Chidiebere Ibe Black representation in medical illustrations
Chidiebere Ibe’s widely shared medical illustration of a black fetus in the womb has reminded the internet that there are still significant representation gaps in healthcare. The Nigerian-born medical student who spent a year and a half posting medical illustrations on Instagram with black characters as the main subject has been praised by health organizations and even celebrities who realize they don’t have never seen themselves presented that way. .
âImagine the fact that WE are not represented in this form. This is the norm. White people are considered the default person. ” Luvvie wrote on Instagram. Netflix’s Global Marketing Director Bozoma Saint John commented under Luvvie’s post: “Here’s the crazy part … I haven’t even questioned it. It’s the evil of our erasure … sometimes WE don’t see it either. ” Underneath Ibe’s original Instagram post, there are countless marvels at the realization that they haven’t seen themselves pictured in medical illustrations. The image of Ibe also made a commenter, with the username chynastown, realizing that “seeing more manuals like this would make me want to become [a] medecine studient.”
White numbers represent 95.5% of medical illustrations, according to a study published in Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, so it’s no surprise that seeing a non-white medical image has been a jaw-dropping experience for so many people. POPSUGAR spoke with Ibe about the driving force behind these inclusive illustrations and his future plans in medicine.
What Chidiebere Ibe hopes to achieve with his work
Ibe, a member of the Association of Future African Neurosurgeons (AFAN), a network that provides mentoring and learning resources to African medical students, noticed that none of the medical illustrations involved black people. He was determined to create images that were representative of his community. âEveryone needs to be heard, everyone needs to be seen, everyone wants to be valued,â he said. With just his computer and a mouse, Ibe has learned everything he knows about graphics.
Now a medical student at Kyiv Medical University in Ukraine, Ibe also occupies several creative roles. He is the chief medical illustrator of Journal of Global Neurosurgery and creative director at Journal of Global Neurosurgery, the Forum of Young African Neurosurgeons and AFAN.
Ibe ultimately hopes to see people, especially black men, value themselves and their health through his illustrations. âI plan to give back,â Ibe said of his future plans outside of neurosurgery. He aims to donate some of his illustrations to medical institutions that cannot afford to pay for many supplies and to raise funds for people who cannot afford their education. It is important for him to help support his community and a new generation of healthcare professionals.
When asked if his images would only live on the web, Ibe mentioned that one of his beloved medical institutions, Boston Medical Center, contacted him to have his work published. So, while waiting for the print edition of his work, check out some of his popular illustrations that center the global black community.