Join HAPS– for the conversations!

The HAPS Discussion group (also known as HAPS-L and before that as “the listserv”) is the place where the most interesting conversations in A&P are happening.  This discussion group has hundreds of members, is very active, and has often features amazingly high level conversations among leaders in the field.  This group was started in 1998 as an email listserv, and some still call it that, but it is a modern discussion group with email preferences and a web archive.  The HAPS discussion group is open to all current HAPS members and is one of the most valuable perks of membership.

This week, one discussion revolved around the most accurate classification of bone types. In this discussion, Mark Nielsen (University of Utah Anatomy Professor and winner of the 2017 HAPS-Theime Excellence in Teaching Award) shared multiple illuminating contributions to the conversation. Check out the excerpt below…and then imagine having content like THIS delivered to your email box on a regular basis.

WOW, there is a lot of interesting discussion going on here, this is one of the nice things about the HAPS listserve. It is always great to share and discuss. While I agree with many of the sage comments about classification and “does it really matter because the bones do not care or know where they fit in the scheme of things”, it is still important to recognize that there is correct and incorrect within a classification scheme. Following is the bases of the classification scheme:

Long bone = what is the one characteristic shared by long bones that none of the other bone types have, one thing and one thing only, a medullary cavity, and yes all the phalanges, even the small distal phalanges have a medullary cavity, as does the clavicle. The following bones have a medullary cavity:

  • clavicle
  • humerus
  • radius
  • ulna
  • metacarpals
  • proximal phalanges of hand
  • middle phalanges of hand
  • distal phalanges of hand
  • femur
  • tibia
  • fibula
  • metatarsals
  • proximal phalanges of foot
  • middle phalanges of foot
  • distal phalanges of foot

I believe someone stated that long bones are characterized because they have a diaphysis with proximal and distal epiphyses. This is not true. Many long bones only have epiphyses at one end and not the other. This is the case for many of the phalanges. Again, the characteristic that defines a long bone is the presence of a medullary cavity. Besides, many bones have epiphyses – for example, short bones and irregular bones have epiphyses.

Short bones = are characterized by a core of spongy bone with an outer covering of compact bone. They typically have a length, width, and depth that are approximately of equal dimensions. The carpal and tarsal bones are placed in this category.

Flat bones = the true flat bones of the body all reside in the skull, but the ribs are also often considered to fall in this category because their bone structure is similar to the flat bones of the skull. These are bones that are characterized by external and internal tables (laminae) of compact bone sandwiching dense trabecular diploe, the diploic spaces of the trabecular bone being filled with hemopoetic red marrow in the living subject. This would include the parietal bones, frontal bone, squamous portion of the occipital bone and temporal bone, sutural or wormian bones that are ossification centers that never fused with the fore mentioned bones.

Most of the remaining bones did not fit into one of these three categories. Like the short bones and flat bones all the remaining bones had an outer covering of compact bone and an internal core of spongy bone and no medullary cavity, but they were not short and they were not flat. This led to the next category that became the catch all:

Irregular bones = a variety of bone shapes consisting of an outer covering of compact bone and a central core of spongy bone, with some bone surfaces that are so flat and thin that they lack spongey bone completely e.g., the scapula, ethmoid. Most of the other bones fall in this category – vertebrae, the bones of the facial skeleton and inferior cranial vault bones, hyoid, malleus, incus, stapes, and the scapula and os coxae.

The final category is the sesamoid bones = these are bones that form within tendons. In human anatomy they are similar in bony structure to short bones but have a unique classification as sesamoid bones because of their location within tendons. In some other vertebrates they are very long slender bones within tendons.

One other recognized category is a pneumatized bone. These are bones that contain air spaces within their cores and can overlap with other categories. For example, the frontal bone is both a flat bone and a pneumatized bone. The ethmoid bone, sphenoid bone, and petromastoid part of the temporal bone are both irregular bones and pneumatized bones.

So there is a logic to classification and it is not a random thing that we can bend to our whims. We now have the choice to ignore it or teach it correctly.

