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The HAPS Goodbye

30 May

Smiles, hugs, beer, science
Exhaustion, excitation
HAPSters say goodbye.
-The deadline poet

Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.
-Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet [Act II, Scene 2]


A message from the HAPS Western Regional Director, John Jackson.

A message from the HAPS Western Regional Director, John Jackson.

It’s in the books.  It’s finito. It’s all done.  The 31st Annual HAPS conference over. If this conference was a carnival, it would be shutting down the rides, closing the booths, and pulling up the tent-stakes. Next stop: Columbus, Ohio in 2018.

We’re bleary and weary on this last morning, and saddened already from having said (and having still to say) so many goodbyes. It’s not easy – now or ever.  But we will meet again – and I’m already looking forward to next year. Having had the pleasure of teaching with the 2018 Conference Coordinators Melissa Quinn and Jennifer Burgoon this past year, I know they have some amazing things in store for us in Columbus. Saying goodbye to them is really more about anticipating the upcoming conference, and all that’s in store there.

As you know, every HAPS meeting is really two meetings in one. This doubles the number of goodbyes. The update seminars at the conference location headquarters re-introduce us to our dear friends among the exhibitors –those vendors and publishers, big and small– whose support and presence make the HAPS Annual Conference possible. The vendors are with us for two days, and then we have to say the first set of goodbyes. Then during and after our educational workshops, more HAPSters come and slip away quietly, until those who stick it out until the very end have this strange mixture of separation anxiety and survivor’s guilt at being on the last bus back to the hotel.

Perrotti and Jackson, Salt Lake City 2017

Perrotti and Jackson, Salt Lake City 2017

Bill Perrotti is among those who gets hit hard by the goodbyes. It’s as though he’s a camp counselor who can’t let his charges go at the end of the week. When it’s time to say goodbye, Bill seems to forget the excitement and energy he has shown at each and every first timer’s breakfast since 2002 (the Paleozoic era of HAPS conferences). He embodies the welcoming spirit of HAPS. He is quick to remind everyone of the enduring friendships and academic collaborations in his life due to his involvement in HAPS. Perhaps he forgets all of that good stuff when it’s time to say goodbye (perhaps it’s his age). But it’s always hard to say goodbye to Bill.

A quick shout-out to Sally Jo Detloff, who reminded me in the elevator that “we’re only an email away.”  She’s right, of course.

So let’s commit ourselves to maintaining contact, to the sharing of ideas and insights, and to acknowledging the sources of our inspirations and frustrations with our fellow HAPSters in the weeks and months ahead. More than anyone can or has adequately described – this close collegiality and sharing is truly what makes the HAPS Conference so very special as a face-to-face experience. Nonetheless – the bonds of friendship and scholarship (otherwise known as “science geekdom”) that work so powerfully in person can be sustained by reaching out through a call or an email to say:

“Hey, I tried that thing in class today and thought of you when a student finally got it. Thanks for the help.”  

By recognizing others, reaching out, and thanking our colleagues, we can avoid the goodbyes that make HAPS Conferences so bittersweet…to the point that we’re not really saying goodbye at all. Instead, we’re keeping the warm “hello” that begins each HAPS meeting moving and working through our academic lives until our next meeting.

Happy trails –until we meet again!

2018- We'll see you in Columbus!

2018- We’ll see you in Columbus!

What HAPS Means to Me

22 May

Becca Ludwig is an experienced HAPS blogger and brought us a series of five posts in March 2015 from the A&P student perspective.  Now we get to hear from her again, this time as successful graduate!  

A message from Becca!

A message from Occupational Therapist, Becca Ludwig.

I joined HAPS because my close mentor and A&P instructor encouraged me to attend the annual conference in Jacksonville Florida in 2014.  I was eager to jump at the chance.  Through many conversations with this particular professor, she saw that I had a desire to one day follow in her footsteps and teach A&P.  She was the first person who told me that I could teach.  It was not until then that I thought of being a professor as a career choice.

When I first attended the annual conference in 2014, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a strong network to support every member, including me. I was only a grad student at the time and just diving into my love for A&P and teaching. I did not think that there was much that I could offer.  

