Art of Medicine
Mar 2020

Justice is the Best Medicine. And, Yes, You Can Call Us by Our Pronouns

Ryan Brewster
AMA J Ethics. 2020;22(3):E253-254. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2020.253.


One recent essay suggests that emphasis on social justice in medical education is done at the expense of clinicians’ technical competency. This response to that stance is a digitally illustrated series that contextualizes patient health as both physiological and determined by social, economic, and cultural conditions.

Figure. Detail from Justice Is the Best Medicine. And, Yes, You Can Call Us by Our Pronouns


(Click here to view the entire illustrated series.)


The illustrations were rendered digitally in Adobe Photoshop and Procreate.



A recently published opinion in the Wall Street Journal1 claims that recent emphasis on social justice in health professions education has come at the expense of developing clinicians’ technical competencies. This digitally illustrated series is based on my experiences as a medical student and seeks to convey that justice is inseparable from good health policy and solid health care practice. The series represents how patients’ health and well-being is contextualized in light of physiological, social, economic, and cultural conditions. These visuals and accompanying text offer a perspective in the ongoing conversation among clinicians, educators, and trainees to define the next generation of health care.


  1. Goldfarb S. Take two aspirin and call me by my pronouns. Wall Street Journal. September 12, 2019. Accessed January 10, 2020.


AMA J Ethics. 2020;22(3):E253-254.



Conflict of Interest Disclosure

The author(s) had no conflict of interest to disclose.

The viewpoints expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.