Comics has always had a critical engagement with socio-political and cultural issues and hence evolved into a medium with a subversive power to challenge the status quo. Staying true to the criticality of the medium, graphic medicine (where comics intersects with the discourse of healthcare) critiques the exploitative and unethical practices in the field of healthcare, thereby creating a critical consciousness in the reader. In close reading select graphic pathographies such as Gabby Schulz’s Sick (2016), Emily Steinberg’s Broken Eggs (2014), Ellen Forney’s Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo & Me (2012) and Marisa Marchetto’s Cancer Vixen (2009), the present article delineates how graphic medicine interrogates the larger than life forces in the field of healthcare. Drawing specific instances from the aforementioned graphic texts, the essay demonstrates that graphic medicine scrutinizes the political economy of health under capitalism. In so doing, the article illustrates how the pharmaceutical corporations, insurance companies, medical technology, and healthcare corporations marketize and commoditize health in the neoliberal era. Finally, the article attempts to theorize how graphic pathographies, mediating subjective experiences, generate a new critical literacy through the conflation of the personal and the political in the verbovisual medium of comics.
Venkatesan, S., Murali, C. Graphic Medicine and the Critique of Contemporary U.S. Healthcare. J Med Humanit 43, 27–42 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10912-019-09571-z
Socio-cultural rigidities regarding the shape and size of a woman’s body have not only created an urgency to refashion themselves according to a range of set standards but also generated an infiltrating sense of body dissatisfaction and poor self-esteem leading to eating disorders. Interestingly, through an adept utilisation of the formal strengths of the medium of comics, many graphic medical anorexia narratives offer insightful elucidations on the question of how the female body is not merely a biological construction, but a biocultural construction too. In this context, by drawing theoretical postulates from Susan Bordo, David Morris and other theoreticians of varying importance, and by close reading Lesley Fairfield’s Tyranny and Katie Green’s Lighter than My Shadow, this article considers anorexia as the bodily manifestation of a cultural malady by analysing how cultural attitudes regarding body can be potential triggers of eating disorders in girls. Furthermore, this article also investigates why comics is the appropriate medium to provide a nuanced representation of the corporeal complications and socio-cultural intricacies of anorexia.
Venkatesan S, Peter AM. Feminine famishment: Graphic medicine and anorexia nervosa. Health. 2020;24(5):518-534. doi:10.1177/1363459318817915
An interview project with native American people: a community-based study to identify actionable steps to reduce health disparities.
Leston J, Crisp C, Lee C, Rink E.
Public Health. 2019 Nov;176:82-91. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2018.12.002. Epub 2019 Feb 12.
PMID: 30765139 Free article.
Click the following link to access the full article: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30765139/
Native American health: traditional healing and culturally competent health care internet resources.
Med Ref Serv Q. 2006 Fall;25(3):67-76. doi: 10.1300/J115v25n03_06.
Click the following link to access the full article: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16893848/
Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors and Health Outcomes Among American Indians in Oklahoma: the THRIVE Study.
Jernigan VBB, Wetherill M, Hearod J, Jacob T, Salvatore AL, Cannady T, Grammar M, Standridge J, Fox J, Spiegel J, Wiley A, Noonan C, Buchwald D.
J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2017 Dec;4(6):1061-1068. doi: 10.1007/s40615-016-0310-4. Epub 2016 Dec 6.
PMID: 27924618 Free PMC article. Clinical Trial.
Click the following link to access the full article: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27924618/
Importance of effective communication during COVID-19 infodemic.
Reddy BV, Gupta A.
J Family Med Prim Care. 2020 Aug 25
Click the following link to access the full article: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33110769/
The COVID-19 vaccine social media infodemic: healthcare providers’ missed dose in addressing misinformation and vaccine hesitancy.
Hernandez RG, Hagen L, Walker K, O’Leary H, Lengacher C.
Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2021 Sep 2
Click the following link to read the full article: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33890838/
A media intervention applying debunking versus non-debunking content to combat vaccine misinformation in elderly in the Netherlands: A digital randomised trial.
