Pediatrician Neela Sethi Young, M.D.,was always sketching glamorous fashion designs as a little girl. With a penchant for maxi dresses and heels, the young pediatrician found the wide-cut, unisex blue scrubs she had to start wearing during her clinical rotations in medical school not quite up to her aesthetics. “As I put my first scrubs on, I thought they gave me the wrong one. These must be for a man. The shirt was boxy, the crotch was low and they made me feel frumpy,” she says with a laugh.
Young, who received both her undergraduate and medical degrees from UCLA and went on to Cedars-Sinai for her residency, spent the next five years of her life in the hospital practically living in scrubs. She was never thrilled with her choices: “cartoon characters and rainbows, or just plain boring.”
That’s when the idea for Jaanuu medical apparel was born. Young wanted to create scrubs with a contemporary feel.
Young wanted her scrubs to be attractive and more form-fitting, with breathable fabrics, but also to have an antimicrobial quality to them.
“I would come home with my scrubs on and my kids would immediately run up to me to hug and kiss me, and I didn’t want to bring anything from the hospital back to my house,” says Young, a mom of two.
Jaanuu (which means “sweetheart” in Hindi and is a term of endearment Young’s dad always used for his kids) is operated by Young and her brother, Shaan Sethi, a private equity investor. The online company features scrubs with a four-fabric blend that is stretchy, moisture wicking and antimicrobial.
According to Young, a study by The Journal of Hospital Infection indicated that after a single work shift, 92 percent of nurses’ uniforms worn on a general medical floor carry either MRSA, Vancomycin-resistant enterococci or C.difficile bacteria. “With the possibility of cross-contamination to patients as well as to the person next to you during your post-work grocery run,” says Young, she wanted to provide a better option. Jaanuu’s fabric is treated with Silvadur, an antimicrobial agent produced by Dow Chemical Co.
Young, whose pediatric practice is in Valencia, has a three-pronged approach to her new business venture – look good, feel good, do good. Every Jaanuu product purchased initiates a donation to Runway2Remedy, which focuses on delivering medications to child victims of trafficking, a cause near to her heart because of her pediatric work in Los Angeles and around the world, particularly in India.
“It’s not easy trying to manage everything,” says Young of her different roles as wife, mom, doctor and entrepreneur. “But my biggest motivation is my children. I want to be a role model for them. I want them to dream big and work hard towards those dreams.”