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Graphic Communications | Health Communication | Information Literacy | Medical Education | Medical Humanities | Public Health Education and Promotion


Background: Graphic medicine is defined as the “interaction between the medium of comics and the discourse of healthcare”. We seek to understand the ways in which comics are currently being employed in healthcare settings and what effects, if any, these practices have on physician, patient, and their experiences and health outcomes.

Methods: Our scoping review is following the six-stage methodology laid out by Arksey and O’Malley (2005) in order to map the field – an appropriate methodology, as graphic medicine is a relatively new field that thus far lacks clear boundaries. We built, tested, and conducted searches in six databases: (1) PubMed, (2) CINAHL, (3) SCOPUS, (4) ERIC, (5) Web of Science (Core), and (6) Google Scholar.

Preliminary Findings: Search results netted 5,097 unique citations, which highlights a clear problem with current indexing of comics in medical databases, as at least 80% of the citations were in fact NOT comics at all. In-depth screening and analysis of relevant results is ongoing.

Potential Impact: Graphic medicine shows potential as a tool in medical and patient education and may help bridge the health literacy gap.

Next Steps: Our next steps include synthesis of relevant studies and ongoing hand-searching for results outside of typical scholarly publications.

Questions for the MTL Community: How might you make use of comics in your practice and/or praxis?


graphic medicine, comics, healthcare

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Copyright 2017 The Author(s).

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Gold Foundation Mapping the Landscape, Journeying Together: 2017 Symposium

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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