Dec. 9, 2021 -- A medical student is drawing widespread support online for featuring Black people in medical illustrations used for textbooks.

Chidiebere Ibe, an aspiring neurosurgeon from Nigeria, said he noticed during medical school that most images in textbooks only show white patients and white skin. He began drawing illustrations of Black people, and representing others became a passion of his.

“People are telling me how much they are wanted and needed,” Ibe told NBC Washington.

Ibe has more than 119,000 followers on Instagram, where he posts the images. One of the most popular recent posts, which shows a pregnant Black woman and her baby in her womb, has more than 88,000 likes. The post has also amassed hundreds of thousands of views and likes on LinkedIn, TikTok, and Twitter.

“I’ve literally never seen a black [fetus] illustrated, ever. This is amazing,” Aliyah, a Twitter user from London, wrote in a post.

Ibe told news outlets this week that he hopes the images will inspire Black medical students and encourage conversations.

“The whole purpose was to keep talking about what I’m passionate about -- equity in health care -- and also to show the beauty of Black people,” he told HuffPost UK.

Across social media this week, people have responded positively, saying that seeing textbooks with Black people would encourage them to go to medical school. Others reached out and asked to include the illustrations in medical settings and educational presentations to show better representation.

“Serious question, how many times have you seen anatomy photos with Black women and Black babies in the womb? At the doctors office, medical books, anywhere?” Black Women’s Health Imperative, a nonprofit focused on the health and wellness of Black women and girls, wrote in a Twitter post sharing Ibe’s work.

“This image is not only beautiful but it’s POWERFUL,” the group wrote. “MORE OF THIS PLEASE.”

 

Show Sources

NBC Washington: “Student’s Medical Illustrations Showing Black People Go Viral.”

Instagram: @ebereillustrate, Nov. 24, 2021.

Twitter: @Liyahsworld_xo, Dec. 2, 2021.

HuffPost UK: “This Picture Of A Black Foetus Went Viral. We Spoke To The Illustrator.”

Twitter: @blkwomenshealth, Dec. 5, 2021.

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