Community College Anatomy and Physiology Education Research (CAPER) Program: Promoting Change in Classroom Pedagogy to Benefit Students

Active learning is not a new concept within HAPS. Annual conference poster and workshop sessions are chock-full of ideas on how to incorporate more student-centered techniques and personal storiesof faculty experiences with various methods. Nearly all of us likely have active learning terms in our lexicon and the majority of HAPS members would agree we should use such techniques (if not, please see the meta-study by Freeman et al. [1]). Yet an awareness of active learning and its benefit by itself does not necessarily drive change in our classroom practice.  The more change is required, especially when that change is associated with significant effort, possibly even a seismic shift from our past teaching routines, the less likely we are to rush out and try it. And if an instructor is really motivated to find out what most benefits their specific population of students, the thought of developing an actual pedagogical study can seem utterly overwhelming. This is where peer-mentoring and a set timeline can really help. The Community College Anatomy and Physiology Education Research (CAPER) Program is designed to provide the needed support for participating community college instructors.

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CAPER is an NSF-funded project, with Murray Jensen (University of MN) as Principal Investigator. CAPER is aimed at supporting community college faculty who are interested in identifying how evidence-based instructional practices (EBIPs) impact the community college student population, a population that has been under-studied in the active learning literature. The current cohort of six participants kicked off the project by participating in the HAPS-I Educational Research course in fall 2018. Their culminating project for the course was an educational research proposal they are implementing this spring. A group of additional active HAPSters also participated as mentors in the HAPS-I course, providing feedback on project proposals and helping as needed.  Kerry Hull, for example, is heading up an interdisciplinary group at Bishop’s University in Ontario, Canada that provides expertise in experimental design, data analysis, and manuscript preparation.

In addition to the studies being conducted by each instructor, all instructors are working with the research team to investigate the impact of EBIPs on reducing student stress and increasing their feelings of academic self-efficacy. If you are attending the meeting in Portland, be sure to check out the CAPER posters, or attend our workshop, to learn more specific details about the project.

Principal Investigators: Murray Jenson, Kerry Hull (BU sub-contract)
Mentors: Ron Gerrits, Betsy Ott, Kyla Ross
Research Support: Heather Lawford, Suzanne Hood
Graduate Students: Laura Seithers, Rob Palmer

[1]   S. Freeman et al., “Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., vol. 111, no. 23, pp. 8410–8415, Jun. 2014.


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Submitted by Ron Gerrits on behalf of the CAPER group. Ron Gerrits is a Professor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering where he teaches health-science courses, mainly physiology. His professional interests are science and engineering education. Currently he is one of the mentors on the CAPER project, which includes several HAPSters interested in improving physiology education (which seems to be a group trait of HAPS!).

First HAPS Silent Auction!

You’re invited to participate in the first ever HAPS Silent Auction in Portland, Oregon!

For those of you who are attending the 2019 HAPS Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon this May, we hope that you consider bringing a little something to donate to the HAPS Silent Auction. The HAPS Fundraising Committee is trying something new out this year and we hope you’ll join in on the fun!  The items can be something from your hometown or home institution.  Anything small and interesting (sorry, but HAPS does not have the ability to receive or send shipped items, so the item must be small enough to travel with you to the meeting and home to the winner from the meeting). Examples include a copy of a book authored, handcrafted jewelry or other accessories, school sports items (like mugs, t-shirts, etc.), and gift certificates.

The Silent Auction will take place in the exhibit hall during the first day of the Update Seminars (Thursday, May 23 from 7:30 am to 6:15 pm). Attendees will have until 6:15 pm on Thursday to bid on their favorite items! At the end of the bidding period, the individual with the highest bid will receive the item (in exchange for the monetary bid).

Please bring your donated items to the registration desk at the Oregon Convention Center on Wednesday, May 22 from 1:00 – 5:00 pm. Convention Center on Wednesday, May 22 from 1:00 – 5:00 pm.

All attendees can participate in the auction, irrespective of whether they donated an item or not. However, the more items donated, the more interesting and fun the auction will be!

If altruism wasn’t enough, here’s the bonus!  If you donate an item or bid on an item in an amount that is more than the retail value, you will receive a tax donation receipt!

If you have any questions, please contact the HAPS Main Office at 1-800-448-4277 or info@hapsconnect.org.

How the Grinch Taught Dissection

I hated pep-rallies in high school and I have always struggled with having a sense of team spirit. In fact, at Christmas time I find that I tend to have more in common with the Grinch than Old Saint Nick, so the fact that I find myself excited enough to write a blog about something is not only out of the ordinary, it’s stranger than green eggs and ham!

