The fight of a young medical student for racial diversity in medical illustrations

In december last yearthe illustration of an African American fetus in a womb It went viral on social media. Dozens of people commented that they did not remember ever seeing a similar drawing in their science books or academic texts.

The sudden popularity of its creation took by surprise Chidiebere Ibea 25-year-old medical student, born in Nigeria but based in Ukrainewhere he continues with his academic training.

Chidiebere had intended to make the drawings as part of a protest against the lack of representativeness of African-American people in scientific illustrationsespecially in those of medicine that were focused on exemplifying the reactions that the body would have towards various diseases.

Indeed, the popularity of the image sparked countless discussions in comment boxes about the scarcity of such illustrations. “An American mother called me to tell me about how wonderful it was for her to see how her children identified with the illustrations and they were inspired to study medicine,” Chidiebere told AJ+.

In addition to the drawing of the African-American fetus, Chidiebere is also the author of images that show the effect on the skin caused by various conditions. such as vitiligo, spinal injuries and chest infections. all with African-American people as protagonists.

Beyond the feeling of representation, Chidibiere also explains that the absence of this type of illustrations makes some diseases, whose symptoms are shown on the skin, difficult to diagnose around the worlddue to the fact that there is no clear representation of what this condition would look like in people with different skin colors.

After being invited to illustrate images in the second edition of a book called “Mind the gap,” which is designed to include examples of What would the symptomatology of diseases in African-American people look like?Chidibiere expressed that he hoped this was the beginning of a greater focus on the representation of all human beings in medical books.

“The Chidiebere’s work reveals one of the biases that exist with the naked eye in medicine and of which most of us are not aware. Representation in the health system is essential to prevent implicit distortions from being cultivated in our heads,” he concluded. Malone Mukwendeco-author of “Mind the gap”.

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