AU medical illustrators receive awards of excellence

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 6:44 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We all know the image. It’s the first drawing of what we now know as the COVID-19 virus. And it was created by an Augusta University grad. The school’s medical illustration grad program is one of just three in the entire country. We spoke with one student getting awards for her work.

Clara Oh is a first-year grad student and is following in the footsteps of her parents who are both medical illustrators.

“Having that experience in being able to create actual medical artwork, medical animations for an audience was a very valuable experience and found that I loved it and thought this is a career for me,” she said.

She is one of three students to receive an award from the Association of Medical Illustrators, an exhibit that showcases work created internationally. She illustrated a gallbladder surgery that won an award of excellence.

“I was really surprised. There’s a lot of really amazing talent coming from all the programs, and I mostly submitted to participate and get my work out there so it’s really an honor to get an award of excellence,” she said.

An illustration that took around three weeks to create and submit. She is among many other students who have received similar awards throughout the years.

“It’s that external validation by our peers, our international peers, that what we’re teaching our students is what they need to know and that they are doing it and performing it in a high level, an outstanding level,” said Bill Andrews, professor and chair of the medical illustration grad program.

Andrews says the job opportunities for these students are wide-ranging and important when it comes to helping others. He says the goal is to make these students great visual storytellers.

“To take complex medical science and translate it in a way that’s easy to understand. That audience could be a patient, a patient’s family, it could be a medical student, a practicing surgeon,” he said.

All of these awards coming out of AU’s medical illustration grad program are from the best of the best. The program only excepts 18 students on a yearly basis and Oh is one of them.

“I love having all this work to do and it’s really an opportunity with each project it brings a challenge and I feel like I learn so much with each project,” she said.

She says when she graduates, she wants to work in an animation studio for medical illustration.

This program’s been offered at AU for more than 70 years making it the oldest graduate program at the university.

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