As one can imagine, I have surprised myself over the last four years at how I have become such an advocate (dare I say cheerleader) for the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society with both university administration and my fellow anatomy colleagues. It has been exciting to interact with the diverse population of individuals who teach A&P. Our educational backgrounds vary just as much as our personalities and teaching styles. In contrast to other professional organizations that I participate in, I have found that HAPS creates a uniquely inclusive environment in which professionals from a range of institutions and at all stages of their career can share their ideas and learn from conference speakers, workshops, and online forums. Furthermore, like the Grinch, I find my heart growing three sizes when I think of how our leadership team is constantly looking for new ways to work with the different HAPS committees in order to find how we can help one another become better scientists and educators.

With the intention to assist with this initiative, the HAPS Cadaver Use Committee has recognized a problem faced by a significant population of HAPS members. We have found that many of our members have very little or sometimes no cadaver dissection experience. In response to the perceived need and interest amongst the HAPS membership, the Cadaver Use Committee is developing a human cadaver dissection mentorship program. Specifically, we are soliciting member interest and need for this program. Additionally, we are looking to identify individuals that can serve as mentors. The role of the mentor will be better defined as we continue to collect information from HAPS members through virtual town-hall meetings and a survey to determine interest by location, limiting factors, cost, and the type of mentorship relationship that will provide the most value added for participants. Long-term, we would like this dissection mentorship program to fulfill the pillars of a faculty’s academic career. Our goal is to develop a mentorship program that will not only enrich the quality of teaching, but also bolster faculty promotion, tenure, and service.

With all that being said, I would like to say I am grateful for HAPS and proud of this initiative. I am excited to share my lab and my dissection experience with my colleagues. I may not be ready to hold hands and sing “Welcome Christmas” with all the Who’s in Whoville, but I can’t wait to hear from others in my region and the greater HAPS community and learn what they think about our new program and how they might like to participate. Please pay special attention to any upcoming emails regarding the human dissection mentorship program.  We would love to hear from you at any of our upcoming town hall meetings or surveys!


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Kelsey Stevens is the Anatomy Lab Manager and an Instructor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Her specialties include Human Anatomy, Physiology, and Embryology.  She has been a member of the HAPS Cadaver Use Committee since 2016.

 

When Drama in the Lab is a GOOD Thing

This past semester, I had the fortunate experience to have an extra A&P lab session relative to previous semesters. I decided to take a page from my Microbiology courses and find a movie on an A&P topic to show for the last day of lab and (of course) have food. In Microbiology, I have shown the movie Contagion because it allows us to have a discussion on epidemiology and how outbreaks happen. I was looking for a similar movie in the realm of human A&P, so of course I turned to my HAPS friends for suggestions via the HAPS list-serv! Suggestions I received were: Gifted Hands, Extraordinary Measures, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Double Helix, Hawking (chosen for its coverage of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Fantastic Voyage, Osmosis Jones, and Miss Evers’ Boys.

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I finally decided to go with Something the Lord Made, a 2004 film which discusses groundbreaking work on the Tetralogy of Fallot, more commonly referred to as Blue Baby Syndrome (and also known as cyanotic heart disease). It focuses on Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas, whose surgical techniques helped to pioneer modern heart surgery. They first work to recreate the Blue Baby Syndrome in dogs, then learn to alleviate the problem by creating a new duct that shunts much of the subclavian artery’s blood to the pulmonary artery, increasing the oxygenation of this blood. The movie goes into depth on circulation and helps students connect classroom content to real-life applications.

As the (true) story takes place in the 1930s and 1940s, it also allows students to see how things were during the Great Depression and during times of widespread segregation. Since Vivien Thomas is African American, Johns Hopkins University only allows him to be hired as a janitor, and Thomas must enter through a separate entrance. The movie goes on to show how Thomas, through persistence and hard work, rises above the poverty and racism to become a teacher of other surgeons. Although Thomas is never able to go to college, his work with Blalock allows him to become supervisor of surgical laboratories. Later, Johns Hopkins names him an instructor of surgery and bestows on him an honorary doctorate. Thomas’s portrait now hangs in the lobby of the Alfred Blalock Clinical Sciences Building across from that of Alfred Blalock himself.

