Mayo Clinic is a team of teams — many teams. So many that it's impossible to know what each of them does. This column asks teams throughout Mayo how they contribute to patient care and support colleagues throughout the organization.
When Joanna King is asked what drew her to medical illustration, she has no trouble answering the question.
"For me, it was a love of both science and art," says King, a creative director in the Division of Biomedical and Scientific Visualization. "I was fascinated by the beauty of electron micrographic structures in my microbiology, immunology, histology and plant biology textbooks."
That fascination is shared by her colleagues, the medical illustrators and animators who create visuals that help explain complex anatomy, pathology, surgery, procedures and medical concepts.
"I'm so grateful to be part of such an outstanding team of fun, creative and inspiring people," King says. "Our team is one of the oldest and largest institutional studios of medical illustrators and animators in the country. Mayo Clinic is exceptional in knowing the value of having a team of professional artists in-house."
The News Center team asked King and one of her colleagues, Wes Price, senior director of biomedical and scientific visualization, to answer questions about their jobs and team.
We are medical illustrators, medical animators and support staff that comprise the Division of Biomedical and Scientific Visualization, which is within Immersive & Experiential Learning under the Education shield. We come from a lengthy line of Mayo medical illustrators — the first (Eleanora Fry) was hired by the Mayo brothers in 1907.
We develop illustrations, animation, 3D models and interactive visuals that solve biomedical communication challenges. Collaboration with our professional artists empowers educators, researchers, physicians and surgeons to clearly convey medical information in a manner that is tailored for a specific audience, ranging from patients to specialized medical and research experts.
(You can see more examples of the team's work in this short video.)
Medical illustrators and animators work on several projects at a time in a close partnership with a physician or other collaborator. At any given time, an artist may be researching a cellular membrane biochemical pathway, sketching the steps of a novel vascular stenting procedure, observing neurosurgery, storyboarding an animation of atrial fibrillation ablation, building a 3D model of a pediatric brain with meninges using actual 3D scan data, or digitally painting shingles on five different skin types using a pen on a specialized pressure sensitive monitor.
You might be surprised by the balance of medical/scientific knowledge and creativity/critical thinking that we bring to each project. We research the information ourselves and use data to inform our decisions. Understanding the content is essential to visualizing it precisely and effectively. We are more than just talented hands!
Medical illustration and animation offer readily accessible health information that not only educates but also acknowledges the humanity and the varying characteristics of patients. If diverse and inclusive, these visuals can provide an instant connection for patients, allowing them to see themselves and absorb essential medical details. Our work also helps educate medical students, residents, fellows, practitioners and specialists through academic curricula and medical publications.
A self-driven person who is passionate about continued learning and excelling at their skills. They leave their ego at the door, are service-minded and embrace collaboration. They hold a master's degree in medical illustration (or equivalent experience) with a portfolio that highlights their ability to draw and animate anatomy, pathology, surgery, procedures and concepts with the highest level of accuracy and precision. An aptitude for representing diversity and inclusivity in their artwork is essential. Sophisticated artistic skill, creativity and critical thinking set them apart as a "visual problem solver" — the ideal partner for staff seeking to bring their knowledge and ideas to life.
An animation on senescent cells that our team created was featured on The Today Show!
Digital Destiny Virtual Jug Band. Or if we were a California country band: The Deserted Skulls. And if we were a punk/ska band: The Tortuous Vessels. (We'd like to see that Battle of the Bands.)
Force quit but never, ever surrender! Seriously though: Customized visuals that solve communication problems.
Tags: Staff Stories