by Jennifer Kowalewski
While students enjoyed winter
break, faculty and staff at OU-COM revamped the gross anatomy
lab in Grosvenor Hall 139A, bringing the facility into the
digital age with high-quality plasma televisions and pixel-fine
video cameras. The improvement amounted to a quantum leap of the
lab’s technological infrastructure.
“It’s quite an upgrade from
what we had,” says Lawrence Witmer, Ph.D., professor of
anatomy. “In some ways, anatomy is the most ancient of the
sciences. We wanted to bring our students’ laboratory learning
experience of anatomy into the 21st century.”
The college accomplished that
with the upgrades in the gross anatomy lab and a smaller anatomy
lab in the basement of Grosvenor Hall, Dean Jack Brose, D.O.,
says, adding he was excited by the new technology. Allen Reed,
desktop support manager, explains that prior to 1985, the school
had older television monitors and a VHS system in the gross
anatomy lab, but those were taken out a year later, being
recognizably obsolete even at the time.
“After that, we only had
chalkboards in that room,” he says.
The planning phase for the
lab’s renovation began in spring 2005, when Witmer talked to
Brose about upgrading the technology of the anatomy labs. Reed
says designing began over the summer, with installation
completed during the winter break. Now, the facility boasts 10
50-inch plasma screens positioned so students at any station can
easily see at least one. Staff equipped the lab with five
cameras positioned strategically so they can zoom in — at high
magnification — on the examination table at any station.
Witmer says all this will
enhance learning in the lab. Prior the installation of them,
when one station found something of interest, it was difficult
and time consuming to share it with the rest of class. These
cameras and televisions make it very easy to clearly see anatomy
of interest, such as a hip replacement or organ defects.
The room also boasts two
digital light processing (DLP) video projectors, a sound system
and computer system able to burn DVDs of class sessions.
“Now, we can keep disruptions
of the class to a minimum,” he says. “I can show the students
something of interest by asking them to look up at the video
screen,” rather then having them attempt to crowd around a table
to view something. An instructor camera allows faculty to better
present prepared lectures and materials, such as X-rays or MRIs,
over the plasma televisions.
“Now the lab is a dream setup
for teaching,” he says. “I think it’s going to make the gross
anatomy lab much more efficient. We’re tremendously excited by
taking this lab into the digital age.”
These upgrades also make it
possible for instructors to showcase macro- or micro-procedures.
Instead of traveling from table to table, the technology allows
for procedures to be seen from one station, while the entire
class watches via the plasma screens. These can be recorded to
be reviewed later or for future classes to view.
“It’s a tremendous innovation,”
Brose says. “As an instructor, I frequently would do procedures,
such as spinal taps or obtaining bone marrow. I would have to go
table to table. I think it’s very exciting to do a demonstration
only once. From my standpoint, it is a positive benefit to the
The upgrades to the anatomy lab
came on the heels of updating its OMM Lab. The two are linked by
video technology so students in the OMM lab learning about
certain areas of the body can see the actual body parts in the
gross anatomy lab.
Reed says the technology
upgrade, including two plasma televisions and a computer system
installed in a ground floor lab, cost $115,000, which came from
state-allocated funds. Brose says that every two years, the
college receives money from the state for educational upgrades.
“We thought this was an
excellent use for the money,” Brose says. “This updates the
technological quality and capability of medical education here
Reed says that the renovation
may likely be featured in “Sound & Communications” magazine (www.soundandcommunications.com).
- 30 -
the week of Jan 9 –
the week of Nov