Milo Applejohn

Milo Ira Applejohn (He/They) is a professional illustrator and graphic novelist based in Lhukw'lhukw'ayten (Burnaby Mountain). A speaker and an active member of the comic arts community, he supports and advocates for health, disability and transgender representation in the arts. Milo Ira shared his experiences in the UBC Certificate in Biomedical Visualization and Communication program with us.

An Opportunity Not to be Missed

“I had been considering transitioning into a science career and was studying for an associates credential in biology when I discovered the UBC Certificate in Biomedical Visualization and Communication. I thought, why not both art and science? It felt like an opportunity I didn’t want to miss.

Biomedical illustrations and information have to be accurate, but accuracy seems to come at the cost of connection and entertainment. With my background in pop culture, I wondered how I could support that connection.”

No Boxes and No Boundaries

“What’s exciting about this program is that the instructors don’t place students in a box. They care so much for the students, and see each one of us as individuals.

They don’t set boundaries on what students can and cannot do. I wasn’t prepared for how much attention they pay to each student. They really strive to ensure every student is recognized and supported.”

Inviting Expression, Busting Barriers

“It’s so important to bring empathy into the biomedical field. Empathy warms up and changes communications. It’s an opportunity to bust down barriers between art and science, and invite different expressions and different perspectives.

The courses provide space to have conversations about empathy, along with ethics, philosophy, law and social justice. The latter was one of the big things that attracted me to the program.”

Bringing Joy into Medicine

“The teamwork in the program has been incredible and amazing. We did a group project with St. Paul’s Hospital for the cystic fibrosis unit. As a team, we felt we could bring joy to the project. There is space and a role for everyone.”

Paying it Forward, Supporting His Communities

“I’m going to continue working as an illustrator while developing a biomedical portfolio that I’ll be sharing with my audiences.

The way instructor Dr. Claudia Krebs supports other human beings is amazing. I really want to pay that forward by supporting the neurodiverse and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities in advocating for their health. I want to empower neurodiverse people so they can communicate with their healthcare professionals, and plan to use my skills to continue advocating for trans rights.”

Learn more about the UBC Certificate in Biomedical Visualization and Communication, a program that combines scientific knowledge and critical thinking, creative approaches to design, and teamwork and communication. Complete the program ready to contribute confidently and creatively to biomedical communications projects.