The HAPS ListServ: The Best Part of Membership

A message from HAPS member, Karen Groh, A&P instructor from Good Samaritan College of Nursing and Health Science in Cincinnati OH.
A message from HAPS member, Karen Groh, A&P instructor from Good Samaritan College of Nursing and Health Science in Cincinnati OH.

“Seriously? Amid all that we’ve done in lab and lecture, how did that idea become lodged in your mind?”

Though I hoped my surprise was not apparent to the students, that was what I thought when, three weeks into the cardiovascular unit, I realized that several of my students thought blood could go directly from, for example, the foot to the stomach, completely bypassing the pulmonary circuit. Somewhere, somehow, despite all the learning activities in lab and lecture, some students had missed a crucial concept of the cardiovascular system: Blood going from organ A to organ B must (almost always) first go to the heart, then the lungs, back to the heart, then finally to organ B; blood vessels are essentially one-way roads.

After I patiently guided the confused students through some blood tracing until they understood this concept, I made a mental note to see what I could do to prevent this misconception from developing in future students. Though I’ve developed a “bag of tricks” with analogies for explaining many A&P concepts, I couldn’t come up with any good ideas this time. Working at a small school of nursing and health science, I have a limited number of colleagues to consult with when I need an idea.

Fortunately, as a HAPS member, I’m not limited to the people I work with because I have access to the HAPS ListServ, my door to an entire community of individuals who are teaching Anatomy and Physiology and are delighted to discuss almost anything related to A&P. One of the best things about the ListServ is the diversity. When someone throws out a question about A&P content or pedagogy, answers start pouring in from textbook authors, instructors at community colleges and large research institutions, high school teachers, experts doing research in just the field, and sometimes even from me! Amazingly, these people are incredibly generous with their ideas and information.

Because it has been my door to an incredible storehouse of knowledge and ideas, I consider the ListServ the best benefit of HAPS membership. Sometimes someone on the ListServ will mention an in-class activity; when I email them, they send me a copy to use in my class, no strings attached! How cool is that? Or someone might ask about reducing attrition in A&P, releasing another stream of useful ideas. Someone else might ask a question about the contraction cycle of the heart and the answers pour in, giving me access to a lively discussion at a high level about a topic I teach.

But back to my hapless students and their misconceptions about blood circulation. Stumped for good ideas, I threw the problem out to the ListServ community and ideas poured in. The ideas included:

  • A figure from a textbook, volunteered from the author
  • An amusement park analogy
  • An airport analogy
  • An electric car scenario
  • A delivery truck analogy
  • Suggestions regarding the root causes of the misconception and how to address them

And more! A treasure trove of ideas!

This semester, when I taught blood tracing in the lab, I used the delivery truck analogy, explaining to the students that the delivery trucks leave the heart (company headquarters) and go through the body (city) making deliveries. When they return to the heart (company headquarters), they have to go to the lungs (truck wash facility) to be cleaned before returning to headquarters to pick up more packages and head out again. I drew all of this on the board, emphasizing the fact that all the blood vessels (roads) were one-way only.

The results? This semester, I wasn’t aware of a single student who spent most of the cardiovascular unit convinced that the blood vessels were two-way streets allowing blood to go directly from organ A to organ B. It was a small teaching victory, but a satisfying one, thanks to the wonderful folks in the ListServ.

Last Call: Apply for Awards by Dec 1!

A message from Don Kelly, co-chair of the HAPS Foundation/Grants and Scholarships Committee.


If you’re thinking of applying for one of the HAPS grants or scholarships for assistance in attending next year’s HAPS Annual Meeting, you’d better hurry! The deadline for submitting applications is December 1st, and that’s less than two weeks away.  We’d love to see you in Salt Lake City and we’d love to consider your application for one of these awards:

All applications are very straightforward and easy to complete.  But even if you don’t want to apply for your own award, consider nominating a colleague for one of these awards:

The Grants and Scholarships committee wants some work to do, and we really like giving away money! So don’t delay-visit the HAPS website now and submit your application.

And while we’re here…have fun identifying avian musculoskeletal anatomy during Thanksgiving dinner.  (C’mon…you’re an A&P teacher…you know you do it…)

Bird wing image- bones and muscles
Wing anatomy– because you know you’ll need it!

The HAPS-Thieme Excellence in Teaching Award

A message from Don Kelly, co-chair of the HAPS Foundation/Grants and Scholarships Committee.

Know a great teacher, someone you feel inspires students to success in anatomy and physiology?  If you do (and we all do), please consider nominating him or her for the HAPS-Thieme Excellence in Teaching Award.  HAPS is delighted to team up with Thieme Publishers to offer this opportunity to recognize one of our own for efforts in the classroom or laboratory.  

Nominated instructors must be teaching anatomy and physiology during this academic year, with an expectation that they will continue, must be a HAPS member, and must be an exemplary teacher.  

To qualify to nominate an instructor, you must be an instructor or administrator at an accredited institution in the United States or Canada, have at least two years of experience, and be able to explain why the nominee deserves the award.

The award includes a $1500 cash award and waiver of fees for the HAPS Annual Conference.  The recipient will present the “HAPS-Thieme Award for Excellence in Teaching Workshop” during the Annual Conference Workshop Sessions in May 2017.  We had terrific workshops at the 2015 and 2016 conferences.  This year’s recipient will join an illustrious group that includes Terry Thompson and Mary Tracy Bee.

Nomination forms and details on award criteria can be found on the HAPS webpage. Deadline for nominations for this and all the other HAPS scholarships is December 1st, 2017.  


Apply for the Gail Jenkins Learning and Mentoring Award

A message from Don Kelly, co-chair of the HAPS Foundation/ Grants and Scholarships Committee.

HAPS lost a dear friend when Gail Jenkins passed away earlier this year.  Gail was a dynamic teacher and long-time HAPS member.  Gail loved teaching.  Most of all, she loved to make difficult concepts in anatomy and physiology easily comprehensible to her students.  To accomplish this, she employed the “Keep is simple, Sweetie” (KISS) approach.  When facing a difficult concept, she’d urge her students to “KISS” it by using everyday analogies or tools to visualize and simplify the subject.  Her students loved this approach.

In Gail’s honor, Wiley Publishing, in partnership with HAPS has established the Gail Jenkins Teaching and Mentoring Award, an annual award recognizing a HAPS member who demonstrates the use of engaging learning activities that help students comprehend difficult concepts and to recognize those willing to mentor other instructors in this approach.  The award includes a $1000 cash award and waiver of the 2017 Annual Conference registration fee. Award recipients will present a workshop during the workshop sessions in Salt Lake City.

To qualify for the award, applicants must be HAPS members engaged in teaching anatomy and physiology, must provide an explanation of how engaging learning activities are incorporated into their classes, must provide an abstract of a workshop to be presented at the 2017 conference, and must provide a letter of recommendation from a colleague with direct knowledge of the applicant’s teaching and student interaction.  Applicants who can demonstrate a spirit of sharing this approach and mentoring their colleagues will be given preference.

Online applications can be found on the HAPS website.  The application deadline for this and all the other HAPS scholarships is December 1st.

HAPS expresses its thanks to Wiley Publishing for their support in the establishment of this award.