So if you’re a HAPS member, by all means, join this discussion group. And if you’re not a member, JOIN HAPS so you can join the discussion group. (Then adjust your email settings, because most HAPSters have experienced the infamous “blown up email box” that results from some of the more rigorous conversations! Thankfully, executive director Peter English wrote a blog post with instructions for doing just that.)

Please Vote in the Elections for Board Positions!

President-Elect Ron Gerrits

Serving as an officer in any organization requires a commitment of time and effort. Because HAPS members generally lead busy lives, it can be a challenge finding candidates who are confident they can devote enough time to managing the current affairs of HAPS while also strategically planning for its future. In spite of these challenges, there was a strong response to the nomination process this year and the Nominating Committee is excited to finalize a slate of candidates that nearly fills the allotted slots allowed for balloting. In fact, we had more nominations this year than ever for multiple positions, such that we were not able to put all of those interested on the ballot. This increase in interest in leadership positions speaks well of the engagement level of the society and we are hopeful that it will continue into the future.

Besides identifying qualified candidates, an organization also benefits when there is a high level of participation by the general membership in the election process. I am requesting that all of us review the descriptions of the open positions, read the candidate statements and complete the ballots when received.

The positions that are up for election starting in July 2017 include the following:

Election to this office involves a three-year commitment, one year each as President-Elect, President, and Past-President.  The year as President-Elect provides a year to become accustomed to serving on the Board of Directors before transitioning into the role of President.  The President, in consultation with the Board, provides direction and guidance by establishing and managing the policies and affairs of the Society.  Following the President’s term, they become Past-President to provide leadership continuity.  

The Secretary is responsible for maintaining the official records of the Society. This includes recording minutes of Board and general membership meetings, and maintaining bylaws and other corporate documents. The Secretary’s term of office is for two (2) years.

Regional Directors (Central & Southern Regions)
Although each Regional Director serves as a representative of one of the four HAPS regions to ensure diverse geographical representation on the Board of Directors, they are elected by the entire membership.  They act as a liaison between the region’s constituency and the Board and promote increased involvement of the region’s membership in the activities of the Society, including regional conferences.  Each Regional Director’s term of office is for two (2) years. The current incumbents each qualify to serve again.

The candidate information and biographies can be found here, which summarize the activities of these members both within and outside of HAPS.

HAPS members will receive ballots on March 13

HAPS members will receive ballots today, so please watch out for them in your email.  The voting will continue through March 31. Because we have three candidates for each Regional Director, as well as for Secretary, we are utilizing instant runoff voting this year (a form of preferential voting in Robert’s Rules of Order). Instant runoff voting is a form of rank order voting that is commonly used in universities and municipalities when there are more than two candidates for a position. It provides a mechanism for obtaining a majority vote without having to hold additional rounds of balloting, which might otherwise be required. You will be asked to rank candidates in order of preference (1-3). We understand that this can be challenging, especially if you consider all candidates strong, but it is necessary in order to hold the elections in an efficient manner.

Election results will be announced in April, as well as at the annual conference in Salt Lake City.

Thanks to everyone in advance for taking the time to participate in the election process. And a special thanks to those that have agreed to serve in office if elected. It is a commitment that benefits all in the society.

Ron Gerrits is the HAPS President-Elect & 2016-2017 Nominating Committee Chair.  He is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.  Vote now

Journal of a New HAPster: Shani Golovay

HAPS is a society focused on the teaching and learning anatomy and physiology.  We’re always looking for new members to join the community.  Check out some thoughts from new HAPSter, Shani Golovay.  

Meet Shani Golovay, a new HAPSter.
Meet Shani Golovay, a new HAPSter.

“But I have a degree in Plant Biology.  I don’t really know anything about Human Physiology, except what I teach in General Biology.”  And this started my journey to HAPS.

I found the HAPS website to be helpful as soon as I joined. I hunted down the Course Guidelines  and Learning Outcomes right away because I needed a syllabus and some ideas on how much content to cover in the course.  Then I found the Guided Inquiry Activities by Murray Jensen. I tried out the activities with my students right away- and they loved them.  I was starting to feel like I could teach this class after all, and I felt like I had a giant community of people helping me that I didn’t even know.

