Introduction to #AMIdiversity

AMIdiversity news

To our community,

    We created #AMIdiversity to highlight and promote diversity awareness in the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI). The future of our industry depends on our collective efforts to become a more inclusive and dynamic community that is reflective in the makeup of our membership and our work as public health educators. For those who attempt to delve into the world of medical illustration, they quickly realize that they are embarking on a specialized career that demands an exhaustive cross discipline of art and science. In North America, the educational standards of this field are largely influenced by only a handful of accredited graduate programs. 

    Unfortunately, the past history of our field reveals a prevalent demographic that is largely similar to that of many other long revered institutions of medicine and science: largely male and largely white. As a result, a stark majority of the most circulated illustrations that are actively used by medical schools and healthcare professionals to this day include depictions of mostly white, male, able-bodied figures. The rigorous academic and financial commitments, as well as the limited size of these medical illustration programs, enable only a small, often privileged group of students to be accepted each year.  

    This situation has resulted in a dearth of students from underrepresented backgrounds, resulting in significant frustrations among our members who have experienced cultural and sexual identity bias and feel that our association has not done enough to confront these issues. The AMI is also facing a growing chorus of members who feel that their educational credentials are not respected in the same regard as those offered from our accredited institutions. Our failure to address these concerns has affected our ability to grow and retain our membership as we struggle to prove ourselves worthy of their contributions and trust.

    These complicated issues surrounding diversity and inclusion in the AMI are not unique, but a microcosm of the deep social and racial inequities that have long plagued our healthcare system in the US. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented itself as a tragic symptom of our failure to provide equal quality of care to underprivileged minorities. Lagging COVID-19 vaccine rates exist among blacks and latinos, which many attribute to lack of access and a deep mistrust of an institution that has historically ignored and disregarded their value to society. 

    Improving health literacy among these communities is a vital factor in tackling these barriers— this is where our profession should be on the forefront to lead. In order to accomplish this goal, we first need to confront our own history and systemic biases. With this inaugural campaign, we want to spotlight the efforts of those who are working to improve diversity in their own unique ways.  Most importantly, we need your help.  We want to start a conversation and identify what bold, concrete actions are needed for us to grow and foster a more vibrant, dynamic, and accepting culture throughout the AMI. We envision an AMI that celebrates everyone.

Join us as we continue to build a more inclusive and supportive community for all medical artists.


The AMI Diversity Committee