The students enjoyed the movie, although it took them a while to get pulled into the story. They were shocked by how open the surgical rooms used to be, with a gallery in the room for other doctors to watch. We also discussed the movie’s portrayal of animal research, ethical obligations for physicians, and A&P concepts. Unfortunately, we only had about five minutes for this discussion, since the movie itself took 90 minutes of the two-hour lab period, and I also had to pass out and discuss tests. If I have another “movie day” in the future, I’ll make sure that we don’t have to do anything else that day, so that we can delve more deeply into the movie.


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Julia Schmitz is an Associate Professor of Biology in the Natural Sciences Department at Piedmont College as well as director of their Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). She teaches courses in microbiology, medical microbiology, general biology, and anatomy and physiology. She is a member of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, The American Physiological Society, The American Society for Microbiology, and the Association of Biology Laboratory Educators.

 

Articulating a Joint Meeting

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Two great professional societies — One great regional conference!

Much like the Kentucky Derby packs a lot of excitement in two short minutes of horse racing, we are going to be packing a ton of Anatomy and Physiology into one fabulous conference day and you can bet you won’t want to miss it!  The American Association for Clinical Anatomists (AACA) and the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS) invite YOU to attend our first ever Joint AACA/HAPS Regional Conference at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY (home of the Kentucky Derby!) on Saturday, March 30, 2019.  Great speakers, workshops, posters, and even multiple cadaver lab experiences await you. The last day to register at the Early Bird registration rate and submit a workshop or poster proposal is March 1, 2019.

How did this joint venture get started?  In the fall of 2015, I moved from Houston, TX to Louisville, KY and I met Dr. David Porta in the Biology Department at Bellarmine University.  He was teaching Gross Anatomy and I was teaching Vertebrate Physiology and we both were teaching Human Anatomy & Physiology. As David showed me where lab supplies were and we small talked, we discovered we both served on the boards of professional societies, AACA for him and HAPS for me.  Because we obviously weren’t busy enough and we thought there would be some synergy between the interests of AACA and HAPS, we hatched an idea to co-host a regional meeting. We had round table discussions with a few more anatomists from Bellarmine and the University of Louisville and we outlined what we think will be a great conference for instructors of Anatomy and Physiology.  Here’s a glimpse of the platform presentations and cadaver workshop opportunities.

Dr. Jeffrey Petruska will be presenting research on neural connectivity recently discovered by using modern molecular techniques combined with old school classical neurophysiology and gross anatomy observations.  My co-host Dr. David Porta will be presenting his research on the biomechanical techniques used to analyze different types of bone fractures and how this data has been used as legal evidence in hit-and-run as well as malpractice cases.  David will offer coordinating workshops in the cadaver lab where participants will extract bone, mount it on the fracturing apparatus, and then analyze the fragments.

Hope to see you in Louisville!

Rachel Hopp

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Conference Co-Host Rachel Hopp, PhD, Department of Biology, University of Louisville, Southern Regional Director of HAPS

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Conference Co-Host and Update Speaker David Porta, PhD, Department of Biology, Bellarmine University, Past Program Secretary of AACA

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Update Speaker Jeffrey Petruska, PhD, Department of Anatomical Sciences & Neurobiology, Member of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, University of Louisville School of Medicine

 

Digging deeper with HAPS

Last fall, the HAPS Board approved a new task force on Diversity and Inclusion Goals (DIG). The purpose of DIG is to develop best practices, resources, and professional development for inclusive education in anatomy and physiology (A&P). The endgame is transformation of ourselves, where we create the best learning environment for all the learners we serve.

Why should you “DIG” it?

The mission of HAPS is to promote excellence in the teaching of A&P. On a professional level, educators need to understand diversity, inclusivity, and equity. This allows us to competently talk to and teach our students as well as create a classroom environment conducive to learning for all. In addition, we must adapt our approach in and out of the classroom to the increasing diversity of identity groups in our student populations. These identities include gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic class, religion, ability, preparation level, ancestry, and fluency in English, and any one of these identities can be barriers to learning for our students, and impact us as educators.

HAPS is poised to be a leader in generating materials to explore diversity content within anatomy and physiology courses as well as create inclusive classroom environments. Our classrooms are spaces where diversity conversations are deeply relevant, and there remains a critical need for exploring diversity within the context of science and connecting science to society. To be culturally competent within their field, students must be exposed to diverse viewpoints and alternative ways of thinking.  Engaging others who hold different ideas and experiences raises awareness of their own identities and opens new approaches to problem solving. As society changes, new questions arise in the classroom that are relevant to A&P, such as the application of big data to health records, how assisted reproductive technologies should be used, controversies over animal dissection, and many others. Additionally, HAPS members train future health providers and scientists, putting us in the unique position to shape healthcare and biomedical science.

