Exhibition: Common Place, Uncommon Space: Is Healthcare a White Space?

 Apr 25, 2022, 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
 Cafe Logan | Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts

915 E 60th St, Chicago, IL

April 25 – August 19th, 2022
Exhibition Hours Monday through Friday: 8am-9pm; Saturday and Sunday: 12pm-8pm

Common Place, Uncommon Space: Is Healthcare a White Space? grew out of a Gray Center Fellowship between illustrator Julia Kuo and University of Chicago physicians and researchers, Monica E. Peek and Elizabeth L. Tung of the Department of Medicine, for a project that considered how illustration might play a role in examining the barriers that distrust and difference  can form between patients and their doctors.

Although the project began as a broad examination of barriers to medical treatment due to racial differences and distrust, the collaborators on this fellowship were forced to reconsider their approach in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Independent of this project, Dr. Peek became a leading voice in drawing attention to how racial health disparities only deepened at the onset of the pandemic in the United States as the virus disproportionately impacted Black populations in this country. The trio focused their efforts on these concerns, conducting interviews with and drawing portraits of individuals who identify as Black whose life and/or health has been adversely affected by COVID-19.

“White people typically avoid black space,” says Elijah Anderson, a sociologist at Yale. “But Black people are required to navigate the white space as a condition of their existence.” The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated racial health inequities and illuminated the role of structural racism in unprecedented ways. As America has grappled with the ways in which healthcare is experienced differently among Black Americans, we conducted a series of interviews with Black patients and doctors to ask the question: Is healthcare fundamentally a white space?.

This exhibition features the narratives of four Black Chicagoans as they navigated health and healthcare during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The topics at hand—Black maternal mortality, lack of access to prescription drugs, a higher burden of underlying medical conditions, and limited representation in the healthcare workforce—all existed before the pandemic began. But the pandemic exposed and complicated these issues, offering a glimpse into the intangible space between Black and White experiences of healthcare in the United States. Viewers are invited to contemplate, in particular, the juxtaposition between a common threat and uncommon burden.

Julia Kuo, Elizabeth L. Tung, MD, MS and Monica E. Peek, MD, MPH featuring contributions by Adriana Bellet and Adisa Kareem, along with narratives from local residents.

Julia Kuo is the author and illustrator of Let’s Do Everything and Nothing, and the illustrator of numerous picture and specialty books, including the New York Times bestseller RISE. She has created editorial illustrations for the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, and Vox Media. Julia has taught illustration courses at Columbia College Chicago and at her alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis. She was the visual arm of Chicago’s 2017 March for Science and has had the honor of being an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2014 and in 2017. She is a widely published editorial illustrator, with a special interest in visual storytelling and activism on both a local and national scale.

Monica E. Peek, MD, MPH is the Ellen H. Block Professor of Health Justice at the University of Chicago, where she provides clinical care, teaches and does health services research, with a focus on health disparities. Dr. Peek is the Associate Director of the Chicago Center for Diabetes Translation Research, the Executive Medical Director of Community Health Innovation and the Director of Research (and Associate Director) at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. Her research pursues health equity and social justice, with a focus on promoting equitable doctor/patient relationships among racial minorities, integrating the medical and social needs of patients, and addressing healthcare discrimination and structural racism that impact health outcomes (e.g., diabetes, COVID-19). Dr. Peek is a Senior Associate Editor for the journal Health Services Research, a member of the Executive Council for the American Diabetes Association and a recent member of the National Advisory Council (NAC) for the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ). Dr. Peek has been featured in national media outlets such as NPR, PRI/The World, CNN, Democracy Now, CBS, ABC, TIME Magazine, ESSENCE Magazine, the Melissa Harris Perry show, and The Huffington Post.

Elizabeth L. Tung, MD, MS is a junior faculty member in the Department of Medicine and Biological Sciences Division at the University of Chicago. Dr. Tung is a practicing physician and investigator of several research studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Department of Justice (DOJ). As a social epidemiologist, her work examines social risk factors for disease, with an emphasis on community violence, housing and incarceration. Dr. Tung’s research stems from experiences working with community-based organizations in St. Louis, New York City and Chicago, and implements a “neighborhood effects” approach to scientific inquiry. Conceptually, she describes her work as “at the intersection of race, place, and poverty.” Her work has been featured on PRI’s The World, WBEZ’s Morning Shift, and NPR’s All Things Considered.

May 25, 6pm CST, Café Logan  |  Community Event

Common Place, Uncommon Space: Is Healthcare a White Space? is presented by the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry and UChicago Arts. The exhibition is conceived and organized by Julia Kuo, Dr. Monica Peek, Dr. Elizabeth L. Tung in coordination with Zachary Cahill, Juelle Daly, Leigh Fagin, and Mike Schuh..

Please contact logancenter@uchicago.edu with requests for any accommodations.
Image: Julia Kuo, Candace, digital process drawing, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.