13003342163_bda5ee5094_bIt was at this conference that I really started to seriously consider the possibility of becoming a professor. Everywhere I turned, I met or found new resources that could help me reach my goal.  There were amazing speakers, insightful and supportive colleagues, and interesting poster presentations. After the conference, I joined the Communication Committee and have enjoyed reading and writing blogs, finding the Friday funny for Facebook, reading into the histology challenge, and keeping up with the latest HAPS news.  I was integrated into the HAPS community and welcomed with open arms.

This unique network has connected me to so many people and opportunities and I am grateful to be taking advantage of this support. I can come to the annual conference and listen to perspectives and learn about potential routes to reach my ultimate goal of teaching.   It does not matter if someone is a first year professor or a veteran…everyone is open to learning new things and sharing their experiences.  This is what makes HAPS great!

The 2017 Conference App!

15 May
A message from the HAPS Executive Director, Peter English.

A message from the HAPS Executive Director, Peter English.

Last year we had a post detailing all the features in the 2016 conference app, as well as some video tutorials.  Most of that post is still correct for the 2017 app (so take a look here), but every year we add some cool new features.  Instead of focusing on the absolute TON of information contained in the app, we’re going to focus on the new things.

This is the activity feed as it will be projected on the wall. Good reason to add a photo to your profile!

You will still open the app to the ACTIVITY FEED.  This year you have the option of having your posts to our private feed also cross-post to other social media like Facebook and Twitter (only your posts – each person controls his/her content).  You’ll also get points for posting, liking, being liked, etc on the feed.  Last year people earned points, but they were kind of pointless points because no one could see them.  This year you can see them on the leaderboard in the PEOPLE tab, which includes everyone who creates a profile in the app.  Don’t forget that those profiles allow people to look you up after the conference and keep in touch, so it is worth putting some contact info there.

Lots of HAPSters are already earning points!

This year we have added cool twist to the ACTIVITY FEED:  We are going to project feed on a big screen where everyone can see it.  We’re thinking that will be in the coffee and snack area, but that could change if we find a better place for it.  It should be fun to watch the posts rolling in without having to hunch over a small screen.

Of course the SCHEDULE and PRESENTERS are all in the app – and from the schedule you can RATE the sessions and give feedback about what you liked best.  Since we can edit the session information in real time, the schedule will be correct in the app even if the change only happened 20 minutes before.  As with last year, we will also list changes in the NEWS & UPDATES section.

Last year we found out how incredibly useful the GPS MAP can be in navigating around the University campus.  This year workshops will take place in five separate buildings at the University of Utah – all of those buildings are in the GPS map so getting from one to the other is going to be pretty simple.  The hotel and convention center are also in there also in case you feel like walking back at the end of the day without getting lost.

The LOTS MORE INFO tab is bursting with information!

This year the MAPS & FLOORPLANS section includes an extra layer of information.  Tap on the map and the parts of the map that concern HAPS events will light up.  Tap on one of the regions, for example a room in the convention center, and all of the events in that location will be listed.  Looking for the first-timer’s breakfast?  This is the easy way to get there.

So download the app today and see what it can do for you.  The conversation on the Activity Feed is already going, about 75 people have already set up their profiles, and there is lots to see (the LOTS MORE INFO tab now has 18 subsections!).  We hope that you enjoy using it and that it makes a wonderful conference just a little bit nicer.


No smartphone?  No problem.  Most of the features are retained in the the app’s website.

HAPS Teaching Tip: Anatomical Poetry III

7 May
A message from Polly Husmann, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Anatomy & Cell Biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine where she teaches anatomy to medical, graduate, and undergraduate students.

A message from Polly Husmann, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Anatomy & Cell Biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine where she teaches anatomy to medical, graduate, and undergraduate students.

As the final blog post on poetry in anatomy, this week’s poems focus on the experience of anatomy lab. We all know that anatomy labs, especially those that involve cadaveric materials, can be difficult for some students. Our labs do include prosected male and female donors as you will read about below. The following students chose to reflect (quite eloquently!) on their experiences dealing with our donors and the amount of work that Anatomy A215 requires of them.

