Article Image

A Soldier’s Invisible Conflict: An Illustration

Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.

This is part of the Medical Humanities Series on Op-Med, which showcases creative work by our members.

An Interview with the Artist

What was your inspiration? Did other creative works, if any, influence your creation of this piece?

This piece was created to illustrate the multiple medical conditions that may be associated with the toxic exposures soldiers experience and to bring awareness to their ongoing fight. Many of our veterans who have served in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan were exposed to toxic substances, chemical/hazardous materials, burn pits, and tactical herbicides. 

Each ribbon represents a condition we are treating: 

  • Black (suicide awareness) 
  • Burgundy/Red (multiple myeloma) related to Agent Orange 
  • Orange (leukemia) 
  • Yellow (sarcoma/bone cancer) 
  • White (lung cancer) 
  • Green (lymphoma) 
  • Purple (leiomyosarcoma) 

The list continues to grow but fortunately the PACT Act, which is a newer law expanding VA health care, is helping to address this.

How long have you been creating art? What got you started?

Over the last few years I have found myself using art, music, and writing as a channel for expressing emotion and empathy. I believe medicine and creativity are both sacred arts that overlap in similar ways.

Why did you choose editorial artwork? What interests you about it?

I love the simplicity and impact of editorial art. A provocative image needs no description.

How does this illustration relate to your medical practice?

Every day we are learning more about the effects of toxic exposure, especially to veterans. As a PA in hematology/oncology, I am on the front-line and involved in the direct care and conditions that have contributed to their disease.

Dina is a physician assistant in primary care in the community and more recently has been working as a PA-C in hematology/oncology at the VA in Miami Florida. She has master’s degree of science and a bachelor’s in fine arts

If you or someone close to you is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or text HELLO to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

All opinions published on Op-Med are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of Doximity or its editors. Op-Med is a safe space for free expression and diverse perspectives. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email

More from Op-Med