Visualize Health Equity – Antea Demarsilis

Earlier this year, the National Academy of Medicine called on artists from across the nation to illustrate what health equity looks, sounds, and feels like to them. They received over 100 submissions, including paintings, drawings, poetry, photos, videos, spoken word, and more. We are thrilled that two UConn medical students were selected for inclusion in their permanent online gallery. Health equity is a priority of CICATS, and as such we will be highlighting these students on our blog.

Today we are sharing a submission from Antea Demarsilis, M.D. Candidate, Class of 2020.

“To me, health equity means the arrival to a moment in which systems, of health, education, justice, and utility, have been designed with and for the communities they are meant to serve such that the communities’ individual members are empowered to occupy themselves with their hopes, dreams, curiosities, and pursuit of self-actualization rather than with their systemically inflicted worries, ailments, sentences, and pursuit of basic survival. As a medical student, it is my responsibility to see the possibility for health equity in my community and pursue it daily with urgency, creativity, and dedication.

This mixed-media piece depicts my very first patient. From the left, he is washed over by watercolor bleeding into and across itself in the colors of bruises, vomit, pus, and blood. I work with this patient when he was experiencing homelessness in the city I lived in. He had survived a gunshot wound to the head at nine years old. Previously incarcerated, he had survived brutality at the hands of those meant to protect him that left him without the ability of his legs. He faced barriers to employment, housing, transportation, and medical care that occupied his time and energy every day. He was an artist, a poet, a singer and a father. On the right is my vision for health equity. This patient now holds empty pages to write on as he explores his passion for poetry. His body is a vessel guiding him into to the vivid color and texture of life, rather than a boat receiving the crashing waves of health disparity. By pursuing health equity, the bodies of my community will no longer be occupied with trying to keep up in systems not designed for their success. They will instead be empowered to live, work, learn and play in their community.”

For more information about the Visualize Health Equity art project, click here.