Comics & Medicine: From Private Lives to Public Health

Who can attend?

  • General public


The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Department of Art as Applied to Medicine is hosting the fifth annual Graphic Medicine Conference. This year's conference, "Comics and Medicine: From Private Lives to Public Health," aims to highlight the relationship between comics, personal health narratives, and public health issues such as barriers to health care and the stigma of illness. The programming will consist of a mix of peer-reviewed academic papers, lectures, workshops, and an informal exhibition.

More and more, comics and graphic novels are finding their way off the bookshelf and into the exam room. Experts say that, especially when patients are young, comics can be a great educational tool to explain what can be a scary medical process in a light and accessible manner.

Parents of the children undergoing treatment appreciate the graphic narrative presentation of the information, bringing the book with them to each visit and using it as reference material in conversations with care providers. Children enjoy learning about the conditions they are dealing with because it makes the issue easier to understand, more relatable, and sometimes even fun.

Beyond communicating clinical information, comics are unique in their ability to convey the illness stories of adults as well. This is particularly evident in keynote speaker Ellen Forney's award-winning graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me, which chronicles her struggle with bipolar disorder. Forney's work makes the perspective of patients with bipolar disorder easier to grasp through the lens of her personal story as she explores the link between mental disorders and creativity in her book. Forney and over 70 additional presenters will be discussing their work at this unique event.

More information on registering for the conference and fees is available online. Registration closes June 23.

Members of the media interested in attending any part of this conference should contact Lauren Nelson,, 410-955-8725. More information on the conference schedule and guest speakers is also available upon request.

Who can attend?

  • General public

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