This past October, I was part of a team of cartoonists who joined the volunteer force at the 2017 Seattle/King County Clinic to share the stories of the patients who seek the free medical, dental, and vision care at this giant pop-up clinic. We talked to patients as they waited–endlessly waited–for care to learn what drives them to the Clinic and what challenges they face in accessing healthcare every day. This was the first Seattle/King County Clinic held since the momentous 2016 election, so we also wanted to know how these patients feel about the future of healthcare in the current political environment. The comics also highlighted the efforts of the thousands of volunteers who make the Clinic possible.
You can find out more about how the role of this Clinic by reading Eroyn Franklin’s comic strip for the national comics publication The Nib. And this month, the National Library of Medicine includes the comic book and original artwork from our first volume of stories from the Seattle/King County Clinic in a new exhibition, “Graphic Medicine: Ill-conceived and well drawn!” curated by Seattle cartoonist Ellen Forney. Look for a travel version of the this exhibit to come to Seattle later this year!
And now for the comics:
Thank you to Public Health – Seattle & King County, Seattle Center, and the Seattle Center Foundation for supporting this comics journalism project. And thank you to all the people who shared their stories and the amazing artists who volunteered their talent and many hours!
Originally posted on January 18, 2018.
10 thoughts on “Sketches from Outside the Margins: Stories from the Seattle/King County Clinic”
Great work. It would be interesting to do a similar project with a syringe exchange program. You might consider releasing the comics a few at a time.
Thanks, Chris! Comics journalism on needle exchange would be amazing. If you are interested in seeing the individual comics released one at a time, check out @comics4healthcoverage on Facebook.
Wow! I am really impressed by the work of this talented team of cartoonists. The illustrations are an excellent educational tool about the services that were provided and the clientele that were served. I had no idea that we have so many gifted, creative artists in our midst. Thank you for sharing your observations in such an innovative fashion.
Paul Kunkel, RN, MN
Public Health Nurse / Enfermero de Salud Pública
Columbia City Center for Health
4400 37th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118
Public Health – Always Working for a Safer and Healthier Washington
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Thanks, Paul! I’m the only one who works for Public Health, but Seattle is incredibly rich in talented, independent comics artists. Several on this team are award-winning graphic novelists and cartoonists. This issue resonated deeply with this group as artists often have difficulty getting affordable health insurance and healthcare.
Thank you to all the artists and the people who shared their stories!
I have volunteered at the free clinic for the past three years. These graphic stories capture such a deep slice of the humanity on full display at the clinic. I, too, have wished that our elected representatives who want to gut the ACA could experience spending the day with people who are bearing the brunt of their indifference. Thank you for this wonderful compilation!
Thanks, Roxi! We are especially eager to find ways to get these comics in front of decision makers. And thanks for volunteering each year!
This is wonderful. Thank you.
This idea is brilliant as are the cartoons! You may have recruited another volunteer for next year!
Wonderful! Registration will probably start in June for the Clinic, which will be Oct 18-21, 2018: http://seattlecenter.org/volunteers/.
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