guest post by Elvira Carrizal-Dukes, Ph.D., M.F.A. and Ronnie Dukes, A.A.S.
We are an author-illustrator wife-husband BIPOC team. Elvira Carrizal-Dukes (a.k.a. “Dr. E.C.-Dukes) is Xicana whose DNA represents a mestiza identity. E.C. earned a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition and an M.F.A. in Film from Columbia University. E.C. and Ronnie married in NYC in 2006. Ronnie is Black whose DNA includes Indigenous Mexico & Puerto Rico. He is from Chicago, IL, and earned an associate of applied sciences degree in computer animation. He was a painter exhibiting in Harlem, NYC, before forming DUKEScomics LLC with his wife E.C.. Both are first gen college grads. DUKEScomics is an international small press and studio based in New Mexico. In addition to creating their own graphic novels, DUKEScomics writes and illustrates comics for researchers, educators, and healthcare professionals. The comics are used for medical education and patient care on topics such as caregiving for patients with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, Latina brain health, HPV vaccine awareness, and Trauma Informed Care.
Our involvement in creating graphic medicine assists healthcare professionals and researchers in medical education and patient care and demonstrates our ability to bridge the gap between art and medicine. We’ve presented this work at two international official Graphic Medicine conferences in 2023 and 2021. Through our collaborations with health professionals, we’ve been able to produce comics about brain health, stress reduction for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s, HPV vaccine awareness, and Trauma-Informed Care.
We wrote comics on these health topics that target the El Paso, Texas, audience in the borderland, an over 80% Hispanic and majority Spanish-speaking transnational community. We collaborated with nursing professors and researchers at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and the University of Texas El Paso College of Nursing and wrote two graphic medicine comic books called “Latina Brain Health” and “Caring for Caregivers” of patients with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Both comics are available for free to the public in English and Spanish. The comics are also used during community workshops that focus on strategies for strengthening brain health and reducing stress for caregivers. As a result, our work contributes to the field of healthcare and brain health. It also directly impacts the borderland region where this work was created. Communities with marginalized populations such as El Paso, Texas, are especially impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Members of diverse communities are more likely to endure poverty and have less access to quality health care; as a result, they are more likely to develop risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other dementia such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. For these reasons, developing health literacy resources for diverse populations that address cultural, linguistic, and geopolitical factors is important to us. E.C. has been an educator for over twenty years in various community organizations, nonprofits, and at colleges and universities.
Currently, both E.C. and Ronnie serve as teaching artists at the El Paso Museum of Art Museum Art School, where we co-lead comics story and art workshops. We’re committed to education and community engagement. Because of our diverse academic background, we have an interdisciplinary approach to creative and academic research projects. We’re able to seamlessly blend visual arts, literature, storytelling, academia, and research. This approach allows DUKEScomics to produce impactful stories that positively influence the communities we live in. As BIPOC, we’re committed to highlighting underrepresented voices in our work, especially women of color and BIPOC communities, aligning with the goals of many organizations focused on healthcare, diversity, and inclusivity. We have a strong desire and enthusiasm to collaborate with scientists, doctors, researchers, and educators on graphic medicine projects.
To learn more, visit https://www.dukescomics.com/graphic-medicine