WHO I AM: Lydia Gregg
WHAT I DO: I’m an instructor and medical illustrator in the Division of Interventional Neuroradiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. I teach medical illustration as part of a full time joint appointment in the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine.
My work in radiology involves illustrating, animating and writing about the neurovascular conditions treated in the division for medical publications, device patents and websites. In addition, I create patient communication material such as brochures, medical comics and educational videos. My full profile for the Division of Interventional Neuroradiology can be viewed here.
I also write and draw comics and run ProAtlantal Studio with my husband, Fabian de Kok-Mercado.
MY CONNECTION TO GRAPHIC MEDICINE: I’ve been creating and publishing comics that involve scientific and medical concepts for over a decade. First as shorts published in graphic anthologies, and now as part of my job as a medical illustrator. Phoebe Gloeckner, who I fortuitously met while attending the University of MI, introduced me to the Graphic Medicine group after she presented at the 2011 meeting in Chicago, IL. I’m now lead organizer of the 2014 Comics and Medicine conference.
HOW I USE GRAPHIC MEDICINE IN MY WORK: Our interventional neuroradiologists treat and manage many rare and under-diagnosed cerebrovascular conditions. Some of these conditions, such as intraocular retinoblastoma and spinal vascular malformations, can be more easily explained with imagery and a storyline that are relevant to the patient’s experiences and concerns. I’m interested in how comics can help patients by altering their perceptions of various conditions like these these.
PROJECTS I’M WORKING ON RIGHT NOW: I’m currently working on a project to develop a graphic narrative for patients with spinal vascular malformations, an under-diagnosed condition that can lead to permanent loss of spinal cord function if left untreated. My team is working alongside patient consultants to create the most beneficial material possible.
My current medical illustration projects involve the study of anatomical variations of the ophthalmic artery and spinal vascular anatomy as it relates to spinal cord stroke.