What is it about?

This fotocomic is based on interviews with Dr. Diana Gutiérrez about her path to becoming a doctor. Born to Colombian parents in NYC, she came of age during the 1980s. She attended medical school in Cuba--but not before becoming a patient herself.

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Why is it important?

"Life Beats of Dr. Diana" is part of a larger fotonovela project comprising episodic stories about the Latinx experience in the U.S. Once marginalized as low-brow, campy, sometimes subversive, the fotonovela has re-emerged as a health and social educational tool throughout the Global South. In an era of pandemic, this storytelling genre is apt for straightforward, insightful narratives from the world of medicine. Dr. Diana Gutiérrez's experience, for one, speaks to the importance of empathy and mentorship in medical education. Having experienced education and healthcare in both the U.S. and Cuba, Dr. Gutiérrez believes that lack of communication is a great contributor to illness. “Building the doctor-patient relationship,” she says, “is a burning candle in the way I want to practice.”


In 2015, I traveled to Cuba through MEDICC, a non-profit working to enhance cooperation among U.S., Cuban, and global health communities. The trip offered a glimpse into the evolution of healthcare and medical education in Cuba. A highlight was Dr. Diana Gutiérrez, who was among the students I met at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM). She was in her last year of medical school at the time, later to graduate with 23 other U.S. students. In 2016, we reconnected in Brooklyn, N.Y. for a series of interviews about her path to becoming a doctor. She was as generous with her story as she is with the young women she mentors.

Nelly Rosario
Williams College

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Life Beats of Dr Diana G., as Told to Nelly Rosario, Studies in Comics, July 2020, Intellect,
DOI: 10.1386/jem_00023_7.
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