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NLM Launches “Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well Drawn!”

January 9, 2018

Special Display, Traveling Banner Exhibition, and Online Exhibition open January 30, 2018

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well Drawn!, a special display, a traveling banner exhibition made available free of charge to cultural institutions across the country, and an online adaptation available to the world, also on January 30, 2018.

Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well Drawn! explores the meaning of an emerging genre of medical literature that combines the art of comics and personal illness narrative. This approach can reveal the emotional power of these illness narratives and the clinical data they often involve. As a way of understanding illness and health care, these stories can be essential to effective treatment, healing, and understanding. Artist, educator, and New York Times bestselling author Ellen Forney guest curated the exhibition, which acknowledges and celebrates the NLM’s newly-acquired collection of graphic medicine publications.

Public Program on March 1, 2018

Complementing Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well Drawn!, NLM Director Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD will host a “Conversation about Graphic Medicine,” a special public program which will address the place of graphic medicine within medical literature and the landscape of personal health communication in the 21st century. Dr. Brennan will be in conversation with the project’s guest curator, Ms. Forney; Dr. Michael Green, a physician, bioethicist, and professor in the Departments of Humanities and Internal Medicine at Penn State University where he cares for patients, teaches medical students and residents, and conducts research in bioethics, and has co-authored articles and publications about Graphic Medicine; and MK Czerwiec, a nurse, Artist-in-Residence at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine who uses comics to reflect on the complexities of illness and caregiving, a senior fellow at the George Washington School of Nursing Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement, co-manager of and author of Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371. This public program will be held on Thursday, March 1, 2018, from 2:00pm to 3:30pm in the NLM’s Lister Hill Center Auditorium. It is free, open to the public, and will be available to the world via NIH VideoCasting.

The special display will be open to the public from January 30, 2018 to January 3, 2019 in the NLM History of Medicine Division (HMD) Reading Room on the first floor of the National Library of Medicine, Building 38 on the Bethesda, Maryland campus of the National Institutes of Health.

The online adaptation of Graphic Medicine includes an Education component featuring a K-12 lesson plan and a university module.

The traveling banner adaptation of Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well Drawn! will be traveling to 50 sites across the country over the next four years. Please visit the Traveling Exhibition Services website to see the tour itinerary and find this exhibition near you.


Visitor Information

Located on the Bethesda, Maryland, campus of the NIH, the National Library of Medicine is open Monday through Friday (except federal holidays) from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission to all onsite NLM exhibitions is free. For more information, visit: To arrange a group tour, call 301.827.6479.

Drawing of a pen writing on a notebook with the title Cartoonist as Patient
Drawing from Experience:

Cartoonist As Patient

Courtesy U.S. National Library of Medicine

Drawing of a White woman covering her eyes with her hand as she hears on the phone 'there is an abnormality.'
From Cancer Vixen,
Marisa Acocella Marchetto, 2006

Courtesy Marisa Acocella Marchetto and Penguin Random House LLC


The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is a leader in research in biomedical informatics and data science and the world’s largest biomedical library. NLM conducts and supports research in methods for recording, storing, retrieving, preserving, and communicating health information. NLM creates resources and tools that are used billions of times each year by millions of people to access and analyze molecular biology, biotechnology, toxicology, environmental health, and health services information. Additional information is available at

Last Reviewed: January 9, 2018