I learn more from the HAPS email listserv then I do from most professional journals I receive.  I was amazed how open and helpful everyone was with each other.  I look forward to the listserv conversations and I learn so much. It was so refreshing to find a whole group of people willing to share their expertise with those of us way out of our area. If I emailed someone a question, they would explain things and even send me documents or ideas.  I am much more confident about teaching this Human Physiology class because of HAPS.  I think Human Physiology may be my new favorite class to teach because of all the awesome ideas I get from other HAPSters.  I was telling my colleagues about this society where everyone was nice and actually helpful and wanted to share ideas about teaching and everyone was impressed and a bit jealous that I had found such a group.

I am just so grateful to find a community of people where those with experience and lots of talent are willing to help those of us just starting out with these classes.  We need each other because we can’t talk about this sort of stuff over dinner except with each other, right?

The best part for me was the annual meeting, but that is another blog post…..

What’s on Your Bucket List?

HAPS is a society focused on the teaching and learning anatomy and physiology, but educators are just half of this equation.  We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our students.  Check out the fifth post in a series of HAPS blog posts featuring A&P student extraordinaire, Becca Ludwig.  

A message from Becca!
A post from Becca!

One semester I had an assignment that was unusual. I was tasked with creating a bucket list and then crossing one thing off of the list by the end of the semester and write a reflection paper about it. This was an odd assignment as it had nothing to do with the occupational therapy world, but as I was creating the list for the assignment I found that a bucket list had everything to do with the OT world and life in general.

A bucket list provides a way for goals to be set and the motivation to obtain them. Many students get bogged down with the stressors of the semesters and completing the requirements to get their degree. I see it in my peer’s faces. The worry about what will happen tomorrow, how I will get a job, who they will marry, how they will pay off their loans. The list is endless. Those are valid concerns, but what they are forgetting is that they have their whole life ahead of them to sort out those details. Many students lack sometimes the ability to see that there is more to life than school. If I were to ask 100 people on my small campus what is one thing that they want to accomplish the top three answers would probably be:

  1. Get married (there are more females than males on campus. The pickings are pretty slim! It's all good!)
  2. Get a degree
  3. Find a job
Make your bucket list, then cross something off it!
Make your bucket list, then cross something off it!

Those are all practical things to want and desire, but my question is what is the one thing that they will look back on and say they accomplished it? Life is not textbook in manor. No one can tell you how to live your life, you can decide. Why not take the challenge to do something for yourself and accomplish something that you never thought you could? The bucket list challenge was one of my hardest assignments because I was challenged to do something for me. I challenge you HAPSters to do the same thing to your students and watch how the students react. This assignment might change everything.

It is a Process, not a Product

HAPS is a society focused on the teaching and learning anatomy and physiology, but educators are just half of this equation.  We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our students.  Check out the fourth post in a series of HAPS blog posts featuring A&P student extraordinaire, Becca Ludwig.  

A message from Becca!
A post from Becca!

My professors use the phrase “it is a process not a product” when educating us about treating our patients and helping them through the rehabilitative process. It is a common theme in my Occupational Therapy program. In a way getting through school is a process not a product.

Leaning should be fun. Yes, there are more exciting classes (A&P!) than others (research….) but each class provides something special to the educational experience. I know I am guilty of stressing over the final grade in my courses and my overall GPA. I have come to realize that when I stressed less about the product of the grade and focused more on the process of learning I enjoyed school a lot more. It is not about the grade on the transcript that matters in the corporate world, but it is the experiences that you had to get there.

The learning is in the process.
The learning is in the process.

There does need to be a standard of mastery for every class. How else would good professionals be produced? The professor’s role in this equation is they are responsible for providing the safe place to “fail.” Failing facilitates growth. Growth takes time. By taking the time to fail and getting the feedback to grow students really are engaged in the process of learning.

