Medical Education

Education Committee:  Drs. Turpen (Chair), Binhammer, Joshi, Keim-Janssen, Lomneth, Rodriquez-Sierra, Sharp and Todd

The Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy Department at the University of Nebraska Medical Center is comprised of 21 faculty members and o emeritus faculty. About 300 students in medical, allied health and graduate programs annually study in the department, learning cell and molecular biology and all components of the anatomical sciences including gross anatomy, neuroanatomy, microscopic anatomy and developmental anatomy. The department also has an active graduate program in a variety of interdisciplinary research areas.

Teaching Excellence: The department has been recognized for excellence through numerous teaching awards presented to its faculty. The department received the University-wide Departmental Teaching Award in April 1997. Over the past 24 years, faculty members in the department have received 20 "Golden Apple" awards, given annually by classes of medical students to outstanding teachers. In professional examinations over the past four years, UNMC anatomy students consistently have scored above the national average, exceptional performance by its students on national standardized examinations, participation by its faculty in development of innovative curricula, and the success of its graduates have all demonstrated the departments commitment to excellence. Many current students in the department say their interest in a health professions career was sparked by their initial visit to the department.

Instruction in the department uses the latest technology, including computer programs, videodiscs, CD-ROM resources, video tapes, computerized self-testing, and digital image library. In addition, the laboratory for teaching gross anatomy and neuroanatomy has been fully computerized and interactive quizzes developed to use these computers during lab [See following sections]. The department also has moved, in recent years, to a hybrid curriculum combining a discipline-based curriculum like gross anatomy and an integrated curriculum in which small groups of students work on clinical problems and develop solutions.

Gross Anatomy/Neuroanatomy LaboratoryGross Anatomy/Neuroanatomy Laboratory: UNMC has a new state-of-the-art laboratory for teaching gross anatomy and neuroanatomy. Each dissection/lab table has access to its own networked computer connected to a ceiling-mounted high resolution video projector and displayed on a 50" screen. The screens at the ends of the table allow everyone at the table to easily read the text and illustrations displayed. A wide array of audio-visual supplemental resources are available on these computers. For efficiency everything is mouse-driven with a moveable mouse tray at each table.

To improve efficiency and student-directed learning environment, an Interactive Dissecting Guide and an Interactive Neuroanatomy Guide were developed that link the bolded terms in the print versions of these guides with the appropriate atlas illustration. The computers and interactive guides allow students to progress at their own pace and at the same time it frees up the faculty to interact more with the students and focus on more in-depth discussions rather than simple identifications.

The lab has the capability to take over control of all the computer screens and display the same image on all screens. This is used to show live video demonstrations with a high-resolution digital video camera. We also conduct review sessions of radiology and cross-sectional anatomy on the student screens. The technology upgrade and interactive online programs have clearly enhanced the education of our students while making the dissection process more efficient and engaging for students and faculty.

Virtual Microscopy LabVirtual Microscopy Lab: The traditional histology labs for teaching microscopic anatomy to freshmen medical students and histopathology to sophomore medical students have switched entirely to virtual microscopy (VM). The addition of the Michael Sorrell Center provides one computer lab with 72 computers and a separate technology lab with 60 laptop computers for the use of virtual microscopy (VM) for histology and pathology education. VM is the computer presentation of digitized tissue sections for use in research and education in cell biology, histology and histopathology. Entire microscope slides are scanned at high magnification and the individual images stitched into a single image that allows students to move around the side with a mouse and the ability to zoom in and out anywhere on the slide. Essentially, digital virtual slides replace the tissue sections on glass slides and a computer workstation replaced the microscopes. The information can be annotated, edited and accessed simultaneously from remote sites. Once captured, the "virtual image" opens up the entire range of visualization, image analysis and quantification of microscopic structures. Eventually, virtual microscopy will replace much, but perhaps not all, of conventional microscopy. Rather than having students work independently at their own microscope, VM has created a more interactive learning environment where the students work in pairs and the faculty can point directly to structures on the computer screen.

The traditional histology labs for teaching microscopic anatomy to freshmen medical students and histopathology to sophomore medical students have switched entirely to virtual microscopy (VM). The addition of the Michael Sorrell Center provides one computer lab with 72 computers and a separate technology lab with 60 laptop computers for the use of virtual microscopy (VM) for histology and pathology education. VM is the computer presentation of digitized tissue sections for use in research and education in cell biology, histology and histopathology. Entire microscope slides are scanned at high magnification and the individual images stitched into a single image that allows students to move around the side with a mouse and the ability to zoom in and out anywhere on the slide. Essentially, digital virtual slides replace the tissue sections on glass slides and a computer workstation replaced the microscopes. The information can be annotated, edited and accessed simultaneously from remote sites. Once captured, the "virtual image" opens up the entire range of visualization, image analysis and quantification of microscopic structures. Eventually, virtual microscopy will replace much, but perhaps not all, of conventional microscopy. Rather than having students work independently at their own microscope, VM has created a more interactive learning environment where the students work in pairs and the faculty can point directly to structures on the computer screen.  

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