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What does a real doctor look like? Portland vet writes books to break down stereotypes

Dr. Cherice Roth, a veterinarian, wrote two children's books that encourage children of color to get into the profession.

PORTLAND, Ore. — An African American veterinarian in the Portland area wants to encourage more children of color to get into the field by showing them that it can absolutely be done.

Dr. Cherice Roth said only 2% of veterinarians are African American. That's why she decided to write two children's books that break stereotypes about what doctors look like. The first book she wrote is called What's A Real Doctor? and the second book is called What Does A Real Doctor Look Like?

"The two main characters in this book are my nieces," Dr. Roth said. "It focuses on a conversation between siblings trying to decide if they look like what doctors look like."

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Dr. Roth said she wants to educate children about being a doctor and that all doctors look different.

"I get to tell them and educate them that doctors can look like all of us," Dr. Roth said. "It does not matter what color they are, we can be male or female or anything in between, we just work hard and care about our patients."

She said there's huge benefits in diversifying the field.

"There's an inherent distrust when your care provider doesn't look like you and there's a population of people that may never get veterinary care because of that," Dr. Roth said.

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Dr. Roth does have some ideas on why there's so few African American veterinarians.

"Veterinary school was primarily focused on children that could take time away, go audit veterinarians, which means hanging out for hours and hours at a time without making money," Dr. Roth said.

Both books are available on Amazon, and Dr. Roth said she's donating some of the proceeds from the second book to the Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association. The goal of that organization is to create diversity within the field.