celebrated
Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz, an Intermountain Healthcare provider who works at our Blue Diamond myGeneration clinic, is one of six women in healthcare worldwide chosen by Mattel to honor COVID-19 Frontline Workers. Mattel reached out to Dr. Cruz after she and several fellow providers went viral for their #IAmNotAVirus campaign against Anti-Asian and Asian-American hate this past spring.
Dr. Cruz was, at that time, living in Southern California where animosity towards Asians and Asian-Americans was occurring. She had been working as a hospitalist and an assistant professor of medicine when she teamed up with other doctors to create the video that addressed anti-Asian violence related to the pandemic. The video was shown on national media.
As an Asian-American, Dr. Cruz has encountered ethnocentric and racist sentiment while she was living in California. On more than one occasion, she’s had patients refuse to be seen by her because they wanted someone with more experience or a different background, or who have inquired about her background in intrusive and judgmental ways.
“Words do matter. Individuals need to think twice before saying hurtful things,” says Dr. Cruz. Her activism and her role as a health and wellness influencer on Instagram got the attention of Mattel, which created a life like replica of her and five other women who worked to battle COVID-19 during the spring and fall of 2020. Mattel reached out to her because of her activism and Dr. Cruz began working with them to create a Barbie doll based on her likeness that would inspire girls to become future doctors.
“I am one of two women in the U.S. who were chosen for this honor,” says Dr. Cruz. The other woman is Amy O’Sullivan, an emergency room nurse who treated the first COVID-19 case in Brooklyn, NY. Sarah Gilbert, who led the creation of the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine and Dr. Jacqueline Goes de Jesus, a Brazilian biomedical researcher who worked on a team that sequenced the genome of a COVID-19 variant, were also chosen by Mattel to be part of this doll line. At this time the dolls are not for sale and have been made as a one-of-a-kind collection, though many people have shared their interest in purchasing the dolls.
Dr. Cruz was recently interviewed on CNN about this honor where she spoke about the process and the joy of receiving the doll from Mattel. “Never in a million years did I ever think this could happen to me. It means so much to me as a minority, as a woman, and as a healthcare worker.”