Why Dr. Shermaine thinks we need more culture in our profession
Some people are better at creating change than others. They're the ones that see something missing from the world and instantly make plans to fill the gap. They're people like Dr. Shermaine Wilson Cox, who founded Sankofa Medical Scrubs after she found that most scrub fashion did not fit her personality. Through Sankofa, Dr. Shermaine was able to deliver a modern line of Afrocentric medical scrubs, featuring pan-African prints of gold, red, and green.
What inspired me to create my designs: Working in a clinic, we have to wear scrubs on a daily basis. I would wear African print headbands or wraps to express my style. But, trying to match those with my scrubs was near impossible. The printed scrubs I would find had cartoon characters, flowers, or superheroes, and although they were cute, they did not represent my style.
While searching online for African print scrubs I found that the selection was very limited, especially those that have a modern tailored fit. And, that’s when I decided to make a line myself.
Why we need fashionable scrubs: The way we dress can express our heritage, culture, and style. I believe that when you are wearing something you like, it makes you more confident and that energy transfers to your life and your work. Simply put, when you look good you feel good, and when you feel good you do good!
What is so different about Sakofa? Sankofa scrubs contain a vibrant African kente print that relates back to my African ancestors. I used African print so that medical professionals of color could wear them and feel a sense of pride and empowerment. It took a lot for African Americans to get to the point where we were allowed to go to medical schools and practice medicine. I feel that showing pride of our culture is a way of giving thanks to our ancestors because, without them, we would not be where we are today.
What I do in my spare time: I am a mom of a very active 3 year-old son. Family time is a priority for us and we love being outdoors, either going to the park or pool. We also love to check out fun family friendly activities around our community. My husband and I also have a passion for travel. I spent four years working as a flight attendant before attending Tuskegee for veterinary school and he drives trucks for a living, so together we know all the best travel secrets!
The best career advice I ever received: Never stop learning! Don't ever think you can get to a point where you know everything, because that will never happen! Veterinary medicine is constantly changing. Keep an open mind to learning and always be teachable.
My advice to my younger self: No matter what you may go through in life, no matter the obstacle or struggle, don't let it keep you down, and never give up. Continue to move forward and reach for your goals. Taking microsteps to your goals and dreams is much better than taking no steps at all.