Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain (MAA)

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Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain 

The Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain (MAA) was formed on 2nd April 1949. Four departments two in London, one in Manchester and one in Edinburgh took students or trainee/assistants during the 1940s and 1950s and by 1962 the MAA had started its own postgraduate programme to train graduate artists. In 1989 students were able to register at a medical school within London University to take a university diploma course and in the same year the Medical Artists’ Association received the patronage of the Worshipful Company of Barbers. In 1990 the Association became a company limited by guarantee. In 1996 the Charlotte Holt Bequest was received by the Association for the purpose of training medical artists, which lead to The Medical Artists’ Education Trust being set up as a charitable organisation.

It was founded in 1949 in order to gain recognition for the profession for medical artists and to provide a place where selected artists could be trained as medical artists and become trusted employees in a professional environment.

The course today is carried out by tutors who progress artists both in artistic skills as well as human anatomy study. The course has a syllabus where a student will produce a portfolio of work and have to pass a series of examinations and produce a thesis and on successful completion be awarded a professional qualification. The course can take between 2 to 5 years as it is a part time course to be carried out as self study with monthly seminars held at the either The Royal College of Surgeons’, London, or Guy’s Campus, London. Here students can access the pathology collections plus their skeletal collections for drawing and teaching.

The Medical Artists’ Education Trust

To study to become a qualified medical artist in the UK can be achieved through various relevant courses. There are a few relevant courses in the UK to study medical illustration and one such postgraduate training programme is completed through Medical Artists’ Education Trust or MAET.

Once an artist has passed the course to become a qualified medical artist and they start to work professionally, it is necessary that they join the appropriate relevant governing bodies. This involves paying a nominal subscription fee and in doing so they become members. It shows both commitment to the profession and the desire to maintain the necessary standards. Memberships also brings about its own advantages and opportunities, please read below.

  1. Once qualified, an artist can automatically apply to become a member of The Medical Artists’ Association of GB (MAA). This affords the artists the use of post-nominal letters or designatory letters placed after their name of MMAA (Member of The Medical Artists’ Association).
  2. Once qualified an artist can automatically apply to become a member of the Committee for the Accreditation of Medical Illustration Practitioners (CAMIP). CAMIP is a separate governing body whose aim is to protect the public by accepting only those medical illustrators who meet high standards for their training, professional skills and behaviour. They carry out Continuing Professional Development or CPD audits and members are expected to keep portfolios and professional activities documented ready for inspection.
  3. Once accepted by CAMIP the artist receives Registered Medical Illustration Practitioner (RMIP) status. This affords the artists the use of post-nominal letters or designatory letters placed after their name of RMIP (Registered Medical Illustration Practitioner).
  4. By becoming members of these relevant governing bodies means that medical artists are shown to have met the necessary professional standards having received the training required to work as a medical artist within the medical and health industries.
  5. As a member it gives potential clients the confidence in competency and training as it shows that the artist has gone through the necessary training. Especially key when working within the medical profession.
  6. By belonging to a professional body affords that artist the opportunities to mix with peers, to be up to date with latest technologies within medical art and to continue to maintain high standards through attending yearly conferences and regular workshops.