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Graphic Medicine

Definitions, examples, and resources about Graphic Medicine

About This Guide

This is a guide to understand Graphic Medicine, where to find graphic novels and comics, as well as how to read comics.

The homepage provides definitions and the benefits of reading and creating Graphic Medicine

Use the navigation tabs to learn more about how to find Graphic Medicine titles,  how to read a comic, titles available online and at USC Libraries, find other works and organizations realted to Graphic Medicine, and people to follow on social media.

Overview of Graphic Medicine

What is Graphic Medicine?

The most basic definition of "Graphic Medicine" is "use of comics in medical education and patient care", according the the term's originator Dr. Ian Williams (n.d.). More specifically, Graphic Medicine is a term that "denote[s] the role that comics can play in the study and delivery of healthcare" (Williams, n.d.). It is important to note that in the term's usage "graphic" suggests visual imagery rather than explicit content. Additionally, this term can be broadly applied to works created by patients or healthcare providers.

Why Read or Create Graphic Medicine?

Graphic Medicine for Patients, Caregivers, and the Public

  • reduces stigma around illness
  • create safe space to express criticism of healthcare
  • allows for health literacy and illustrated informed consent
  • helps build community and a sense of connection

Graphic Medicine for Health Professionals

  • fosters empathy for the patient and caregiver perspective
  • create a safe space to express criticism of healthcare
  • provides a means of effective patient out reach and communication
  • allows health professionals space for reflection and meaning-making
  • provides a way to relieve stress

What Makes Comics, as a Medium, Unique?


  • combine narrative with art
  • are approachable
  • provide emotional connection and impact
  • can express an alternate viewpoint 

(Houk & Pomoutius, 2020)

Read more about graphic novels and "How to read a comic" here


Houk, K., & Pomoutius, A. (2020). Drawn to graphic medicine: Bringing comics into medical librarianship [Webinar]. Medical Library Association. 

Williams, I. (n.d.). Why graphic medicine?. Retrieved from

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NIH Acknowledgement

Some developed resources reported in this LibGuide are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM013725 with University of Washington. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.