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Graphic Medicine

Information on the use of the comics medium to explore issues in healthcare.

Why Comics?: Value in Health Care Education

  • Fosters empathy for the patient and caregiver perspectives
  • Requires visual and gestural literacy skills similar to those required for excellent patient care
  • Allows for self-reflection and meaning-making of often complex topics
  • Is a safe space to explore and express criticism of healthcare
  • Reduces stigma
  • Improves recall of information through use of storytelling and the combination of narrative and art
  • Can express an alternate viewpoint
  • Can make difficult subjects feel more approachable
  • Is a means of effective patient outreach and communication
  • Medium of comics can relieve stress
  • Prompts classroom discussion in medical classroom (examples below)

Medically-themed comics inspire classroom discussions such as:

  • The value of observing nonverbal cues
  • The importance of attending to the patient's concerns
  • Differences between the patient's and the physician's experience of illness
  • The importance of truth telling in medicine
  • The role of social and political factors in shaping illness
  • The challenges of coping with mental illness and the ambivalence patients may feel about treatment
  • The complexity of doctor-patient communication and the implications for informed decision making

                Source: Czerwiec, M., Williams, I., Squier, S., Green, M., Myers, K., & Smith, S. (2015). Graphic medicine manifesto . The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Teaching Resources