Rising Medical Student Illustrates Anatomy Images Featuring Black Bodies
Chidibere Ibe was moved to tears upon realizing the early impact of his medical illustrations.
Last year, the 25-year-old rising medical student started drawing anatomy images featuring Black bodies in order to combat the lack of diversity he saw in textbooks, an essential tool for medical training.
He wanted to help Black people feel seen, while emphasizing the value of Black skin.
The spread of his work serves as proof that he is reaching his goal.
“I believe that these drawings will help people feel alive again,” said Ibe, an aspiring pediatric surgeon. He lost his mother to cancer when was 11, an event that led him down the path of pediatrics. Ibe wants to help other children avoid pain and suffering.
One of Ibe’s viral illustrations included a Black mother and fetus, and many chimed in with feedback about having never seen such an image. It was also important for Ibe to highlight how some conditions can look on Black skin.
I’ve literally never seen a black foetus illustrated, ever.
— Aliyah✨ (@Liyahsworld_xo) December 2, 2021
He blames the foundation.
“If they drew from conception…conditions on Black skin, I believe by now, it wouldn’t be new to us,” said Ibe, who also noted overall healthcare disparities for Black Americans and how more thoughtful training on the front end can help remedy the issue. “Because we didn’t see that at first, that’s why it’s so new to us, it’s so strange to us.”
You may be wondering how Ibe managed to create a catalog of beautifully detailed medical illustrations in just a year. He has always been an artist but didn’t try this style of drawing until 2020.
His noble work is blending two of his passions. The University of Uyo graduate plans to expand his knowledge of physiology and anatomy during his medical training. He was accepted into Kyviv Medial School in Ukraine, and started a GoFundMe to support his tuition.
More than 175 donors helped him reach his goal of $21,000 for school.
“You hear in a lot of countries that Black Lives Matter. It’s true that Black lives matter,” Ibe said. “It’s amazing to know that a change is already here, and I hope that I change things for a long time.”