Using Drawing as an Active Engagement Tool to Empower Learners and Promote Teaching of Health Topics


Abstract Particular barriers to health care and the lack of proper health education causes many community members of Lagos, Nigeria to suffer from diseases because they do not know how to prevent their development, contraction and/or spread. Hypertension is one such disease that may remain undetected until it is too late, since many community members cannot correctly define blood pressure, its causes, and the impact certain values have upon health. By educating the community of Lagos of the importance of taking their blood pressure and interpreting values correctly, members are encouraged to seek proper help to make the disease's management more successful.


At the basis of understanding hypertension is knowing the anatomy, which can be learned most effectively using an active engagement method, like drawing. The target audience is two fold: Community Health Educators (CHEs), who are volunteers trained through Northwestern's current Access to Health initiative, and low-literacy community members who lack access to health care/ information and are educated by the CHEs. Active engagement can help improve learning and retention of information by the CHEs and similar audiences who intend to teach others.


Through an active engagement such as drawing, the CHEs can be educated and empowered to teach low-literacy community members health topics. Drawing can be applied in all settings and has been found to increase knowledge gain, retention, and problem-solving skills. Viewing and following the process of drawing is beneficial in understanding how structures are related and how they function.5 Providing a partially drawn base image to complete also aids learning by reducing cognitive load and increasing accuracy of the final image. By incorporating a warm-up exercise and simple drawing steps in a video, CHEs and similar populations can learn how to draw health concepts and become empowered to educate lower-literacy community members using drawing at any place and time of need.

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This Vesalius Trust research poster was presented at the 2019 Association of Medical Illustrators' Annual Meeting held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.




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