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!


Kelsey Stevens Image

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.

 

HAPS blog: Behind the scenes

We skipped introductions to bring you a fun pre-semester challenge last week, but there are some new faces running the HAPS Communication Committee and blog.

Up first, Communications Committee Chair, Melissa Clouse:

Clouse

Hello all!  I would like to beg a few minutes of your time to briefly introduce myself.  My name is Melissa Clouse and I am an Instructor of Practice and the Director of Pre-Health Programs at Doane University, located in Crete, Nebraska.  I have been a HAPS member for about two years, and am continually blown away by this amazing group of educators.  I jumped at the opportunity to get involved in the Communications Committee at my first HAPS conference (in Salt Lake City).  Following my introduction to the HAPS community I couldn’t believe that there were so many people interested in exactly the same things I thought were fascinating…..so I almost couldn’t resist finding a way to provide some time and energy to the organization.

Recently, I was asked to step into the ComCom Chair position.  Although I’m a bit daunted to attempt to follow the exceptional leadership of Wendy Riggs, I know firsthand how supportive our members are so I am confident that we can continue ComCom’s great work.  I thrilled that I will continue to work closely with Wendy as she steps into the Secretary role.  I’m looking forward to learning more about the inner workings of HAPS….it’s an organization that makes my teaching and professional life better in so many ways, and I especially look forward to working with respected fellow HAPSters.

Up next, blog master, Ann Raddant:

Headshot

Howdy, HAPSters! I’ll be soliciting posts and working with our fabulous crew of editors to keep the blog looking fresh all year. I joined HAPS in 2013 when I was still a Ph.D. student, and I have found my membership to be so valuable through every step of my career. My day job is lecturing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Go Panthers!) and my night and weekend job is my 1.5 year old son, Hudson. I am excited to be able to contribute to an organization that helps me better a better instructor in so many ways.

Do you want to see yourself and your ideas on the HAPS blog? IT’S SO EASY!!  We need posts that are 200-500 word, preferably with pictures (and captions), a short author bio and picture.  Then, just email your submission to HAPSblog@hapsconnect.org.  We will take care of the rest, and you will bask in the warmth that can only come by sharing your experiences/wisdom/tips/ideas with like-minded HAPSters!!

 

 

 

ComCom Hot Potato

This post comes from the Communications Committee Talking Points Coordinator, Dr. Krista Rompolski of Drexel University.


The HAPS Annual Conference is less than a week away. I told my students the other day that for an A&P professor, this is Woodstock. They didn’t quite understand, but I’m sure you all do! This is the one event of the year where we can share our unbridled enthusiasm about the human body with people who feel the same, and don’t mind if you talk dissection over dinner.

The Communications Committee is always seeking ways to connect members and non-members with HAPS. As a fun way to keep us connected during the conference days, the ComCom has a special activity to share! Look out for this notebook circulating on the conference floor:

Look for this notebook in Ohio- add your thoughts and doodles, then get a chance to WIN IT on Monday afternoon!
Watch for this notebook in Ohio- add your thoughts and doodles, then get a chance to WIN IT on Monday afternoon!

Think of this as the ComCom version of “hot potato.” I will start passing this notebook around during the social on Saturday evening. Here are the rules:

  1. Keep the notebook for no longer than one hour (if you have it in your possession after 10pm, keep it safe until the following morning).
  2. Using one or two pages, do one of the following:
    • Share a story about how HAPS changed your life in some way
    • Share a best or worst moment in teaching
    • Share a teaching tip; this could be your best advice, or something specific, like a drawing
  3. Include your name, and where you are from. If you would agree to have your contribution shared in the conference wrap up publication, please put an asterisk after your name. I will take some photos of the submissions with asterisks and share those in a conference wrap-up blog post!
  4. If you get the notebook and don’t want to participate, please randomly pass it along. But please pass it to someone you don’t know! We want to connect new HAPSters!

On Monday afternoon, whoever has the notebook at 4pm should return it to me, where the door prize drawings will be taking place. If those directions change due to conference timing or needs, I’ll indicate that in the front of the notebook. One lucky HAPSter will be randomly selected from the door prize pool to go home with this fun collection of HAPS memories/tips/stories!

I can’t wait to see what we come up with, and what we have to share! See you all in May!

