Ben Schwartz

Ben Schwartz is CartoonDoc

courtesy New Yorker
courtesy New Yorker

Like the superheroes in the comic books he collected, Benjamin Schwartz (CC’ 03, P&S ’08) grew up feeling he had two identities.

He looked up to his father, a Columbia cardiologist who was passionate about his job. Schwartz considered medicine his default career, but his secret passion was cartooning. He doodled incessantly, filling sketchbook after sketchbook with drawings.

Growing up in Scarsdale, it never occurred to him that he could combine two such disparate careers. “How on earth do you become a cartoonist?” he said. “I knew people actually did this for a living, but it didn’t seem real.”

After earning a degree in psychology at Columbia College, he was admitted to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, where his father, Dr. Allan Schwartz, is the Seymour Milstein and Harold Ames Hatch Professor of Clinical Medicine and chief of the cardiology division.


At every step of the way, though, “it became more and more clear that this wasn’t the path that I wanted to be on,” he said. “I found myself having the same conversation over and over, `I just don’t know if this is really for me.’”

Then, in his senior year of medical school, Schwartz enrolled in a month-long elective in Narrative Medicine, a program at the intersection of medicine and the humanities that he credits with changing his life.

Today, the younger Dr. Schwartz is a cartoonist for The New Yorker, a lecturer in the University’s narrative medicine program and social media content producer for the medical school’s Department of Surgery. He is also developing a comic-based curriculum for Columbia’s Department of Ophthalmology.

200 more cartoons in this film:

…and he lives from it integrating Cartoons in Medical Learning at Columbia College.

He draws “daily cartoons” for New Yorker, see THIS ONE!

Read more in this wonderful article about his career.


New Yorker

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