It is the “just right challenge” that I enjoy in classes. I like challenges and being stretched out of my comfort zone. I never know what I can do unless I try. Each assignment and each class that I take has (mostly) offered me a challenge and a chance to grow as a person.

Is it OK to get a “B?”

HAPS is a society focused on the teaching and learning anatomy and physiology, but educators are just half of this equation.  We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our students.  Check out the third post in a series of HAPS blog posts featuring A&P student extraordinaire, Becca Ludwig.  

A message from Becca!
A post from Becca!

Many times in college I have wondered if getting a “B” in a class was acceptable, meeting the expectation, or showing a sound understanding of the material. At the end of the semester and grades are posted I often analyze my growing transcript. I find myself thinking “If I worked a little harder I could have gotten an A.” My question to the professors is this: Is getting a “B” in a class okay?

Many students who are driven tend to feel pressured into obtaining the “A” standard and being the best that they could possibly be. I would classify myself as one of these students. I am passionate about my major and want to learn as much as I can in school. In doing some self-reflection I think a lot of my need to get the “A” is so that I can show my employer that I mastered the material. What I do not understand is that just because I have an “A” on the transcript do I really know the material? I can pass a test, perform a lab exam, present a good project, but does that really show that I know the material and can apply it to my potential patient? I feel like getting an “A” can be over rated at times. I would rather focus on the learning and mastering the material than on the letter associated with it.

When we focus so much on grades, sometimes we forget to learn.
When we focus so much on grades, sometimes we forget to learn.

I feel like getting the proper feedback from a professor can make all the difference in how I feel about the letter grade. If the professor tells me both positive feedback and constructive feedback as to why and where my points were deducted I feel better about my overall score because I know how I could have improved and continue to make changes to show that I am learning the material. The thing that frustrates me the most is when I get no feedback, positive or constructive, about the work that I do. How am I supposed to know what I am doing well or what I can do to improve? I understand that it is a balance. There is always room for improvement and that is why there is school. Getting both the positive and the constructive feedback means more to me than the letter grade.

My Education is MY Responsibility

HAPS is a society focused on the teaching and learning anatomy and physiology, but educators are just half of this equation.  We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our students.  Check out the second post in a series of HAPS blog posts featuring A&P student extraordinaire, Becca Ludwig.  

A message from Becca!
A post from Becca!

When I was in high school I had a history teacher that was passionate about his subject and his job. The one thing that I remember the most about him and his class is the poster on the wall that read “your education is your responsibility”. He opened the class with his speech about the poster. The speech went along the premise of: it is the student’s job to learn, it is the teacher’s job to facilitate the learning.

His view of his grade book looked like this: if a student failed his course it was because the student did not take the responsibility to get the help they needed, not his fault for failing them. Each semester this speech runs through my mind when things get hard. It is my job as a student to take the responsibility for my learning. I feel like so many students miss this concept.

  1. It is not the professor’s fault I did not understand the material and failed the test. I should have asked the questions.
  2. It is not my computer’s fault for crashing the night before my paper is due and I still have half of it left to write. I should have started it earlier and saved it in more than one location.
  3. It is not Wikipedia’s fault that I got misinformation. I should have cross referenced or not have even used the source at all.
  4. It is not my roommate’s fault for keeping me up at night and not studying. I should have been assertive and said “after my A&P exam I can hang out with you.”
It is time to take responsibility.
It is time to take responsibility.

I am honestly embarrassed to say that many people in my generation are afraid to take responsibility. There is always something or someone to blame.

I know it can be scary to have office hours with a professor. The humbling experience of asking for help is intimidating enough, let alone the fact that professors are super smart in their subject areas and I don’t want to look stupid in front of them. More often than not, I leave the office more relaxed knowing that I am on the path to success in their class. In fact, correct me if I am wrong, isn’t it a professor’s JOB to answer questions for students? Students need to learn to use all of their resources.

When I take the responsibility upon myself to learn the material and grasp the concepts it makes school life so much easier. I find that I can be proud of the work that I did and feel a real sense of accomplishment towards mastering the course. So here is a call to action for every student. Take the responsibility to learn because it is your responsibility.