Medical Educational Comic Features the Best Kind of Diversity


The Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Foundation has a scientific article about a subject that, as they acknowledge, can be embarrassing to discuss in polite society:


Doctors often deal with medical conditions that might be somewhat embarrassing or just difficult for patients to understand. Inflammatory bowel disease, a serious and debilitating condition that, as the name implies, affects the intestines and everything that comes out of them, is one of those ailments.

Medical providers who treat and investigate IBD have to find ways to explain their patients’ situation during medical appointments that may last less than 30 minutes—all while the patient and their caregivers might be overcome with emotion or concern. Too often what the doctors tell them is lost or only partially retained.

Dr. David Suskind, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Seattle Children’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, realized that the caregivers of the children he treats can read pamphlets or educational books about the disease, but he didn’t have anything specific for the kids that explained their condition.

Suskind also understood that having better-informed patients and families would lead to better treatment results.

“One of the things that we do know in medicine is that when patients are educated, when they know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, there is a much higher compliance, much better quality of life and expectations,” Suskind said. “Education equals better outcomes— a hundred percent.”

This realization led Suskind to create the “Professor Nimbal Comic” for children and their caregivers. The comic explains the concepts of the disease in a fun and simple way, so the patients would understand what IBD is and what it does to a person’s gut. It would also tell the children that they could be treated, and that the vast majority would get better.

Sounds like an impressive idea. And this educational comic, unlike a lot of the politicized stuff coming out of the mainstream now, is aimed at what constitutes real diversity in audiences:


Suskind said the comic was first translated into Spanish locally because of the large percentage of Latino children who are treated at the hospital. He then teamed up with gastroenterologists from around the world to help translate into eight other languages, which would help to provide care for patients from diverse backgrounds.

The comic so far has been translated into Portuguese, Hebrew, Urdu, Hungarian, Romanian, Dutch, French and Arabic.

Suskind said he has received a good response from both the children and their parents.

“It was really made with the kids in mind and trying to help with the educational process, but the parents seem to really enjoy it. They actually come back with not only really nice positive feedback but also with more questions,” Suskind said.


See, this is the real meaning of diversity – different nationalities and languages, along with countries where this can be marketed. Most publishers today specializing in superhero fare are only interested in skin color and LGBT ideology (and the only religion they consider valid is Islam), not ethnicity/nationality, and they don’t even respect any foreign nation’s most positive cultural aspects. The path the doctor who conceived these medical graphic novels is taking a much better route by developing a medical story that can be translated for other countries’ populations to understand.


Originally published here.

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1