The Life of an Anatomy Student 
By Haley Simon
I can’t believe it; the end of first semester is here
Thus bringing an end to my anatomy career
A215 has made me laugh, A215 has made me cry
Cry? I mean an overflow of fluid in the lacrimal puncti
In lab I get to practice my skills
Except when I look at the donor’s great omentum, which just makes me ill
To those who guided me along this journey, I can’t thank you any more
You make me want to flex my zygomaticus major

A Glimpse of Mortality
By Abigail Willis
Age:90
Sex: M
Cause of Death: Stroke
I always notice his Ears.
The donor’s body.
His legs. hands. torso.
Are easy to feel distance from.
Examining his internal organs
Elicits no more reaction
Than viewing the plastic parodies
On models around the lab
But his Ears.
I sit beside a hospital bed
Hand grasping another’s
His much more ancient than mine
We talk and laugh
Recalling smiling memories
I take in his wide grin,
His lucid eyes, and flared nares
Feeling confident in his recovery –
Until I spot his Ears.
Age: 88
Sex: M
Cause of Death:
To be Determined

Anatomy Lab
By Sara Sigman
I first walked in at 8 am
And made my way to the very front row
I had had many science labs before this
But what to expect for anatomy, I didn’t know.
Several structures of organs and muscles and nerves
All were strewn about across the stretch of the room
And a half head model showing the parts of the brain
Made me wonder which section we would start on today.
I pulled out my notes with a diagram and pen
And after jotting a few things down I didn’t know how it’d end
To my surprise, they said “Okay, we’re going to call you up by row now”
And my sternocleidomastoid moved my head to that sound.
The metal box opened up and the formaldehyde burned my nose
My heart skipped a beat as my anxiety rose.
“We’re working with cadavers?” I had never seen one before
I walked up tentatively to show my respect for the girl.
And suddenly I was overwhelmed
Overcome by some emotion
Because as I stared at the body
There was the brain plain and open.
And as the other students shrugged it off
And talked about everything they could see
I couldn’t take my eyes off
The brain that once contained memories.
All their knowledge, all their values
Their personality and their beliefs
Were once held in this collection of cells
That was right in front of me.
I was silent for a moment
When I looked at the remains
I saw a person with a job and family
Who felt love, happiness and pain.
They could’ve had children, maybe even a dog
And their heart hurt when their kids went to college for so long
And maybe they traveled the world until they grew old
And maybe they were a rebel who never did what they were told.
You can’t dissect the heart and see how much love it held
And you can’t dissect the brain and watch their favorite memory expel
I was in shock and awe as I looked at these physical parts displayed
That held such intangible things in their day.
All I can say is from that day on I walked away changed
That moment of realization won’t ever go away
And when I donate my body to science when my time comes and my body stays
I’ll hope someone in anatomy can appreciate how incredible our bodies are made.

HAPS Teaching Tip: Anatomical Poetry II

1 May
A message from Polly Husmann, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Anatomy & Cell Biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine where she teaches anatomy to medical, graduate, and undergraduate students.

A message from Polly Husmann, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Anatomy & Cell Biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine where she teaches anatomy to medical, graduate, and undergraduate students.

As a continuation of last week’s blog on poetry in anatomy, this week’s poems focus on different body systems. Many students wrote their poems about different systems or structures of the body. For whatever reason the digestive system seemed to be the most popular (disclaimer: they were asked to keep it professional).

Marvelous Maneuvering Muscles
By Jenn Pence
Your body’s muscles are very strong
They flex and extend all day long
The muscles of your neck can help you shrug
The anterior torso muscles are good for hugs
The abdominal muscles protect your guts
The gluteal muscles shape your butt
The quadriceps femoris help you kick
The glossal muscles can help you lick
The triceps brachii like to punch
The masseter muscles can chew your lunch
The orbicularis oris can give a kiss
And a relaxed urinary sphincter lets you…. pee.

Cortices
By Andrea Schmidt
I have a Motor Speech Area,
That controls how I speak.
I have a Primary Auditory Cortex,
That stores the auditory memories that I wish to seek.
I have a Primary Gustatory Cortex,
That stores taste memories so I can remember my favorite foods.
I have a Primary Motor Cortex,
That controls how my body moves.
I have a Primary Somatosensory Cortex,
That receives senses from my skin, muscles and joints.
I have a Primary Visual Cortex,
That interprets visual images in which my eye points.
I am the Cerebrum.