Want to “DIG” into the work?

Here are some ways for you to get involved:

  • Consider presenting a workshop at the Annual Meeting! We would love to see how HAPS members create inclusive and diverse classrooms and curricula. What does an inclusive A&P class look like? How does a professor convey that they are committed to student safety and success regardless of the student’s identities? What types of content or activities provide students with experiences that help them flourish? What advice do you have on handling mistakes in the classroom gracefully? How do you accommodate students with disabilities in your lecture or labs? What role do textbook authors and vendors play in shaping inclusive curricula?
  • Take the upcoming Diversity and Inclusion Membership Survey! With a release date in May 2019, DIG hopes to gather membership data that will tell us who we are as an organization and identify needs in diversity issues.
  • Share your ideas! The HAPS blog, HAPS Educator, Discussion Boards, and Teaching Tips Site are all great places to contribute your ideas and engage with colleagues.

“DIG” deeper

Look for our information table, poster, and workshop at the 2019 Annual Meeting. We’d love to chat with you! Or feel free to contact me if you’d like to learn more.


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Kathy Burleson is a Senior Lecturer at Hamline University, where she teaches in the Biology, Exercise Science, and Public Health programs. She is the lead of the HAPS Diversity and Inclusion Goals Task Force.

 

Don’t Get All Hyper!

One of the most challenging aspects of anatomy for new students is the specialized terminology. We use these terms so we can communicate effectively. But, achieving this goal requires a shared understanding of standard terms and their meanings.

Last fall, there was a robust discussion on HAPS-L about defining “hyperextension”. In general, the contributors agree that extension increases the angle between segments of a common joint. But, defining hyperextension was trickier.

Some sources define hyperextension by the angle of the joint. However, there is disagreement over whether the “neutral” (normal anatomic) position should be designated as 180° or 0°. Furthermore, in some joints, extension normally exceeds the neutral position. So, an arbitrary limit based on the angle between adjoining bones will be difficult to apply universally.

Another option is to use the basic definition of extension as movement relative to normal anatomic position without reference to specific angles. While this is more practical, it makes the definition of hyperextension more complex. For example, the metatarsophalangeal, talocrural, and acetabulofemoral joints all normally extend past NAP.

At a minimum, the definition is in the name:  ‘hyper’ means ‘beyond’ or ‘over’, so generally, it is extension beyond the normal range of motion. However, even that definition has its own difficulties. Consider for example the degree of back or hip extension in this contortionist…

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…this range of motion is far beyond what any of us would consider normal (or even desirable), but it is quite within the “normal” range for individuals trained for this activity.

Less extreme examples of “enhanced” extension can occur in cases of general ligamentous laxity and or of variations in joint surfaces that result in being able to extend (and in some cases, flex or rotate) beyond the range we have defined as normal. Elite athletes and other performers may often produce movements that exceed the textbook descriptions of “normal” ranges of motion.

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After teaching A&P within and among several programs and majors, I have found that different disciplines often “flavor” terminology to highlight the issues most relevant to their professional concerns. For example, students of athletic performance or rehabilitation are concerned with the potential or actual injuries that often occur with hyperextension. However, even though hyperextension can cause injuries, as the examples above indicate, injury is not always the result.

The one element that all definitions have in common is that hyperextension is extending beyond the normal ROM. So, if we agree that this concept is essential to the general definition, we have a minimal standard of reference in the commonality in how the concept is expressed. Borrowing a page from C.S. Lewis, let’s call this “mere hyperextension”.

For “mere hyperextension”, we take the literal meanings of the prefix and root: hyper means “above” or “beyond” and “extension” is the movement of the joint in a way that increases the angle between structures on opposite sides of the joint. Thus, hyperextension would be extension beyond the usual anatomic range of motion.


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Andrew Petto recently retired as Distinguished Lecturer Emeritus from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee where he taught anatomy and physiology beginning in 2004. He began teaching human anatomy and physiology (to mortuary students) in 1989, and has since taught A&P to massage therapists, dancers, physical therapists, nurses, and herds of undergraduates at UWM, His PhD is in Biological Anthropology (comparative functional morphology) with post-doctoral studies in primate behavioral biology at Harvard Medical School (NERPRC) and in primate ecology in the Department of Anthropology at UW-Madison, supplemented by graduate studies in curriculum and instruction at Drexel University. His latest book, Human Structure and Function—an interactive textbook for students outside the sciences—was published by Tophat in 2017. His next book, Humans, is a collaboration with Alice Beck Kehoe of an introductory textbook on our species