Black fetus viral illustration sparks vital debate on diversity in medicine

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A drawing of a black fetus in the womb has gone viral on social media, sparking many conversations about racial diversity in medicine and in particular, medical imaging.

The illustration, drawn by Chidiebere Sunday Ibe, a 25-year-old medical student, struck a chord with people who point out that this is the first time they have seen such an image.

The image was shared by @Liyahsworld_xo on Twitter in a post that read, “I’ve literally never seen a black fetus pictured, ever. It’s amazing @ebereillustrate.

The tweet now has over 46,000 retweets and over 330,000 likes since it was shared on Saturday, many praising the student’s work and noting the need for diversity in the medical field.

One Twitter user wrote: “When you’re so used to not being represented you gasp when you are. I have never seen a black person in a medical illustration. I have never seen a book featuring a black mother and fetus. Thanks @ebereillustrate.

Another also shared her thoughts, saying, “Thanks for this @ebereillustrate. Being pregnant, I became aware of the lack of representation of black pregnancies on applications and many social media pages. It’s sad it’s the first time I see an illustration of a black fetus. Representation matters.

For Ibe, an aspiring neurosurgeon, his medical drawings are a way to show people what certain conditions look like in black people.

In his own original tweet sharing his illustration, he wrote: “I’m black and black is beautiful! Diversity in medical illustration This should be encouraged more!

He also shared a link to his GoFundMe page where people can donate to help fund Ibe’s medical illustrations and support his dream of becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon.

Talk to The HuffPost UK, he said, “This image was created like all the other images, I didn’t expect it to be viral. The goal was to continue to talk about what excites me – equity in health care – and also to show the beauty of black people.

“I feel good to see him go viral, I wasn’t expecting it and it’s good that the message gets out and calls into question the current systems.”

The medical student also mentions how much we need not only more images like this to showcase diversity in medicine, but also more people willing to create them.

“We don’t just need more performances like this, we need more people willing to create such a representation, that would help make those images more accepted,” he says.

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