Pumping
By Sydney DiGregory

Starved for oxygen I flow,
Capillary to venule to vein.
Higher in the body I go,
Through the Vena Cava I drain.

In the Right Atrium I pool,
The contraction fills me with joy.
Right ventricle to lungs for O2 fuel,
I am almost ready to deploy.

Through the pulmonary veins I shove,
Left atrium to ventricle with ease.
Again with the contractions I love,
Finally, into the aorta I squeeze.

All throughout the body I flood,
I am indeed, the tissue, blood.

An American Tragedy
By: Nick Filipek

November 30th, woke up around 11 a.m.
Opening time, Little Caesar’s with my best friends
Always thought my 7 friends would have my back
Until I became part of this dude’s GI tract

I know what you’re thinkin’, I’m just a slice of pizza
But would you seriously want someone to eat ya?
Started in the oral cavity, and down through the pharynx
Wouldn’t even believe the things that I saw in the larynx

Man the esophagus is a long muscular tube
They don’t show you what happens here on youtube
Propelled to the stomach with all that acidity
Felt like I was in that gastric juice for infinity

Chemical digestion was finished in the small intestine
Absolute torture, they really taught me a lesson
From the large intestine I went way down to the anus
Now that I’m gone, I hope I’m finally famous.

I hope you all enjoy the poems- check back next week for poems about the anatomy lab experience!

 

HAPS Teaching Tip: Anatomical Poetry

24 Apr
A message from Polly Husmann, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Anatomy & Cell Biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine where she teaches anatomy to medical, graduate, and undergraduate students.

A message from Polly Husmann, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Anatomy & Cell Biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine where she teaches anatomy to medical, graduate, and undergraduate students.

Inspired by the works of Allan Wolf (2003) and the HAPS annual meeting Synapse presentation of Judi Nath (2016), I wanted to encourage more creativity, and especially poetry, in anatomy.  Thus, in the Fall of 2016, I decided to give an extra credit assignment to my undergraduate anatomy students.

The Course
Anatomy A215: Basic Human Anatomy is a large (400+) undergraduate anatomy class most commonly taken by students that are interested in allied healthcare.  Many of these students have never taken an anatomy class before and may not feel that science is truly their forte’.  The course includes three fifty-minute lectures and two two-hour labs per week for a total of five credit hours.  The course has a total of eight hundred points available and is assessed using four multiple choice examinations for lecture and four examinations with short-answer identification questions for lab.  There are also ten online quizzes, also in multiple choice or matching format.  As such, there is very little room for more creative thought processes.  In addition, twenty points of extra credit are offered each semester.  Sixteen of these are given based on online practice assignments (also multiple choice or matching) that deal with each chapter of the book.  The remaining four extra credit points are then left at the instructor’s discretion.

The Assignment
For two of the discretionary extra credit points, I assigned my students to write a poem.  For the content of the poem, the students were given two options: 1) their favorite anatomical structure or region or 2) a reflective poem on their experience in anatomy.  The poem had to be an original work and was required to be at least eight lines in length.  Rhyming scheme (including presence or absence) was completely up to the student.  They were given ten days to complete the assignment (including the Thanksgiving break) and could turn in via either an e-mail or a hard copy of their poem prior to class.  Ultimately, 207 students turned in a poem.  The following poems are examples of the submissions for this assignment and, I believe, demonstrate the enthusiasm that some students show when given the opportunity to express their creativity (even when only a few points are offered in return!).  Next week we’ll share more!

The Chip I Digested
By Quaniqua Finley
When I ate the first chip
I knew it would be a trip
Down my esophagus, it felt like a rip
I should’ve known better when it burnt my lip
I tried to get some water, just needed a sip
I hopped around the table and through the door
When it ripped my throat, I fell to the floor
Grabbing my stomach the pain made me want no more
Churning and churning mixing about
After absorption I finally got the urge to push it out
What a relief, glad it wasn’t slow
Never again will I eat a Hot Cheeto

Epithelium
By Kyle Doyle
Its purpose is to line.
It is simple or stratified.
It often contains projections that are very fine.
Or it might even be keratinized.
It can absorb and secrete,
Or it can block like a barrier and part ‘em.
Such an incredible feat,
The numerous roles of epithelium.

