Advancing Anatomy at Saint Mary's College of California

April 2, 2024

Anatomist Greg Smith has been at the forefront of innovation in the classroom. As a Biology Professor at Saint Mary's College of California and a recipient of the R. Benton Adkins, Jr. Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Clinical Anatomists (AACA), Greg brings excellence to anatomical instruction. BodyViz has been fortunate to collaborate with Greg, with him presenting BodyViz at the 10th Annual Academic Technology Expo as well as during Homecoming at Saint Mary's, where he has been a part of the faculty since 1981. 

Smith's work with 3D anatomy visualizations began with A.D.A.M. (Animated Dissection of Anatomy for Medicine) software. He's now carried this knowledge into his courses using BodyViz. In his Advanced Undergraduate Anatomy Course, BodyViz has become the cornerstone of his pedagogical approach, revolutionizing how anatomy is taught at Saint Mary's. BodyViz's 3D capabilities bring anatomical structures to life, offering students an immersive experience that transcends traditional learning methods. His classes break the constraints of traditional dissection and 2D representations, embracing the dynamic potential of BodyViz. The platform enables students to explore intricate anatomical details, dissect virtually, and gain a comprehensive understanding of the human body. BodyViz has also worked in conjunction with traditional cadavers at Saint Mary's, where commitment to hands-on learning aligns with BodyViz's capabilities, creating a relationship that enhances the educational journey.

Greg demoing BodyViz at the 10th annual Academic Technology Expo

Saint Mary's undergraduate anatomy courses offer a learning environment unlike any other thanks to Greg's dedication to real world learning, he says "I have a former student who's a radiologist. He strives to free up his work schedule so that he can join the lab as often as possible. He works with the students and we go over [BodyViz] files and demonstrate things to the students and it's just a really rich visual environment."

The impact of BodyViz on anatomy classes is profound. Students, guided by Greg's expertise, delve into the complexities of the human body with unparalleled depth. 3D visualization allows for a greater understanding of anatomical structures, fostering spatial awareness crucial for medical professionals. Engaging with BodyViz generates classroom discussions, enabling professors to seamlessly integrate technological advancements with traditional learning methods. BodyViz's versatility facilitates the exploration of anatomical anomalies, giving students a unique perspective that transcends textbooks and traditional dissection methods.

"The way that I present these [BodyViz] files, it just integrates with what they're doing and so instead of them taking off a half hour and looking at files or manipulating that, I will bring up a [BodyViz] file and then I'll leave the controller there and if they want to go back and manipulate it a little bit more see how it might relate to if it's the cadaver where we saw a particular condition then they can do that."

"BodyViz allows the students to really see an object as though it's in front of them, 

no matter how they manipulate it."

The balance between cadaver use and 3D virtual dissection marks a paradigm shift in anatomy education and assists in making Saint Mary's advanced anatomy course one of a kind. The collaboration between expertise and technology insures a student's success. Greg's journey with BodyViz has become emblematic of a broader movement in anatomy education. The seamless integration of technology not only enhances comprehension but also paves the way for a new era in how educators approach the complexities of human anatomy. 

In this continued collaboration, the future of anatomy education unfolds—a future where immersive technology converges with educational expertise to create a holistic and dynamic learning experience. The BodyViz team thanks Greg for his time and for his contributions to advancing 3D anatomy visualizations. 


For more information on Saint Mary's College of California and Professor Greg Smith, please visit these links.


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