Research News

Lab-to-Table Conversation: ‘Picturing Progress: Representation in Scientific Art’ is Feb. 20

Medical illustrations are intended to help train health care personnel to recognize illnesses and conditions, but a recent study found that only 4.5 percent of images in medical textbooks show dark skin. This lack of education on how illnesses present on darker skin types contributes to misdiagnoses or disregard of dermatological symptoms in non-white patients—a serious problem for patients of color.

In celebrating Black History Month’s theme, “African Americans in the Arts,” the next installment of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Basic Sciences’ Lab-to-Table Conversations will work to connect the science of medical illustrations with real-life health consequences.

Join Antentor Hinton Jr., assistant professor of molecular physiology and biophysics, and an expert panel to explore this issue in a virtual event at 11 a.m. CT on Tuesday, Feb. 20. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

About the panelists

  • Angela Byars-Winston: associate director of the Collaborative Center for Health Equity, professor in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Medicine, director of research and evaluation in the UW Center for Women’s Health Research and faculty leader in the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research
  • Chidiebere Ibe: Forbes featured medical illustrator, founder of Championing Change Africa, contributor to Illustrate Change, author of Beyond Skin: Why Representation Matters in Medicine, TEDx speaker, lead medical illustrator of the International Center for Genetic Disease at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • Chrystal Starbird: assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, recipient of the 2022 Distinguished Service Award in DEI from Yale University, recipient of the 2022 Juneteenth Best Peer to Peer Mentor Postdoctoral Award from Vanderbilt University, recipient of the 2021 Rising Black Scientist Award from Cell Press
  • Ni-ka Ford: founder of Enlight Visuals, Board Certified medical illustrator, recipient of the AMI Diversity Fellowship of Illustrate Change, 2021-2023 Chair of the Diversity Committee of the Association of Medical Illustrators, member and Fellow of the Association of Medical Illustrators.

These panelists will address the following questions: What is the current state of representation in health care images? How do biases affect other areas of biomedical research, education and medicine? How has the lack of representation in medical illustrations harmed the mental and emotional well-being of people of color who are seeking medical information or treatment?