Bodies for Science and Education: The Startling History

Many of us in HAPS have been fortunate to have learned human anatomy either by dissecting human specimens or by working with already dissected bodies. Many of us now teach students using human cadavers as the primary specimens for study in the lab. Beyond that, the anatomical knowledge of the general population results from investigations performed on dissected humans in the past. How many of us have ever considered where the dissected bodies came from? Probably very few; many of us can take for granted the present level of anatomical knowledge. Where these long-gone anatomists obtained their specimens never enters our conscious thought.

Early Asian anatomical art
Early Asian anatomical art

There is a rich history of human dissection dating back to before the start of the Christian era. There are references to human dissection, cadaver investigation, or funerary practices in Egypt, Persia, Babylonia and India that extend back in time over four thousand years. Even then a pattern emerges indicating that those with the least and those guilty of crimes bore the burden of serving as specimens for dissection. There was even a brief period shortly before the Christian era during which human vivisection was practiced on criminals in Egypt.

Over the span of time, bodies have come from multiple sources including debtors, societal outcasts, the mentally ill and strangers, recent unclaimed dead, anatomical oddities and even victims murdered specifically to serve as dissection specimens. Bodies obtained by  “entrepreneur” grave robbers throughout the Renaissance and continuing well into the nineteenth century in Europe and America were the primary supply of bodies for dissection, with bodies stolen from the easily accessed burial sites used by families with few or no real financial assets, and rarely if ever from the much more secure cemeteries of the rich and privileged.

Death mask cast of William Burke and a pocket book made from his skin; Burke was executed in 1828 for murdering people and delivering their bodies to medical school in Edinburgh.
Death mask cast of William Burke and a pocket book made from his skin; Burke was executed in 1828 for murdering people and delivering their bodies to medical school in Edinburgh.

During the nineteenth century in Europe, donation of bodies by family members became legal as a way for the poor to eliminate funeral expenses.  In Tasmania, genocide of the aboriginal population in less than a century largely benefited bone collectors back in England. In America, a booming business in the bodies of African slaves and freeborn blacks signaled another low point in this narrative.

Finally, the successful heart transplant performed in 1967 by Dr. Christian Barnard in South Africa triggered an increased interest in organ transplantation and the importance of organ and body donations. The result was the passage of the first Uniform Anatomic Gift Act in 1968, creating a sustainable system based largely on altruism to provide for both the needs of the transplant community and those of anatomy and medical education.

Hopefully this narrative that chronicles the thoughtless and often diabolical events of the past will spur those of us involved in anatomy and medical education to consider and appreciate the unwilling sacrifices of so many in the past that made the current state of anatomic knowledge possible. As educators, we should play a role in acknowledging, even briefly, this history to our students and the debt of gratitude we owe to so many who have been so wronged in the past.


Bill Perrotti is a HAPS President Emeritus and a professor at Pennsylvania State University.

A Female Body of Knowledge: Cadavers and Caricatures

During research for past HAPS workshops, I was struck by a shift in attitudes toward and uses for dissection in Europe.  It was not always a practice banned by the church and practiced in secret as is often thought. There was a complex combination of factors that left medical men who conducted dissections in a constantly fluctuating position in the eyes of the public, as the use of the female body ranged from a righteous religious exploration to sexually charged education.

Vesalius’ dissection of a female (woodcut image from 1555)
Vesalius’ dissection of a female (woodcut image from 1555)

The context of female dissection in particular has morphed through the centuries – in the Middle Ages the bodies of religious women were dissected to provide evidence of their holiness, and into the Renaissance patrician mothers would be dissected to provide familial medical information.  Dissections were conducted to gain information about women who had value to their communities and families. During the 16th century, dissection became more associated with shame as the bodies of executed criminals were granted to medical men and made into public exhibitions.

As society came to view dissection as a punishment worse than execution itself, the public dissection of women became particularly horrifying. While fear of these punishments was intended to deter criminals, increased association of dissection with negative acts dovetailed with growing religious and social sentiments valuing the burial of a complete body.  Condemned female criminals were rare compared to their male counterparts, partially due to a social bias against executing women. Legal avenues of witnessing the dissection of a female body were scarce.

Anatomical Wax of a female from La Specola in Italy.
Anatomical Wax of a female from La Specola in Italy.

Social mores also prevented most living women from being physically examined in detail, and training new medical men was difficult with a lack of female bodies, living or dead. This led to great creativity in generating alternatives. The 18th century produced a flurry of wax anatomical models, which allowed detailed portrayals of anatomy that could have been helpful in learning the minutiae of the body. The teaching value of these was only as good as the artist involved, however, and these models tended to be posed in ways that did not contribute specifically to their educational worth.  

