Art of Medicine
Jan 2019

Sofia’s Story: The Sad Reality Behind a Humanitarian Crisis

Rohail Kumar, MD
AMA J Ethics. 2019;21(1):E111-112. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2019.111.


This graphic narrative is a storybook drawn on sketch paper with graphite and charcoal pencils and scanned into Microsoft Word. Sofia represents children of undocumented families currently living in the United States who are being denied fundamental human rights including health care, education, shelter, and food.


Figure. Sofia’s Story: The Sad Reality Behind a Humanitarian Crisis



Graphite and charcoal pencils on paper, scanned into Microsoft Word.


Sofia’s story is told in this storybook based on numerous clinical encounters over the last 4 years of the artist’s residency training in New Orleans, Louisiana. The artist has worked closely with undocumented children, providing medical and psychiatric primary care. Sofia is a composite fictional character representing these children and their families. Illustrations elicit the viewer’s consideration of human rights violations and injustices experienced by these immigrants.

Editor's Note

This is the co-winning artwork of the 2018 John Conley Art of Medicine Contest. 


AMA J Ethics. 2019;21(1):E111-112.



Conflict of Interest Disclosure

The author(s) had no conflicts 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.