Conference Illuminates the Art of Medicine

The Annual Conference of the Association of Medical Illustrators draws on advances in science, technology, and medicine to keep attendees up to date on techniques to explain the science of life.

Author: Curt Wagner       

78th Annual Conference of the Association of Medical Illustrators

When: July 24–27, 2024
Where: Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center, Rochester, New York
Expected 2024 Attendees: 400-500

In July 1945, 30 medical illustrators gathered at Chicago’s University of Illinois College of Medicine to sketch out details for the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI), an organization to be devoted to artists who at that time created medical illustrations mostly for publications. A year later in Philadelphia, 40 members from the U.S. and Canada attended the first AMI conference. The group’s first president, Tom Jones, spoke about the impact of photography, motion pictures, and animation on the relatively young field of medical illustration.

Jones could not have pictured how AMI would flourish in the nearly 80 years since that first meeting — there are now more than 800 members on four continents — nor how science and technology would advance to create a renaissance of sorts and transform the nature of artists’ work.

Now, medical illustrators harness the power of computer graphics and imaging, 3D modeling, virtual reality, and other tech to create advanced animations, patient education programs, computerized training simulations, and games that communicate not only to professionals, but also to the general public. At AMI’s conference, speakers, sessions, and workshops prime attendees on current and future trends — AI, in particular, with at least five sessions on that topic in 2024, ranging “from current techniques to ethics to future directions,” Jason Sharpe, a member of the AMI’s conference program committee, told Convene via email.

Drawing Diversity

AMI’s approach to diversity and inclusion also is evolving. This year’s conference will include a presentation from the 10 illustrators of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds chosen for the AMI Diversity Fellowship, which was launched in 2023 through a grant from Johnson & Johnson. The program’s new digital library, at, contains images reflecting diverse patients with a variety of health conditions. Highlighting the Illustrate Change initiative and the AMI Diversity Fellows “amplifies their amazing work,” said Jill Gregory, AMI’s immediate past president and chair of the Diversity Fellowship Advisory Council. In addition, it “recognizes their contributions, facilitates knowledge exchange among attendees, fosters community building and underscores the conference’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

Anatomy of a Show

A conference highlight is the Salon, an exhibition of medical art created by AMI members. AMI receives around 250 entries each year, which can be viewed on site or at AMI’s online gallery.

Curt Wagner is digital editor at Convene. Illustration by Carmen Segovia

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