Recently there was an exceptional article in The New York Times titled “A New Therapeutic Tool in the Doctor’s Bag: Comic Strips.” It was written by James Warren, a columnist for the Chicago News Cooperative. The impetus for the article was the second annual gathering of artists and medical professionals for “Comics & Medicine: The Sequential Art of Illness” to study the ways in which comics and graphic novels can be used in patient care and medical education. Yes, there are medical schools currently offering courses in “comics.” Penn State is one example. (Last week’s conference was held at Northwestern University.)
In February 2010, Michael J Green, professor, and Kimberly R Myers, associate professor of the Penn State College of Medicine published a scholarly article in BMJ titled “Graphic medicine: use of comics in medical education and patient care.” Here’s the link to the extract of their article in BMJ (http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c863.extract). Within their article they acknowledge that graphic novels (adult themed comics) have reached a point of prominence in American Culture and they argue that they are a valuable tool for medicine – although far from mainstream at this point in time. They point out that most medical professionals simply have not considered the merits of graphic novels as therapeutic and teaching tools.
There’s a cool website called Graphic Medicine (http://graphicmedicine.org/) that does more than I could ever do to tell the story of comics in medicine. Ian Williams, who hosts the site, believes that comics and graphic novels could be useful resources for care givers, medical professionals and patients.
There’s also an interesting discussion about comics in medicine on the doc2doc forum. Click here to review that exchange. I found another interesting article titled “Imagery in Medicine” and you can view it here.
I look forward to learning more about this trend as it evolves. I’m enjoying learning about it! In fact, I am flirting with the idea of attending next year’s conference.
Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer