'Having a deaf doctor on a show like this could change lives': Shoshannah Stern on introducing the first deaf doctor to Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy is set to introduce its first deaf doctor - and one of the first on primetime TV - this week.
Shoshannah Stern will be playing Dr. Lauren Riley, a diagnostics expert who helps DeLuca with an "incurable" patient, for a multi-episode arc. She will be introduced in the episode set to air on February 13 in North America.
And ahead of her stint in Grey Sloane, the actress told Entertainment Tonight that she thinks "having a deaf doctor on a show like this could change, even save lives."
"But I think what’s most incredible about it is the level of collaboration that happened behind the scenes in order to make this come to life," she continued.
"Grey’s didn’t just collaborate with me, they also reached out to several other deaf doctors to make sure that what they were writing was accurate. I really don’t think Dr. Riley could or should have happened any other way. Maybe that’s why she is one of the first. Maybe that’s how she had to be brought to life."
She also spoke about how her role on Grey's - and the opportunity to join the long-running drama - came to be. She told the outlet that she had "always" wanted to be a doctor on Grey's Anatomy - and was delighted when she had the chance to meet Krista Vernoff, the series' showrunner.
"When I got the opportunity to meet Krista Vernoff, the showrunner, we talked about inclusion because Grey’s has done really wonderful things with that," she said. "One of the reasons I love the show is because it really embraces using the platform it has to educate people. A lot of other shows are afraid of doing that, but not Grey’s."
She added that Krista is "brilliant" and the "kind of person who would rather listen than talk."
"One of the other things we were talking about when we met, was how I was personally affected by the writers' strike. She asked me if I needed a job in the writers' room and in a moment of complete stupidity I said to her, 'No, because I want to be a deaf doctor on Grey’s,'" she continued. "In my defence, I was stupid delirious on cold medicine at the time, but the moral of this story might be that I need to be more stupid, because she invited me into the writers' room as a result. I got to sit down with her and all the writers and talk about our ideas for this character for a few hours. It was incredible. I know I’ll never forget it."