Preparing the Health Care Professionals of Tomorrow Today with Virtual Dissection Software at ESU
December 13, 2021
There is an increase in students enrolling in health-related programs around the world. The Association of American Medical Colleges data showed that the number of medical students grew from 2019 to 2021, with their applications for the class of 2025 skyrocketing! More students are interested in healthcare professions and science, which is creating a challenge for institutions. A critical aspect of training the scientists and healthcare professionals of tomorrow is ensuring they have the necessary educational resources now. As enrollment grows, these resources are becoming more competitive, leading many institutions to expand their programs and facilities.
East Stroudsburg University
East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU) recently implemented real 3D Anatomy. Jennifer L. White, an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at ESU, helped make this possible. Jennifer utilized BodyViz in her Human Anatomy and Physiology I course this fall, with plans to incorporate BodyViz 3D Anatomy software in more of her courses in the future. Jennifer’s research and teaching focuses on mammalian functional anatomy, while additionally advising Biology undergraduate students pursuing physician assistant studies. In previous positions at other institutions and as a doctoral student at SUNY Stony Brook, Jennifer taught Human Gross Anatomy with cadaver dissection for many years. Jennifer currently teaches courses in Human Anatomy & Physiology, Histology, Embryology, and General Biology with plans to eventually incorporate real 3D anatomy solutions with BodyViz into most of her courses.
A few years ago, the aging computers in the Human Anatomy & Physiology lab at ESU began to fail. Updating computer equipment provided an excellent opportunity to seek funding to purchase new anatomical software. Jennifer began to look for solutions that would incorporate 3D imagery, allow virtual dissection, emphasize natural human variation and integration of body systems, and enhance student engagement and interaction. Jennifer states “BodyViz satisfies all of these criteria, with the added bonus of being accessible on student devices outside of the laboratory.” BodyViz was installed into ESU’s lab in January of 2020, but the pandemic hit before BodyViz could be incorporated into any courses; this fall 2021, Jennifer was finally able to implement BodyViz 3D anatomy dissection and online learning portal in her courses.
Implementing Virtual Dissection
The implementation of using innovative technology and interactive learning to better prepare students to become great clinicians has been successful at ESU. With the lab computers loaded with BodyViz 3D anatomy software, ESU has incorporated 3D virtual dissection into their traditional learning environment. “In the weekly lab periods, students access relevant datasets on desktop computers as a supplement to studying bones, plastic models, and dissected non-human specimens. I also regularly load Review and Assessment modules into my D2L site for the course so that students can review outside of the lab. When time permits in the lab, lab groups form teams and try to earn the highest score on the Assessment activities,” Jennifer explains about how she uses BodyViz in her Human Anatomy and Physiology course.
Instructors are able to present in front of the classroom in 3D using a projector, while students can dive into our library of over 1,000 interactive 3D visualizations rendered from real patient data. “Having access to an available library of BodyViz studies is extremely helpful, and each one reveals multiple integrated aspects of anatomy,” says Jennifer who also appreciates how accessible the Interactive Anatomy modules are outside of the lab and on other devices for students, because they have limited time in the laboratory. “When working with datasets in the lab, I especially like the flexibility of the clipping planes to highlight how sections appear in different regions of the body and from different perspectives. It is also very instructive to switch tissue modes so that students can appreciate how both hard and soft tissues make up an anatomical region,” according to Jennifer. Students with access to BodyViz's virtual anatomy software are better prepared for their post-academic careers as our solutions use the same medical imaging technology that they will encounter upon graduation.
BodyViz has a library of 1,000s of real anatomy datasets, converted from real patient MRI/CT scans. We asked Jennifer what her favorite BodyViz files are to use in her course and she said the Dental and Abdominal Scans. She explained how, "[The dental scan] gives students an appreciation for the intricacy of the skull, the variation in bone density, the location of spaces in 3D, orientations of alveolar tooth sockets, and the position of the hyoid bone.” The Abdominal scan also helps students better understand the complex 3D relationships that plastic models and images cannot. Jennifer says, “The abdominal scan gives students a 3D view of the complete pelvis both internally and externally, in relation to the kidneys and branches of the aorta, which is impossible to visualize as clearly in a skeleton or diagram.”
The BodyViz team is proud to be a part of the incredible advancements ESU has made in anatomy education. “There is a big 'wow' factor when students first experience BodyViz, especially when they realize that they are viewing scans derived from real human data that include pathologies and clinical information," explains Jennifer. By providing unlimited access to anatomical resources, undergraduate and graduate students are able to explore and virtually dissect real human anatomy in great detail, prior to setting foot in the traditional anatomy lab. We are excited to see how the students at ESU interact with the BodyViz software and how our virtual anatomy dissection software will advance the ESU programs as a whole.
To learn more about BodyViz’s 3D virtual anatomy and dissection solutions, schedule a demo at a time that works best for you.
For more information about East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania and Jennifer White, please visit these links.
More Students are Entering Medical School - AAMC, Stacy Weiner
Jennifer White - Associate Professor of Biology at ESU