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Amirreza Haghighi, MD, MSc





Brigham and Women's Hospital




Saori Gurung, Kathleen Elaine Daly, Yvonne Chekaluk, Kyeisha Laurence, Phillip Loan, Ashley Chopra, Lili Allen, Emily May, Layla Al-Zubi, Ahona Mukherjee, Suraj Modi, Jocelyn Williams, Elizabeth Chandler Johnson, Krithika Nayudu, Sanjana Sathrasala, Stephanie Mueller, Wolfram Gosseling, Joel Thorp Katz, Richard Maas, Chidiebere Ibe, Alireza Haghighi, Julie Barrett, James Masson, Lyssa Palu-ay, Brooke DiGiovanni Evans, Tony Perez, Amirreza Haghighi*

Principal Investigator

Amirreza Haghighi, MD, MSc


Medical Inclusion and Diversity Art Program (MIDAP), a Partnership Initiative to Enhance Diversity, Representation, and Inclusion


Disparities in healthcare remain a major issue, and the lack of diversity in medical illustrations and images -ubiquitous in clinical practice and medical education – reinforces the gaps in healthcare and health outcomes. The Medical Inclusion and Diversity Art Program (MIDAP) aims to address this through promoting diversity and representation of all kinds in the illustrations and visual artwork used in medical books, scientific literature, training, and patient engagement activities. MIDAP is a partnership between the BWH International Center for Genetic Disease (iCGD) and the MassArt. We have recently started a research pilot study (supported by the BWH Dept. of Medicine) to evaluate the diversity of biological sex and skin tone in a subset of educational and informational materials given or presented to patients and medical trainees in the BWH Departments. We aim to identify any possible underrepresentation of female and nonwhite subjects in these materials. To conduct the work of this proposal, a MIDAP Study Team has been recruited that consists of members of diverse gender and ethnicity and includes medical trainees (students, residents, fellows), art students, and various administrative staff and members of a faculty advisory group from BWH, HMS, and MassArt. Images and illustrations (from collected BWH clinic materials and informational resources) are being inventoried and archived for analysis and future use. We are performing a quantitative research study and use descriptive and inferential statistical methods to analyze our data. We will include all figures depicting human subjects with visible skin and sex in the study. We categorize biological sex based on observable phenotypes, such as primary and secondary sex characteristics, and text within captions when possible. Skin tone will be analyzed with Monk Skin Tone (MST) scale scores with guidance from observable phenotypes. In the next step, we aim to devise potential solutions for possible biases.

Research Context

Medical illustrations and images play a crucial role in healthcare delivery, impacting patients, medical trainees, and healthcare providers, as well as their perceptions about healthcare equality. Unfortunately, not only many medical textbooks, but also medical courses, lecturer handouts, and other educational materials lack visual sex/gender and ethnic diversity. To advance equitable care, images should accurately represent the diverse populations served or engaged. We seek to quantitate and potentially begin to remediate the degree of sex inequity in medical imagery, both clinical and educational, in the BWH departments. A future work product of this plan and our MIDAP program is to build a free, publicly available online medical image and illustration repository. This repository will provide clinicians, educators, researchers, healthcare administrators, and media with access to diverse medical images and photos. By taking this approach, we hope to address biases and promote inclusivity, thereby better serving the needs of all patients.