Yousuf H, van der Linden S, Bredius L, Ted van Essen GA, Sweep G, Preminger Z, van Gorp E, Scherder E, Narula J, Hofstra L.
EClinicalMedicine. 2021 May 15
Click the following link to read the full article: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34124631/
Racial and Ethnic Disparity in Major Depressive Disorder.
Shao Z, Richie WD, Bailey RK.
J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2016 Dec;3(4):692-705. doi: 10.1007/s40615-015-0188-6. Epub 2015 Dec 16.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most common and disabling psychiatric disorders in the USA. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are extremely important to prevent disability and improve quality of life. Recent studies have demonstrated racial and ethnic disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of MDD. African Americans (AA), Hispanics, and Asian Americans were significantly less likely to receive a depression diagnosis from a health-care provider than were non-Hispanic whites. The underdiagnosis of MDD in minority groups may be due to differences in socioeconomic status (SES), care affordability, cultural beliefs about depression, help-seeking patterns, access to culturally and linguistically appropriate care, patient-physician relationship, clinical presentation of depression, etc. Meanwhile, the likelihood of both having access to and receiving adequate care for depression was significantly low for AA, Hispanics, and Asian Americans, in contrast to whites. Similar disparities also exist in treatment outcomes. Besides the reasons for MDD underdiagnosis, additional contributing factors include access barriers to preferred mode of treatment, cultural concerns about antidepressants and different metabolism of antidepressants, etc. There are many ways to address these disparities and improve MDD care in minority populations, including universal depression screening, public financial incentives to ensure access to care in low-income and minority neighborhoods, quality improvement programs, cultural competency of mental health professionals, collaborative care management, community engagement and planning, and enhanced participation of minorities in clinical research.
Cancer Statistics for Hispanics/Latinos, 2018.
Miller KD, Goding Sauer A, Ortiz AP, Fedewa SA, Pinheiro PS, Tortolero-Luna G, Martinez-Tyson D, Jemal A, Siegel RL.
CA Cancer J Clin. 2018 Nov;68(6):425-445. doi: 10.3322/caac.21494. Epub 2018 Oct 4.
Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics/Latinos, who represent the largest racial/ethnic minority group in the United States, accounting for 17.8% (57.5 million) of the total population in the continental United States and Hawaii in 2016. In addition, more than 3 million Hispanic Americans live in the US territory of Puerto Rico. Every 3 years, the American Cancer Society reports on cancer occurrence, risk factors, and screening for Hispanics in the United States based on data from the National Cancer Institute, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the first time, contemporary incidence and mortality rates for Puerto Rico, which has a 99% Hispanic population, are also presented. An estimated 149,100 new cancer cases and 42,700 cancer deaths will occur among Hispanics in the continental United States and Hawaii in 2018. For all cancers combined, Hispanics have 25% lower incidence and 30% lower mortality compared with non-Hispanic whites, although rates of infection-related cancers, such as liver, are up to twice as high in Hispanics. However, these aggregated data mask substantial heterogeneity within the Hispanic population because of variable cancer risk, as exemplified by the substantial differences in the cancer burden between island Puerto Ricans and other US Hispanics. For example, during 2011 to 2015, prostate cancer incidence rates in Puerto Rico (146.6 per 100,000) were 60% higher than those in other US Hispanics combined (91.6 per 100,000) and 44% higher than those in non-Hispanic whites (101.7 per 100,000). Prostate cancer is also the leading cause of cancer death among men in Puerto Rico, accounting for nearly 1 in 6 cancer deaths during 2011-2015, whereas lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among other US Hispanic men combined. Variations in cancer risk are driven by differences in exposure to cancer-causing infectious agents and behavioral risk factors as well as the prevalence of screening. Strategies for reducing cancer risk in Hispanic populations include targeted, culturally appropriate interventions for increasing the uptake of preventive services and reducing cancer risk factor prevalence, as well as additional funding for Puerto Rico-specific and subgroup-specific cancer research and surveillance.