Very graphic

Way back when I was a graduate student teaching Women’s Studies classes to undergraduates, one of my favorite texts to assign was Joni Seager’s Atlas of Women in the World. Seager uses maps and charts to illustrate persistent gender disparities around the globe. Her illustrations always made a big impression on students in a way that a journal article just couldn’t do.

Infographics are a great way of communicating complex information, allowing the viewer to  make comparisons and see details in a way that is, well, more graphic, than using text alone. So I was excited to learn about the Visualizing Health Policy series (see above), produced by the  Journal of American Medicine in partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The New York Times often presents information this way, and it’s one of my favorite features. Whether it’s  mapping happiness or reporting census data,  infographics are fun to look at and invite you to understand familiar information in a different way.   Cigna,  a global health service company, has taken it a step further and recently created an interactive infographic to help people learn more about health care reform and how it impacts their specific situation.

I love seeing data presented this way. This visual approach makes a great teaching tool, but could also add interest to public health education materials, research summaries, newsletters and even journal articles. A good infographic is a wonderful thing.

Have you seen this approach used in innovative ways? Please share!

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