Each patient has a unique experience as they navigate the challenges of illness.

To tell those personal stories of illness and health, graphic medicine uses comic books and graphic novels. It is a way to explain illness to patients and also help patients heal through the creation of art.

The University Libraries’ exhibit Stories Not Symptoms: An Exhibition of Graphic Medicine, located on the fourth floor of Newman Library, highlights the combination of the bright and whimsical nature of comic books with the medical jargon of disease and illness to tell the health stories of individuals. Through the abstract art, comics add approachability and emotion to the stories and clinical data. The exhibit features work by multiple graphic medicine artists and an interactive opportunity for visitors to create their own graphic medicine.

Whit Taylor, graphic medicine artist and author

On April 3, 2019, from 5:30 - 7 p.m. in Newman Library’s Multipurpose Room, graphic medicine artist and author Whit Taylor will speak about her position as an artist and public health practitioner in this conversation about graphic medicine.  

National Public Health Week, during the first week in April, is an ideal time to raise awareness of using graphic medicine to tell medical narratives. Public libraries are becoming hubs for health literacy, and here at the University Libraries, we hope to launch some of our health literacy programming with our graphic medicine exhibit and guest speaker event,” said Erin M. Smith, head of research engagement at the University Libraries.

Taylor is a New Jersey-born cartoonist, author, and editor who studied cultural anthropology at Brown University and received her master's in public health in social and behavioral sciences from Boston University School of Public Health. Her comics have been published in The Nib, The New Yorker, and Illustrated PEN. She has become an active speaker about the intersection of public health and comics, and she recently gave the keynote address at the 2018 Comics & Medicine Conference. Her presentation is sponsored by the Moss Arts Center’s Women and Minority Artists and Scholars Lecture Series.

“The University Libraries is the natural choice for folks to explore how people are using comics and graphic novels to navigate serious health issues, and we are happy to have writer Whit Taylor join us in celebrating the opening of our Stories Not Symptoms exhibit,” said Smith.

The exhibit will be on display until Saturday, Aug. 4, 2019.