Skip to Main Content

Graphic Medicine and Other Media

Evidence Based Media

This guide represents a collection of media related, sometimes tangentially, to the field of medicine.

Why Graphic Medicine?

Slates, paper, ballpoint and fountain pens, and store-bought ink were criticized by educators who did not want these innovations in their classrooms and felt that their existence would have a deleterious impact on learning and education (Bradford, 2010). The use of graphic novels presents another medium that has been lauded as an innovation by some educators while met with skepticism by others (Wojciechowska, 2010). This article illustrates that the graphic novel approach is effective in critical activities relevant to effective communication and learning. For management scholars, our findings build on the work of others advocating using organizational narratives. For management educators, the graphic novel format provides a potentially powerful tool for learning and education. This study indicates that the graphic novel format is a powerful yet underutilized tool for business and professional communication.

From "Graphic Presentation: An Empirical Examination of the Graphic Novel Approach to Communicate Business Concepts" by Jeremy C. Short, Brandon Randolph-Sing, and Aaron F. McKenny.


Why Fiction?

In 2000, Jemeljan Hakemulder at Utrecht University in Germany published "The Moral Laboratory," a book outlining the results of almost two dozen experiments that linked reading to better social skills. A 2013 study in the American Psychological Association's journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts found that the process of imagining scenes while reading led to an increase in empathy and prosocial behavior. Raymond Mar, a psychologist who co-authored the 2006 study with [Keith] Oatley, has found that the parts of the brain used for inferring thoughts and feelings of others — a phenomenon called "mentalizing" — light up in an MRI machine when people are processing stories.

...Oatley compared reading to being in a flight simulator: "You experience a lot of situations in a short span of time," he said, far more so than if we went about our lives waiting for those experiences to come to us.

From "Does reading fiction make you a better person?" by Sarah Kaplan

Why Non-Fiction?

Texts that address the medical experience of decision‐making, whether by physicians and caregivers, patients, or family, can make a major contribution to the improvement of medicine. Medical decisions are made not only on the basis of science, law, and ethical principles but also on the basis of experience and “notions.” Those experiences and questions – What is health? What is a doctor? What does it mean to die? – take center stage in works of literature.

From “Narrative Text and Issues in Medical Humanities” by Sara Berg

Why Children's Literature?

Just as Goldilocks sighs with relief when she takes a spoonful from the third bowl of porridge and finds that it is “just right,” a small child can relax into the experience of being read a picture book. There is a bit of a pleasurable challenge in making sense of what he’s seeing and hearing. There is time to reflect on the story and to see its reverberations in his own life—a transaction that may be as simple as the flash of making a connection between a real donkey he once saw with the “honky tonky, winky wonky donkey” of Craig Smith’s picture book. The collaborative engagement that a child brings to the experience is so vital and productive that reading aloud “stimulates optimal patterns of brain development,” as a 2014 paper from the American Academy of Pediatrics put it, strengthening the neural connections that will enable him to process more difficult and complex stories as he gets older.

Much of the hidden magic of reading aloud involves those curious eyes and that devouring gaze. Looking at a book with an adult, a child increases his capacity for “joint attention,” noticing what others see and following their gaze. This phenomenon has a remarkable tempering power in children. It encourages the development of executive function, an array of skills that includes remembering details and paying attention. Children “learn to naturally regulate their attention when focusing on a task they find interesting in a context that is nurturing, warm and responsive,” as Vanderbilt University’s David Dickenson and colleagues put it in a paper summarizing the rich developmental value of reading aloud.

From “The Secret Power of the Children’s Picture Book” by Meghan Cox Gurdon

Why YA?

To be able to provide health care to this age group,one requires knowledge of and exposure to the vast variety of events and emotions that adolescents experience. The added burden of having a medical or psychological problem makes the adolescent years more complicated still. Paying attention to the adolescent voice can allow health care providers to better understand what their teen patients are thinking and feeling

From "Using Young Adult Literature to Teach Adolescent Medicine" by Chris L. OHlemeyer and Patricia K. Kokotailo

Why Podcasts?

Listening to music may make the daily commute tolerable, but streaming a story through the headphones can make it disappear. You were home; now you’re at your desk. What happened? Storytelling happened, and now scientists have mapped the experience of listening to podcasts, specifically The Moth Radio Hour, using a scanner to track brain activity. In a paper published Wednesday by the journal Nature, a research team from the University of California, Berkeley, laid out a detailed map of the brain as it absorbed and responded to a story. Widely dispersed sensory, emotional, and memory networks were humming across both hemispheres of the brain; no story was “contained” in any one part of the brain, as some textbooks have suggested.

From “This Is Your Brain on Podcasts” by Benedict Carey

icon   Follow us
icon   Follow us
icon   Follow us