Do you have a teaching tip you’d like to share?  You can do it here.


Nath, Judi. 2016. “More Than You Bargained For: RAAS and the Transcending Role of ACE Inhibitors.” In Annual Meeting of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society. Atlanta, Georgia.

Wolf, Allan. 2003. The Blood-Hungry Spleen and Other Poems About Our Parts (Candlewick Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts).

Spelling: Why is this so hard?!

17 Apr
warwick2

A message from Nichole Warwick, Clatsop Community College Biology instructor and member of the HAPS Communications Committee.

It’s always amazing to read the list serve posts that arrive in my email box throughout a term- and there seems to be a cycle to them. School starts, we talk about spelling and retention; the end of the term, and we share the interesting things students write on final exams.  September was no different, as peers across the nation shared their emphasis on spelling vs student missing the concept correctly. Some posts suggested it was a lazy student that did not value spelling as a skill.

spelling-2I routinely point out in my class that if a doctor calls for test on the ilium, you want to make sure it isn’t the ileum. This inevitably seems to get some snickers. But this conversation brought me back to when I was a student and the life long  struggle I have had with letters. To this day I misspell things, not because I don’t value it and trust me, it’s flat out embarrassing to ask your students if it “looks” right, but because my brain struggles with letters. Add a panic moment (much like a student on a lab practical) and all of a sudden I have vowels swirling in my head, almost jumping out of my brain at my eyes and spelling just gets difficult. I have moments where e and i, i and e seem to be revolving in my mind and I can’t pick which one comes first and which one comes second.

spelling-1As we master our discipline and become experts in the field, the absurdity of misspelling a word becomes evident. We talk about sloppiness and if a student values spelling. But if we recall what it is like to be a student, to be learning what may amount to the equivalent of a foreign language that is medicine, toss in greek and latin roots, the fact that the study of English from childhood is not very similar to the study of Spanish in which conversations occur on the roots of words, and we are not just teaching the human body; we are teaching language. How many of us have attended a Ken Saladin’s language talk at a HAPS Annual Conference and discovered issues in our own pronunciations? In some cases, the student may be so overwhelmed with what they have to learn, that they prioritize spelling at the end (unless it means points).

My class spends time on what a spelling error may be, versus a conceptual error.  I hold them accountable for spelling and it equates to points missed. They are told they cannot use “fibia” or “tibula” and get credit because this shows a concept error vs a spelling error, and as I continue to wage my own personal battle with spelling, I support them in theirs and recognize that spelling for the novice student may be a bit more complicated than laziness.

The Didactic Advantage of Using the Thiel Method of Embalming

10 Apr
decker

A message from Adam Decker, human anatomy educator in the School of Biological Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA.

As a licensed embalmer since 1992, I have always been fascinated by the preservation of human tissues.  Preservation methods are especially important in the gross anatomy lab where students directly interact with tissues and potentially harmful chemicals. Because of the inherent risks associated with such close exposure and interaction, shouldn’t we explore techniques that might be able to reduce the risks associated with these harmful, potentially carcinogenic compounds?

In 1992, Austrian native Dr. Walter Thiel introduced a soft-fixed embalming procedure that he spent years perfecting by testing it on 1,000 cadavers. As the story goes, he noticed that meats that were cured with brine solution at a local butcher shop had a much more life-like appearance and texture as compared to the grayer and firmer cadavers that were embalmed using traditional formaldehyde. The formula he finally adopted enabled in-situ tissue to have a more pliable and life-like appearance, while it kept the carcinogenic effects to a minimum.

Benefits of Thiel’s technique include:

  • The ability to position limbs and joints within their anatomical limits
  • Reduced exposure to harmful chemicals
  • The presence of antimicrobial and antifungal properties
  • The usage of tissues in vast clinical simulated procedures (i.e. lumbar puncture and laparoscopic procedures)
  • Use of ultrasonography in clinical training and teaching anatomy
  • Odor reduction in the gross anatomy lab
  • A more realistic experience for surgeons when cutting through the skin of a Thiel embalmed body (it is much like cutting through living tissue)

The drawbacks are:

  • Salt solutions can possibly burn and discolor tissues, particularly in regions like the zygoma where some cadavers have little subcutaneous tissue over the malar bone.
  • The Thiel method has histologically changed some cellular arrangement in connective tissues like tendons. Studies involving tensile stress and strain on these tissues may result in inaccurate data.
  • Chemicals utilized are more expensive than traditional formalin fixed bodies.
  • Although longevity is evident in the Thiel fixed body, degradation of tissue may occur sooner than in formalin fixed bodies.