During the same time, midwifery manuals and anatomical atlases focusing on women were produced with illustrations of reproductive organs combining internal and external perspectives. One 19th century book included paper dolls with articulated joints that could be moved through a pop-up book-like model of the pelvic girdle just to make things a bit more interactive. As three dimensional models became more complex, gynecological models became particularly popular in the 19th century. They were supposed to allow the simulation of birth, and often came often with a matching fabric baby to manually pull through the birth canal.

And while some of the solutions developed to cope with the unavailability of female cadavers may seem odd today, they give us a wonderful window onto the social tug-of-war that occurred between decorum and the urge to know more about the female body!


Danielle Hanson teaches Human Anatomy and Physical Anthropology at several Indiana schools, and has a long held interest in the history of both fields. She has an MS in Anatomy Education, and is a Ph.D. Candidate in Physical Anthropology at Indiana University.

Eduard Pernkopf

Who is Eduard Pernkopf and why should we care?

Eduard Pernkopf was a Nazi. That is the short of it. He also created an anatomical atlas that has become a notorious source of ethical debate since at least the 1990s.

So, who was Eduard Pernkopf?

Pernkopf was an Austrian medical doctor. During World War 1, he served as a military physician for Austria.  After the war, he returned to the University of Vienna and became an Anatomy Instructor for the medical school. By 1928 he was a full professor and by 1933 he was the director of the anatomical institute. Also in 1933, Pernkopf pledged his allegiance to the Nazi party, later becoming a member of the Sturmabteilung, Hitler’s pre-war Stormtroopers.

In 1933, he also started work on his anatomical atlases. Four artists rendered watercolor portraits of his dissections, Pernkopf set out to create the most realistic representations of cadaveric dissections ever available with the caveat that the color be as realistic as possible. Two volumes ended up being published, one in 1937 and one in 1941. By 1941, all four of the artists joined active military or paramilitary service for Germany.

So, why is this atlas so controversial?

In 1938, Pernkopf became Dean of the medical college at the University of Vienna. He immediately expelled all non-Aryan professors; at Vienna, that meant over 75% of the faculty, several of whom would end up dying in concentration camps across occupied German territory. As Dean, Pernkopf enacted a strict racial hygiene approach to medicine. Across occupied Germany, medical schools were teaching that there were inferior anatomical characteristics of non-Aryans like Jews, Gypsies, Romani, and Poles, and homosexuals.

As a footnote to history, no one was forcing these scientists to go along with ideas like racial hygiene. In fact, it seems like the scientists were the driving force behind these ideas. Spurred on by eugenicists in the U.S., Nazi scientists were pushing hard for eugenics in Germany. This lead to forced sterilization, anti-miscegenation and anti-immigrant laws, and euthanasia. These were the three basic prongs of the Nazi Volksgesundheit, or Public Health. By 1934, forced sterilization turned to euthanasia of people deemed mentally feeble. Early euthanasia programs turned to Holocaust as Germans placed non-Aryans in concentration, work, and prison camps.

As you can imagine, a lot of dead bodies meant a steady supply of cadavers for teaching and research at the 31 German or German occupied medical schools in Europe. There is evidence that while Pernkopf was dean, the University of Vienna medical school accepted 1,377 executed prisoners. It was customary that the medical schools would have embalming centers at the execution sites so that cadaveric materials could stay as fresh as possible.

There is questionable imagery within the atlases; images of emaciated cadavers in poor condition. There is also Nazi imagery in the signatures of the artists.

So, we have a bunch of Nazis who were very racist and who used very questionable sources for dissection to make their controversial anatomical atlas.

But, Vienna was bombed by allied forces in 1945. The university sustained heavy damage and the records containing the information about where the bodies used for the atlas came from were destroyed.

Did he use executed prisoners or not? And what should we do about the book?

Come find out and discuss the answers to these questions at the workshop Pernkopf, NAZIs, and MVCC at the 2018 HAPS Conference in Columbus.


This post was written by Aaron Fried, Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Mohawk Valley Community College. Thanks to my colleagues and willing editors: Shannon Crocker, Eileen Bush, Don Kelly, Bill Perrotti, Emeritis, and the late Sam Drogo.