When I started this blog in August of last year, I was intending to use it as a place to collect all the of information about where comics and medical librarianship meet – and it has done that and more. I don’t blog in the traditional sense as much as I would like to (time is a factor), there are several book reviews waiting to be published, but I think with the weekly “This Week in Graphic Medicine” posts and the ever growing Graphic Medicine in the Academy page, the last 8 months have led to a valuable source of information on graphic medicine. Typically the blog only sees a few hits a day, with the exception of Fridays, where it skyrockets thanks to the new “This Week” post – but those that use it regularly have expressed appreciation and that’s more than enough for me to keep at it. Not to mention, collecting these links and articles continues to prove valuable in research endeavours.

All of that said, I wanted to take a moment to provide an update to some of the information found in this early Graphic Medicine at the Lamar Soutter Library post, to give a quick overview of what all has been and is happening here. Going list-style for brevity and ease-of-reading:

  • The LSL Graphic Medicine collection now boasts more-than 65 titles and continues to grow. The growth of the collection past its initial numbers is thanks to donations and funding from a Gold Foundation Mapping the Landscape grant (more on this later). You can see the complete list of titles on Worldcat.
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    Left: A comic advertisement for the collection by Tess Grynoch and myself           Right: The LSL Graphic Medicine Collection


  • Last December, we hosted James Sturm, Director of the Center for Cartoon Studies, for a talk on applied cartooning and graphic medicine. We had roughly 40 attendees, both in person and online, and it was a great discussion about what comics can do. This was timely as James and the CCS have been working with the White River Junction VA to tell veterans’ stories through comics, which created the comics anthology, When I Returned.

    One of the posters for the When I Returned event
  • Last fall, a research team comprised of Suzana Makowski, Len Levin, and me (as the PI) were awarded a Gold Foundation, Mapping the Landscape grant to study the uses and potential impacts of graphic medicine as currently understood in professional literature. Work on the scoping review (a form of systematic review) is ongoing, and I will be presenting on our progress in May with a poster illustrated in comics form from artist Kelly Lund.
  • A group of us submitted a proposal for a new Flexible Clinical Experience course for our 3rd year medical students on Graphic Medicine and Health Literacy – it was approved! These are 1-week, intensive courses that our students take in order to explore topics of interest that might not make it into their regular medical school curriculum. Should students sign up, we will begin teaching it June. You can see the information sheet here.
  • On Friday, March 3rd, I presented on our ongoing efforts at the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Community Engagement and Research Symposium. You can download a PDF copy of my poster here: Comics and Medicine: Building Collections and Raising Awareness.

    Me, postering on graphic medicine
  • On Tuesday, March 7th, the NNLM/NER office hosted a webinar titled Introduction to Graphic Medicine. This education and outreach opportunity drew in 155 registrations, with 101 people attending the live-cast. I gave some background on what graphic medicine is, how it is applicable to us in library science, and provided resources and ideas for incorporation into library collections. The feedback has been wonderful. A recorded version of the webinar may be found here.
  • Also on March 7th, immediately following the webinar, we launched our new NER office program (as part of our new Graphic Medicine Initiative): Graphic Medicine Book Club Kits. These kits, of which there are 10, are on a variety of medical topics. Each kit contains 6 copies of a graphic novel, discussion questions, resources from NLM, and other appropriate resources. They are available for borrowing from any organization within New England, with the hope that groups will take advantage of an opportunity to explore graphic medicine without any financial burden.
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The Graphic Medicine Book Club Kit Books!

Phew! There’s been a lot going on – and there will be more to come! Right now, I am in what I’m calling “Spread-the-Word-Mode”, which involves talking to anyone and everyone interested in comics and medicine. With that in mind, I am going to end this post with a list of where I will be presenting the next few months – all on graphic medicine!

April 4th – 5th, Madison, WI: Wisconsin Health Literacy Summit

May 3rd – 6th, Worcester, MA: Substance Abuse Librarians & Information Specialists/Association of Mental Health Librarians Conference

May 7th – 9th, Chicago, IL: Mapping the Landscape, Journeying Together: 2017 Symposium

May 18th – 21st, Houston, TX: 2017 Conference on Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology

May 27th – May 31st, Seattle, WA: Medical Library Association 2017 Annual Meeting

June 15th – 17th, Seattle, WA: 2017 Comics and Medicine Conference

I hope to see some of you at one or more of these events! As always, please reach out if you have questions, comments, or ideas!