The solution itself is in essence a salt mixture that is arterially injected, just as in the typically prepared formalin cadavers.  This mixture is composed of the following compounds:

  • Ammonium nitrate
  • Potassium nitrate
  • Boric acid
  • Morpholine (fungicidal properties)
  • Sodium sulphite
  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Formalin
  • Ethylene glycol (surfactant)
  • 4-Chloro-3-methylphenol (disinfectant)

In my research, I identified several U.S. institutions that use the Thiel method for preparation, but the majority of U.S. programs are still using standard formalin fixed tissues. The Thiel method, however, is more commonly used in European countries.

Setting the Tone of the Class

3 Apr
warwick2

A message from Nichole Warwick, Clatsop Community College Biology instructor and member of the HAPS Communications Committee.

The start of the new term is always exciting, and on the quarter system, we typically begin spring term in late March. The first week of classes is a great time to set the tone of the class and to get student buy in to the way we teach, though it’s never too late to engage our students. In the past ten years of teaching at a small community college, I have slowly progressed away from the traditional lecture to classroom experiences that I hope will engage and clarify. You might call me a partial “flip” as I try to add new active learning strategies to the classroom, many ideas farmed shamelessly from the annual National HAPS conference. Because it is early in the term, I want to make an impression on the students that A&P is different; unlike any class you have taken before.

As engaging as I think my class is, I still fight for attention from my students as their electronics, devices, and lives draw their minds to other things. While the students wait for my class to start, they are often on their phones, and a few review their notes, but rarely is there engagement and most are not getting into the “A&P State of Mind.”  I was reading an article in document our state educational board OEA sends out and found an interesting tidbit about getting your student’s head in the game and it stimulated me to come up with something to catch their attention every day. Something that puzzles or challenges them and starts them thinking on our subject.

A sword in the belt...who knew it would help us learn about anatomy?

A sword in the belt…who knew it would help us learn about anatomy?

So I showed up with a sword in my belt (it was foam, not a real weapon). I didn’t say a word and went about my business. Eventually someone asked.  Many had wondered. As it was the first week, I have been trying to get them into the habit of asking questions, and it took a few times of asking “Does anyone have a question,” before a student took the bait. “Great question, I’ll show you in a minute.” I used the sword to demonstrate cuts along the planes of the body. Then the students were on their feet and imitating the cuts as I called them out.  We added speed, a little laughter, and had an effective lesson.

This has become my challenge: Can I get my students to wonder how today’s prop, picture, or activity relates to the material?  Some days are easy. Just today I showed up with envelopes holding index cards with some of the important terms for the day on them. We played a modified game of Taboo. One student put the card up to their forehead. The other students then had to describe the word without saying what it started with, or  too much nonsensical rhyming. It was challenging to all students in the group. They had to remember something about the word. My students got into groups as they came into class and played this while other students were arriving.  They were using their before class time to interact, review, laugh and they were thinking about the material for the day. Mission accomplished!

img_4441

Ewwww…definitely engaging!

I have also shown up to class with a cube of jello with noodles in it on a dissection tray- I posted a picture of this to our LMS the night before just to pique their curiosity. One time I brought in a snazzy little raccoon (our school mascot and a soft object) that was passed around the room. The initial student had to answer a review question. When that student finished their answer, the new student with the raccoon had to answer the next question. “What are the 4 types of tissues?” “What is matrix?”

Next week I’ll have three legos I sneak away from my children: three legos will be sitting at the front of the room (or maybe on each table)- one short and flat, one nice and square, and one tall and skinny. I bet at least a few immediately start wondering how this is related to A&P. Do you know?

Please Vote in the Elections for Board Positions!

13 Mar

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:

President-Elect:
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.  

Secretary:
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