Ryoko Hamaguchi, M.D.

  • Plastic Surgery Resident + Medical Illustrator
  • Boston, MA

A resident in the Harvard Combined Plastic Surgery Residency, Ryoko Hamaguchi has cultivated a love for the visual arts since childhood, primarily producing works in watercolor and ink as well as digital illustration.
She began to explore the intersection of art and medicine during her undergraduate career at Stanford University, where she pursued an honors distinction in the interdisciplinary arts through a collection of pieces situated around the themes of the human body and illness. Graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School, she currently works toward a combined career in plastic and reconstructive surgery, art and medical education, she strives to harness her work toward the humanization of illness, creative depiction of anatomy and physiology, and the innovation of visual solutions to enhance the delivery of multidisciplinary reconstructive care. She has published illustrations in a variety of journals including the AMA Journal of Ethics (as one of 9 core staff illustrators), Circulation, Nature Nanotechnology, JAMA Surgery and Cell Stem Cell. She has spoken about her work at local and national platforms, including the 2017 Hippocrates Symposium on Poetry and Medicine and the 2019 National Arts in Health Organization Conference.

Major clients/collaborators include faculty, residents and principal investigators affiliated with: Stanford School of Medicine (Vascular Medicine, Stanford, CA), Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA), Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston, MA), Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston, MA), Cedars-Sinai (Los Angeles, CA).


Student Illustrator at Harvard Combined Plastic Surgery Residency Program

Dec 2019 – Present

Collaborating with Harvard Plastic Surgery Residents and faculty in the creation of fully-illustrated book aimed to communicate key principles of plastic surgery to medical students and young trainees.

Staff Illustrator at AMA Journal of Ethics

Aug 2019 – Present

Creating cover and article illustrations to enhance the visual content of the journal, with core mission of provoking thoughtful engagement with complex bioethical issues while promoting diversity and inclusion in all images.

Pro Bono Illustrator at Clinical Problem Solvers (CPSers) Podcast

July 2019 – Present

Leading illustrator team in design of visual schemas to supplement case-based audio content and visual learning of complex pathophysiological concepts by residents and medical students. Now teaching clinical thinking framework by co-facilitating virtual interactive case discussions during COVID-19 (involving over 50 medical students each week) with real-time illustrations of critical concepts.

Student Illustrator at OPENPediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital

July 2019 – June 2020

Inspired by own visual learning as a clinical student, created the hospital’s first online library of illustrated learning aids on key pediatric pathologies, now being launched as a key resource for the Core Pediatrics Clerkship at BCH.


M.D., magna cum laude at Harvard Medical School

August 2016 – May 2021 Boston, MA

Magna Cum Laude

Visiting Research Student at Center for iPS Cell Research and Application

Sep 2015 – July 2016 Kyoto, Japan

B.S.H. in Biology, Honors in the Interdisciplinary Arts at Stanford University

Sep 2011 – Jun 2015 Stanford, CA


Inductee, Aesculapian Club of Harvard Medical School, Harvard Medical School

Recognized for leadership in enriching the HMS community and student life through the medical humanities.

Special Merit, “Figurative” Art Exhibition, LightSpaceTime


6th Place in Painting, “Figurative” Art Exhibition, LightSpaceTime


Honorable Mention, Conley Art of Medicine, AMA Journal of Ethics


Hippocrates Symposium on Poetry and Medicine

Harvard Medical School Boston, MA

Exhibit, oral presentation (“Visualizing and Verbalizing Illness: a Window into the Full Patient Experience”), plenary discussion panelist

2016 Drug Discovery Conference

Stanford Cardiovascular Institute Stanford, CA

Case Presentation

Stanford University Stanford, CA

Honors in the Interdisciplinary Arts capstone presentation

Explorations Showcase

TEDxStanford 2014 Stanford, CA

National Organization for Art and Health Annual Conference

Hynes Convention Center Boston, MA

Oral presentation (“The Human Portrait: An Application of the Visual Arts in Medicine”)