Get to know the prospective medical student whose illustrations of a black fetus have gone viral

Chidiebere Ibe via Instagram

Aspiring pediatric neurosurgeon Chidiebere Ibe went viral this month because of his medical exam drawing of a black fetus in the womb of a black parent after a Twitter user shared the photo. The post has been liked over 330,000 times on Twitter and garnered praise for raising awareness of the paucity of portraying blacks in medical illustrations.

Currently, Ibe “leads creative design at the Association of Future African Neurosurgeons” and Nigeria-born Ibe will be enrolling next month at Kyiv Medical University in Ukraine. His viral medical images also prompted New York University to offer a doctorate after completing medical school.

By Ibe’s GoFundMe page, “I started medical illustrations to promote the use of dark skin illustrations in our medical textbooks to represent a typical African person. Textbooks are essentially invincible to medical education. They guide medical trainees through the conditions they will encounter during their practice. Yet most of the medical illustrations are on Caucasian skin. This lack of diversity has important implications for medical trainees and their future patients, as many disorders and signs are different depending on the skin color of the patient and therefore black skin should be represented equally. .

According to a to study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, “[a] The study of general medicine textbooks showed minimal diversity in skin types, with 4.5% of the images showing dark skin.

This disparity is staggering, considering that medical illustrations have been used to instruction since from “the 4e century BC or early 3e century BC “in Hellenic Alexandria.

Ni-Ka Ford, Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) Diversity Chair said “It’s an extension of medical racism… The field is so closely tied to medicine and healthcare, which has a lot of roots in systemic racism. So that’s a big part of that… Historically, medical illustrations have been overwhelmingly white and male-centric.… Many textbooks have already been published and are already circulating around the world and they are very exclusive in visual content. of people from different backgrounds.

YWCA defined medical racism as “the systematic and widespread racism against people of color within the medical system. This includes both the racism in our society that makes black people less healthy, the disparity in health coverage by race, and the prejudices of health care workers against the people of color in their care. “

Ford and his team launched the #AMIDiversity campaign this year, “urging medical illustrators around the world to publish their work on ‘non-white bodies’,” and the association plans to make it an annual campaign, in addition to helping efforts to recruit more blacks into the profession .

Ibe fully agrees with the importance of this work and has declared, “I believe everyone deserves to be seen… In the United States, there are a lot of disparities in health care. So it is a call to everyone that everyone should count and that there should be equal health for everyone. “

SUBJECTS: black women and the diversity of health care

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