2017 HAPS-Thieme Award for Excellence in Teaching

Each year Thieme supports great teaching by supporting one of the largest scholarships that HAPS awards.  This is always a very difficult award to give, because HAPS is full of amazing educators.  This year’s winner was also the 2017 Conference Chair and hosted the conference at the University of Utah.  We all congratulate Mark Nielsen on his amazing teaching.  You can read more about Mark below.

Anne Kaiser of Thieme and HAPS President Terry Thompson with Mark Nielsen (center)


Mark Nielsen is a professor of anatomical sciences at the University of Utah where he has taught a wide variety of anatomy courses for the past thirty years. His teaching expertise includes comparative vertebrate anatomy, embryology, neuroanatomy, human anatomy, histology, and the history of anatomy. He has taught anatomy to over 30,000 students, which include undergraduates, medical students, physician assistant students, and massage therapy students. In teaching this diverse population of students he has been recognized as one of the outstanding teachers at the University, where he has received every recognized teaching award from both students and colleagues, some of them multiple times. He has also received a number of national teaching awards. He teaches demanding courses that exact high expectations of his students, but he teaches them how to navigate the details of anatomy through an understanding of principles and patterns of developmental and comparative anatomy. He loves to see students eyes light up as they learn to consume large quantities of information with the elegant patterns he shares with them. He has trained approximately 1,500 teaching assistants through his anatomy teaching program, many who have gone on to become outstanding teachers. He is also the author of numerous nationally and internationally recognized anatomy textbooks and software programs.


Don’t forget that as part of their support for HAPS members, Thieme offers 30% off and free shipping on their products using the code HAPS30 at checkout

2017 Gail Jenkins Award for Teaching and Mentoring

With the support of Wiley, the Gail Jenkins Award recognizes an A&P instructor who inspires students and colleagues alike.  This year the winner was first-time conference attendee Richelle Monaghan.   You can read more about Richelle below.

Maria Guarascio from Wiley, Richelle Monaghan, and HAPS President Terry Thompson


Richelle Monaghan joined Wilfrid Laurier University as an Assistant Professor in 2012 as the Head of Science Programming for the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) in Public Health, and was cross-appointed with the Department of Biology in 2014. Richelle completed her Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Waterloo in 2011 by developing cell culture models to study intracellular fungal parasites. She is currently the elected Chair of Parasitism, Immunity and Environment (PIE) for the Canadian Society of Zoologists. Prior to graduate school, Richelle was in private practice for 15 years as a regulated health care provider with a clinical focus on pain management. In this role, she gained strategies to explain anatomical and physiological concepts to her patients in ways that were relevant to them, and has continued to use these techniques for her students over the years. Richelle is an avid canoeist and enjoys traveling with her family.

2017 Sam Drogo Award winners

Wes Colgan, Arianna Boulet, and Rachel House from ADInstruments with the award winners

In 2017 ADInstruments funded three Sam Drogo Awards, supporting excellence in the classroom.  As usual, the ADInstruments team came out in force to support HAPS and this amazing group of instructors who have distinguished themselves with their use of technology in the classroom.


DayLESLIE DAY earned her B.S. in Exercise Physiology from UMass Lowell, an M.S. in Applied Anatomy & Physiology from Boston University, and a Ph.D. in Biology from Northeastern University. She currently works as an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences at Northeastern University with her main teaching role in upper level Gross Anatomy and Neuroanatomy courses, but still loves teaching her introductory anatomy course. She has received five teaching awards at the university, including the coveted University Excellence in Teaching Award. She is also a digital author for the Hole’s Anatomy & Physiology and  Hole’s Essentials of Anatomy &  Physiology textbooks. Her current research focuses on the effectiveness of different teaching pedagogies, including the flipped-classroom and various technology. She brings her love for anatomy and quest for trying new technology into the classroom to make for a dynamic evidence-based teaching style that is friendly to all students.

HurtBarbekka (Barb) Hurtt received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Colorado, where I first gained experience teaching undergraduates. Since then, I’ve worked both in and out of academia, largely focused on technology integration and implementation into undergraduate natural sciences content. I am currently an Assistant Professor-Teaching in the University of Denver Biological Sciences department, although I’ve also taught at the medical school and graduate health professions levels as well. Throughout my career I’ve utilized numerous different technologies in my courses and labs, with the aim of integrating constructive and meaningful resources to improve the educational process for students and faculty alike. My current technology undertaking focuses on student-directed 3D simulation in the human anatomy labs as one component of a multi-modality lab education experience. We use the Visible Body Human Anatomy Atlas in the zSpace 3D system on a weekly basis, in addition to dissection and modeling in the labs. Students drive the 3D simulations during the learning experience, and additionally use them to “peer-teach” the other students in their lab sections. The purpose of implementing the 3D system is multi-faceted, but overall has received positive reviews from students. An IRB approved educational research study is underway to evaluate the impact of this technology on student learning, retention, and educational engagement.

LiuHe Liu is an assistant professor at Gannon University. He teaches Animal Physiology and lab, introductory Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Research Methods in Biology courses in the Biology Department. His research is on the molecular basis of learning and memory, and physiological effects of environmental contaminants.

The HAPS Goodbye

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

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!

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

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
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.