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UW Medicine graphic medicine event preview

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A traveling exhibit from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) is coming to the UW Health Sciences Library this November, and its showcased medium aims to make the health sciences more approachable for all people.

Graphic Medicine is a new artistic discipline that uses comics as a medium to advance health sciences communication. 

“Graphic medicine is an emerging genre of medical literature that combines art of comics and personal illness narrative,” Jill Newmark, the manager of traveling exhibition services for the NLM, said in her blog post about the exhibit headed to the UW.

The NLM hired Ellen Forney, a local artist and author of “Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me,” a graphic novel and memoir about her experiences with bipolar disorder, as the curator and a contributing creator for the Graphic Medicine exhibit. Forney collected a diverse group of comics about patient experiences, dealing with the healthcare system, and the often untold stories of caregivers. The exhibit, already published online, also includes original work from Forney, along with excerpts from “Marbles.”

The exhibit is traveling to many schools and libraries around the country, so the majority of audiences are mainly general interest rather than healthcare students and providers. But as Forney says, health, or the absence of it, is a part of everyone’s life in some capacity.

“Everybody has health, everybody has health concerns in one way or another. It’s something that we all deal with. Even if it’s general interest, it pertains to everyone,” Forney said.

The UW Health Sciences Library will host “Graphic Medicine: Ill-conceived and Well-drawn” from Nov. 5 to Dec. 22, 2018. Forney’s book “Marbles,” featured in the exhibit, is also this year’s UW Health Sciences Common Book, which will be required reading for students in various disciplines within the health sciences.

Reach writer Claire Summa at Twitter: @sumclairvoyance

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