Professional Development Grant Report 2023-2024: Graphic Medicine and More

I am grateful for the financial support from NCNMLG in the form of the professional development grant for 2023-2024. The monies helped cover the expense of my Provisional AHIP application and my participation of several virtual education sessions of my choosing that have helped augment and expand my Health Sciences Librarianship knowledge and skills throughout the past year. The content touched upon several topic areas with the greatest emphasis on support/services for systematic and other reviews, the Health Humanities and some web-design principles for LibGuides and beyond.  

The areas around which I have the greatest persistent engagement these days are diversity/equity/inclusion values and principles, the discipline of Health Humanities and community engaged teaching or service learning. These three areas consistently intertwine to inform my priorities and pedagogical and lived positions.

A standout event I found particularly enlightening and of high relevance to my research interests was the annual Graphic Medicine Conference – Toronto 2023. I participated online and found the session program consistently compelling and engaging. While I do wish there were some hybrid or virtual workshops, I found the online sessions useful and beneficial. The session called “Weaving our Worldview Using Graphic Medicine: Panel Discussion on the Generational Experiences of First Nation Health Research” from Justice Seidel, Greg Spence, Rachel Corston, Jane Zhao, Sahr Wali was particularly illuminating. Their team used the structure of a sharing circle in Moosonee, Ontario during May of 2022 to engage with the local community to identify opportunities to better access heart health care in ways that are culturally safe. They used story and graphic medicine to carry out this work. The panel provided both description and emphasis on the unique values and potentials possible when leveraging graphic medicine to support a broad range of age and ethnicity positions to highlight care solutions that are accessible, safe, inclusive, creative and useful.

This event is organized by the Graphic Medicine International Collective and their next conference will be in Ireland. I intend to join virtually again for this subsequent program, but hope to attend an in-person iteration in the near future. I recommend anyone interested in the use of comics in health take a look at their website where you can find useful resources like a syllabus repository, read their blog, see past and future conference information, and find opportunities to get involved.  

Next time you see this grant opportunity announced, consider taking a little time to apply!

I am delighted I made the effort to pursue this award and feel quite lucky to have received the support and opportunity to participate in these sessions. Thanks again, NCNMLG!

— Submitted by Lara Katrina Schott