Call for Papers 2014 (closed)

A colored ink drawing of a heart with a face on its aorta. The heart is pink and read and is shouting at the silhouette of a doctor with a stethoscope that is colored blue. The doctor is listening to the apex of the heart through a stethoscope. The words that the heart is shouting appear over the doctor’s face: “Call for Papers!” The middle of the image says " Comics & Medicine:  From Private Lives to Public Health, June 26th to 28th, 2014 at the Johns Hopkins Medical Campus, Baltimore, Maryland.” There is then a two panel excerpt from Ellen Forney’s graphic novel, “Marbles.” Panel one: Psychologist: “Medications wouldn’t necessarily make you not creative---“ Ellen, looking upset sitting on chair: “Maybe, Maybe not, right?” Psychologist, calm, sitting in chair: “Well...” Ellen: “Why should I take the risk?!” Panel two: Psychologist, calm, sitting in chair: “Well, there’s the high suicide rate, + increased chance of hospitalization, + a probability of an increasing number of episodes that are increasingly difficult to treat.” Ellen, looks sheepish, sitting on chair with scribbles over head. The bottom of the image says: Keynote Speakers:  Ellen Forney, Arthur W. Frank, James Sturm & Carol Tilley.

The Call for Papers is officially closed. We are thrilled to have received an unprecedented number of fantastic proposals on an incredible range of topics. Thank you to those who took the time to create and submit an abstract.

Additional information on the conference is available on the conference home page.

Download the call for papers here.


The theme of this year’s conference, From Private Lives to Public Health, aims to highlight the relationship between comics, personal health narratives, and public health issues such as barriers to healthcare and the stigma of illness. We invite the submission of a wide variety of abstracts focusing on medicine and comics in any form (e.g. graphic novels, comic strips, manga, web comics) including:

  • the relationship between comics, personal health narratives, and public health issues
  • comics in practitioner research and as a method of reflection
  • the use of comics in medical education and illustration
  • the role of graphic pathographies in depicting illness and disability from the perspective of patients and caregivers
  • the application of communication theories to comics in patient communication and public health campaigns
  • comics as a means of representing the role of healthcare professionals and communicating medicine and the health sciences to the public
  • the role of comics in provider/patient communication
  • ethical implications of creating comics for patients and the general public
  • trends in, and history of, the use of comics in healthcare and public health initiatives
  • the interface of graphic medicine and popular culture


Lightning talks: 5-minute presentations with up to 15 slides. This new format is meant to encourage submission of short presentations to share your work (e.g. comics, new research projects, new ideas) in a concise format.
Oral presentations: 15- to 20-minute presentations.
Panel discussions: 90-minute interviews or presentations by a panel of speakers
Workshops: 90-minute sessions intended to be “hands-on” interactive workshops for participants who wish to obtain particular skills with regard to comics and medicine. Suggested subjects for workshops are:

  • creating comics
  • understanding, reviewing and critiquing comics
  • getting comics published
  • teaching and learning with comics

Submission Process

Proposals may be in Word, PDF, or RTF formats with the following information in this order:

  • author(s)
  • affiliation
  • email address
  • title of abstract
  • body of abstract
  • sample images or weblinks to work being discussed

Please identify your presentation preference:

  • lightning talk
  • oral presentation
  • panel discussion
  • workshop
Please also specify what equipment might be needed (e.g. AV projection, whiteboard, easel, etc.)
300-word proposals should be submitted online by Friday, February 14th, 2014 to:
Abstracts will be peer-reviewed by an interdisciplinary selection committee. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be completed by Tuesday, March 25th, 2014. While we cannot guarantee that presenters will receive their first choice of presentation format, we will attempt to honor preferences, and we will acknowledge the receipt of all proposals. Please note: Presenters are responsible for session expenses (e.g. handouts) and personal expenses (travel, hotel, and registration fees). All presenters must register for the conference.


Excerpts © 2012 Ellen Forney, from her graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me

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