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Ill-Conceived, Well Drawn-and Powerful: Graphic Medicine Exhibition Debuts at NLM

A woman reacts in shock & horror to a call from her doctor telling her there is abnormality

From Cancer Vixen, Marisa Acocella Marchetto, 2006 (Courtesy Marisa Acocella Marchetto & Penguin Random House LLC)

Welcome to the worldwide of graphic medicine—the use of comics to tell stories of illness & health.

What’s NLM got to do with graphic medicine?

A lot!

Dozens of images are now online in Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived & Well-Drawn!, a multi-formatted exhibition which explores this increasingly popular genre & showcases the National Library of Medicine’s growing collection of graphic medicine works.

Curated by Seattle cartoonist & educator Ellen Forney, author of the New York Times bestselling graphic novel Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me, the new exhibition introduces the genre, discussing who creates graphic medicine, how it conveys meaning, & its impact on readers & creators.

Topics covered in this groundbreaking exhibition include cancer, Alzheimer’s, eating disorders, lupus, hearing loss, & many more. Texts and images can be funny, edgy, irreverent, and jarringly honest—sometimes, in the same comic!

As text in the exhibition states:

Learning about illness & treatment can be an effective coping & healing strategy for the author, & sharing that information with readers can transform a negative experience into a positive one.

collage of book covers featured in the Graphic Medicine exhibition

It can also provide help & healing for other people going through the same experience, & inform health professionals, too.

How can I am am check it out?

There’s lots of information for you, but here it is, in a nutshell:

  • There will be a special Graphic Medicine display in the History of Medicine Reading Room January 30, 2018 through January 3, 2019. You’re welcome to visit weekdays except federal holidays. Group tours are available upon request. (Call 301-827-6479.)
  • Graphic Medicine may also be coming to a neighborhood near you. Two copies of the traveling banner exhibition will be visiting 48 libraries across America over the next four years.
  • Graphic Medicine‘s companion website features captivating images & stories from the exhibition, along with a lesson plan for grades 7-10 & a module for university students.
  • NLM will host “A Conversation about Graphic Medicine,” in its Lister Hill Auditorium, March 1, 2:00-3:30 pm, ET. NLM Director Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD, will moderate a discussion with the project’s curator, Ellen Forney; Dr. Michael Green, a physician, bioethicist, & professor in the Departments of Humanities & Internal Medicine at Penn State University, where he cares for patients, teaches graphic medicine, & conducts research in bioethics; & MK Czerwiec, a nurse & artist-in-residence at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. This free event will be live-streamed globally.

We’ve done our best to capture these remarkable images in words, but the biggest impact comes from the authors’ heartfelt personal experiences combined with their images. Be sure to check them out.

By Melanie Modlin, NLM in Focus writer

Source: infocus.nlm.nih.gov

Updated: March 4, 2018 — 4:31 pm

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