Interview with Diabetes Comics Cartoonist

Did you know the DiabetesMine staff were secret artists, painting masterpieces with our lancets within our garage studios by night?

Yeah… April Fool’s! Actually we have got, well… close to zilch artistic ability.

But our new buddy Cathy Leamy in the Boston area is one of those men and women that REALLY has talent, and is utilizing her comic-creating capabilities to raise awareness on important health care topics.

Cathy tells us she’s been doing comics and animations for the majority of her life. She’s actually a fairly big name on that drawing scene as a portion of the comic collective Boston Comics Roundtable, which brings cartoonists and writers in the Boston area together to discuss their work and collaborate to new ideas.

For the large part with her comics, Cathy’s M.O. is to create her images edgy, designed for people raising their eyebrows and speaking.

She certainly accomplished that with the very first diabetes-related comic of hers we ran into: “Diabetes Can Be After Your Dick” (about ED naturally). Yes, that’s exactly what her comic is branded. That means you may want to place your PG-13 goggles before clicking to view if any kiddos are around to find the display.

Cathy created this especially for us PWDs of all genders to indicate the day now:

When she is not cartooning, Cathy functions as a web developer in healthcare IT. We collaborated with her lately to learn just how one gets to the sport of healthcare comic books (?)

DM) You have been in the comic industry for a little while. Did you know you wanted to draw? And where can people see your job?

CL) I’ve been drawing cartoons since I was a small kid, and have lots of memories of doodling comic books which explained things: a comic version of a book report, a comic intro to the World Health Organization back into high school, and so on. Much of my stuff can be found online at my site, MetroKitty, and that’s where my autobiographical/humor minicomic is at.

How’d you get started doing all this healthcare drawing?

Professionally, I’m a web developer and am now working on an electronic medical records program at Massachusetts General Hospital. I’ve been a different cartoonist (on the other side, much less a day job) for the majority of my life, doing interesting little informative animation utilizing comedy and autobio comic books. A few years back, I was inspired by comic-educator Marek Bennett to create GREENBLOODED, a mini-comic about ecofriendly female hygiene. Then in 2011, I attended the 2nd Comics and Medicine Conference in Chicago and it actually lit a spark in me! Ever since that time, I’ve been very active in using comics in healthcare. Editor’s Note: They have a conference for that?! Who knew?

Internet development and health care IT… how would you decide to make your career path?

Strange luck, honestly! I majored in computer science in school because I had a lot of different interests, and personal computer skills can be applied to some of them. I’ve focused on internet development because I enjoy its outreach potential and the immediate gratification (I can alter a web site and boom! The shift is observable *at this time! *). When I was on the search for a new job, one of my relatives who is a nurse suggested assessing the local hospital listings. I never expected to create such a passion for the area.

So this was not what you had always planned on… what else did you are considering?

Actually, I used to be a competitive ballroom dancer! My school had a competition group, and the collegiate circuit was really vibrant in the time (and is, as far as I know). I don’t dance as much as I’d like to these days, but guy, I can’t help but listen to songs and believe things like, That is a great fox trot!

About your comic focused on erectile dysfunction… how would you come up with that as a subject?

I didn’t know about the diabetes/erectile malfunction connection until I randomly read about it on a site article when I was searching the internet for details on gender when sporting insulin pumps! I mentioned it to guy friends of mine and all of us laughed that should you worried this complication to guys, a lot of them would *instantly* begin caring about diabetes and taking care of their health. We shared a laugh, and one friend suggested making a comedy comic about it, so I ran with the idea. Sure, it is very “in your face,” but that’s the point – for people talking and thinking about the subject.

I really presented on this comic in the 2012 Comics and Medicine Conference on a board about patient education. You are able to see the 20-minute talk here (sound with Powerpoint slides, even though they reveal a previous draft of the comic).

You Are drawing more about diabetes these days… would you have some private D-connection?

I don’t have diabetes myself, but I have a number of relatives that are PWDs with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Consequently, diabetes has been on my radar for years — I have a tendency to read up on it a whole lot, talk with friends about it, and try to increase awareness.

Presently, I’m collaborating on webcomics for , the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Education blog. My at this point are more about general wellness and healthcare, and apply to anyone. My latest about exercise and explanations are available here!

What is the feedback been like so far on your own comics?

The response has been really positive! People today get a kick out of their fun style and the sense of comedy. Healthcare providers instantly recognize the capacity for reaching out to patients in a strange way (as well as sufferers of different literacy levels(also). The entire pursuit is still fairly experimental, however. I would really prefer to see more research done to establish good evidence of comics as a useful teaching tool for all ages of patients, adults and kids alike.

My hopes for these healthcare comics are all about sharing and connecting: Learning things and spreading them to wider audiences, taking a message and becoming the conduit that gets it to the right people’s hands, creating information memorable and funny so that it engages people favorably without fostering guilt or shame, and perhaps most of all, helping people feel alone through depictions of characters like them.

We love what you’re doing, Cathy, and that’s no joke!   We will be on the lookout for your comics round the health care world.

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content isn’t medically reviewed and does not stick to Healthline’s editorial guidelines. To learn more about Healthline’s venture with Diabetes Mine, please click here.

Composed by on Dec  11,  2017  

Composed by on Dec  14,  2017  

Written by on Oct    01,  2017  

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