As the old joke goes, Kim Raver isn’t a doctor, but she plays one on TV. Raver plays Dr. Teddy Altman on “Grey’s Anatomy,” and she says being part of a medical drama has given her a greater appreciation for the work that healthcare professionals do, and more so than ever during the pandemic.
“For me personally on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ I’ve learned so much about the intricacies and the hours and the relationships and really you know the day in and day out of what they do, and it’s just incredible. And especially now, I mean the willingness to do a job which was frontline but now even more than before frontline.”
Art imitates life
Being on the show also connected Raver personally with medical professionals in the real world, and she says she’s been trying to check in with them and make sure that they’re all okay. “And definitely I think it’s just much more part of my awareness because it’s sort of my pretend job to understand their real job. And I think then I have just a greater understanding and compassion and gratitude.”
It’s important to Raver to support healthcare workers, who have been hailed as heroes during this pandemic, but she finds it difficult considering the stay-at-home orders in place.
“You know, at first I had to do some press, and I was like, ‘I can’t be doing press during this because there’s just so much going on,’” Raver says. “I had a similar feeling on 9/11 when I was on ‘Third Watch.’ It’s like, how can I think about doing press and entertainment?” Then, she says, she realized something. “But that is my part in the world and my part is to help where I can.”
Chipping in where able
So Raver has started to use her platform and her status as a public figure to raise awareness and support the people who need it most. “I usually don’t do that much social media; I do some, but now I feel like even more I want to reach out to my fans and make sure that everyone’s doing okay,” she says.
“I try to do this thing every Monday where I’m bringing either an artist or a chef or a musician and discussing with them. I want to be able to help with what people have to do with being in quarantine. You know, I worry about people who don’t have enough to eat, I worry about people’s mental health while being quarantined.”
Raver says one person doing something similar to great effect is Jen Pastiloff, who uses her platform to raise money to donate grocery cards to people in need, or elevate frontline workers like first responders who need assistance. “I connected with Jen Pastiloff who is just incredible. And you know she posted a simple thing of like, ‘Do you have food today?’ And that’s started a huge movement. So, I feel like my job with what I do is to reach out through my ability of being an actor or celebrity whatever to try to help the most that I can.”
Using her platform
One important thing Raver is doing now is to join organizations that raise vital funds for people in need, especially the people on the frontlines.
“I’m supporting First Responders First, which is a fund for health care workers and helps them with supplies and equipment and the resources that they need,” she says. “I think it’s a combination, you know, trying to entertain for entertainment’s sake, then trying to use my voice and platform to make sure people have food to eat, and then also that there’s money and funds and necessities, like child care for our first responders.”
Raver is not the only “Grey’s Anatomy” alum who is doing their part to support essential workers. In fact, the show was one of the first of several medical dramas that donated protective gear from their own props department to hospitals and healthcare workers who needed it.
“I think also we were one of the first ones to shut down and I admire that, but I think that’s a difficult decision,” Raver says. “But they knew that we’ve got some older members of our crew and health and safety comes first. And so, I think everyone is trying to manage in this world of how do we protect and help our peers and people and how do we also move forward. And I’m lucky that I’m part of a company that’s been able to to kind of do that.”
But as much as she admires how much her company has done to help, Raver is most humbled by the people putting their lives on the line every day.“I feel incredibly proud and scared at the same time, but I am blown away by what our healthcare workers are providing for us,” she says.