A medical student from Nigeria took it upon himself to solve a major problem in the healthcare industry—lack of Black representation in textbooks and diagrams.
Chidiebere Sunday Ibe, 25, recently went viral after posting an illustration he created of a Black mother and fetus on social media. The first-year student at Ukraine’s Kyiv Medical University taught himself to draw while on lockdown and has been spreading the message of medical equity and inclusion ever since, Artnet.com reported.
“Textbooks are essential to medical training,” the Ebonyi State native wrote in a video on YouTube. “They walk medical trainees through conditions they will encounter during their practice. The skin is an important organ that protects us and can signal when something is wrong in our body. Yet, most medical illustrations are based on the Caucasian skin. This lack of diversity has important implications for medical trainees and their future patients because many conditions and signs look different based on the patient’s skin color.”
Ibe currently serves as the chief medical illustrator and creative director at the Journal of Global Neurosurgery.
His drawing caught the attention of people worldwide, garnering over 88,000 likes on Instagram since Dec. 2. For many people, coming across his work was the first time they’d seen a medical illustration featuring Black people.
“This image was created like every other image; I never expected it to be viral,” he said. “The whole purpose was to keep talking about what I’m passionate about—equity in healthcare—and also to show the beauty of Black people…I feel great seeing it going viral, I never expected it, and it feels good that the message is out and it will challenge current systems.”