As we approach the conclusion of this vibrant summer season, it presents an opportune moment to reflect upon the noteworthy endeavors undertaken by our company. We’ve had some important conferences, meaningful projects, and exciting new initiatives happening during this time.

Connecting Minds at the Association of Medical Illustrators Conference in Henderson, NV

We kicked off the summer with a mix of learning and teamwork, diving into the annual Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) conference in lively Henderson, NV. It was a great chance for us to connect with fellow medical illustrators, experts in the field, and other innovators. Against the stunning backdrop of Nevada’s desert, we dove into discussions, workshops, and talks that shed light on the latest trends in medical illustration. With ideas exchanged and knowledge gained, we left the conference with fresh energy and a newfound drive to keep pushing the boundaries of creativity and progress.

Hiking to Lake Las Vegas Overlook. Photo by © Marcelo Oliver

Body Scientific attendees include Marcelo Oliver, Carol Hrejsa, and Monica Wierzbicki. Marcelo spent a lot of time networking, as he usually is the talkative one. His role in the AMI Board of Governors has him expanding his professional and social circle while sharing ideas and making introductions. Marcelo’s favorite part of the conference was the keynote presentation, Visual Thinking by Dr. Temple Grandin as well as the medical tattoo artist presentation by Marie Sena, “A Tattooer’s Journey – From Medical Illustration to Medical Tattooing.”

Carol’s highlight of the conference was the Mary Roach lecture, “Putting the Obscure and Fascinating Stories of Science Under a Spotlight.” Carol is a huge Mary Roach fan and has multiple of her books and brought Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal to the book signing. “I’m eager to share these stickers featuring my illustrations with you,” Carol mentioned during her meet and greet. “These are beautiful!” Mary told her.

Signed book by Mary Roach. Photo by © Carolina Hrejsa

Monica’s favorite part of the conference was the presentation by Andrew Cawrse. He had an interesting method of measuring anatomy, “the magic measurement” and he was able to demonstrate it on a live model, who also happened to be a Las Vegas acrobatics performer.

Andrew Cawrse demonstrating the Magic Measurement. Photo by © Ronald Pettit

Almost nobody spent time outdoors as the heat index in Henderson, NV in late July was close to 114 degrees. Well except for a few BOG members and colleagues that left early in the morning to beat the heat for a local hike at Lake Las Vegas.

Early morning hike. Photo by @ Marcelo Oliver.
Excessive Heat Warning for Henderson, NV. Photo by © Marcelo Oliver

Also during this event, one of our accomplished BSI team members, Carol Hrejsa, led an enlightening workshop on Actions and Scripting in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Carol’s passionate endorsement of actions within the company finally found its stage, as she passionately spread her expertise to fellow illustrators.

Techniques Showcase "Action Scripting in Action!" by Carolina Hrejsa. Photo by © Carolina Hrejsa

Additionally, we proudly submitted two salon pieces, each conveying powerful social impact statements. We are delighted to announce that our Africa Health Chart Series was awarded the esteemed Social Impact award, a testament to our unwavering dedication to increase diversity in our images. This series, which aims to address the underrepresentation of African figures in widely distributed anatomy charts, was initially unveiled at the Africa Health medical conference held in South Africa during late 2022.

Salon piece for African Health Chart Series by Body Scientific with Social Impact Award. Photo by © Carolina Hrejsa

Furthermore, we are excited to share that the diverse charts from our series have been introduced in a trial display within the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) hospital system. This step is designed to solicit feedback from both patients and healthcare professionals. The early response has been incredibly encouraging, affirming that the visual transformation in representation is resonating deeply and making a meaningful impact. Our social impact statement encapsulates our mission: to challenge the norm established by predominantly Caucasian-centered anatomy charts and to empower a visual transition that showcases African figures more prominently. Our dual objective is to foster a stronger connection between viewers and these visuals, sparking a resounding acknowledgment that these charts truly encapsulate individual identities.

Monica and Carol during the Salon Opening standing next the BSI entry for Africa Health Chart Series. Photo by © Carolina Hrejsa

At the conference, we eagerly embraced the opportunity to delve into pertinent topics, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) emerging as a central point of discussion this year. Beyond the informative sessions, we cherished the chance to reunite with old friends and past members of the BSI team, forging connections that bridge the past, present, and future. As the summer chapter draws to a close, the memories, lessons, and connections forged during these events serve as a vibrant tapestry, driving us forward with renewed passion and purpose.

Marching Toward Health Equity at the National Medical Association Annual Conference in New Orleans

Our journey continued as we found ourselves in the heart of New Orleans for the National Medical Association (NMA) Annual Conference. This year’s theme, “Accelerating the March Toward Health Equity,” resonated deeply with our commitment to inclusivity and representation. The plenary and educational sessions brought to light crucial conversations about racial, social, and environmental justice in healthcare. We were both challenged and inspired by the discussions that emphasized the need for health equity. Taking center stage were our newly updated anatomical charts that featured figures from diverse backgrounds. As our charts unveiled a more inclusive representation of humanity, they sparked conversations that will undoubtedly contribute to the ongoing dialogue about equitable healthcare for all.

Lik Kwong and Marcelo Oliver representing the BSI booth at the NMA annual conference. Photo by © Marcelo Oliver

What do medical illustrators do when they have downtime while traveling? Find some sort of anatomical obscura to visit! Lik and Marcelo visited the New Orleans Historical Pharmacy Museum. We are open to commissions if any pharma company would like a pamphlet or chart for their Viburnum Compound, known for healing “the ailments of women.” Although we like to joke about snake oils of the past, the main ingredient is viburnum opulus (European cranberry bush) so it does not seem to be too far fetched, knowing cranberry is believed to help prevent UTIs.

A Homecoming: Marcelo’s Return and Team Unity

Amidst our proficient collaboration as a remote team, the value of convening in person for a team meeting is a distinct pleasure. While our collective efficiency remains unwavering in the realm of virtual collaboration, coming together offers an unparalleled opportunity to foster deeper connections. Beyond the strategic discussions, sharing vacation memories and upcoming summer plans in person nurtures a sense of camaraderie. Embracing the vibrant ambiance of the Midwest’s summer patio season adds an extra layer of enjoyment to our interactions. A notable facet of these gatherings is Marcelo’s penchant for carrying novel model mockups and prototypes, seeking real-time feedback from the team. This tactile engagement not only enriches our feedback process but also underscores the significance of in-person interactions in an increasingly digital landscape.

Local BSI team meeting for lunch. Photo by © Carolina Hrejsa

Welcoming New Perspectives: UIC Biomedical Visualization Interns

Change and growth are constants in our journey, and this summer was no exception. We opened our doors to three talented interns who recently graduated from the UIC Biomedical Visualization program. Their fresh perspectives injected new life into our endeavors, infusing our work with youthful enthusiasm. Their presence highlighted the cyclical nature of learning and mentoring, reminding us that each generation contributes to the evolution of our field. Challenging our mentors to stay vigilant, aiding us in refining our focus and defining our objectives.

Team Production Meeting, half in person, half online. Photo by © Carolina Hrejsa

Let’s look ahead with excitement to the opportunities that fall will bring. Our journey of exploration, creation, and meaningful contributions to the expanding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in healthcare initiative continues. As we conclude our summer projects, a new chapter unveils itself—a phase of internal content development previously put on hold. Simultaneously, we embark on the task of archiving completed projects, allowing us to reclaim valuable momentum for the exciting array of projects awaiting us in the horizon.