An Innovative Approach to Anatomy Education in a Dpt Program: A Pilot Study
Purpose/Hypothesis: Anatomy education, as a part of graduate medical and allied health professions programs has historically been taught using cadaveric dissection. As technology has advanced, more alternatives to traditional, dissection based cadaveric anatomy have become available. In this pilot study, an innovative, multimodal approach to anatomy education is presented, where a digital cadaveric dissection (Anatomage, San Jose CA, USA) and a selection of plastinated cadaveric materials (von Hagens, Guben, Germany) were utilized to educate entry level DPT students. Number of Subjects: The subjects were 31 first-year DPT students. Materials and Methods: The Anatomage and plastinated cadaveric materials were mainly used as the laboratory component for the first year anatomy course. To assess student anatomy knowledge before and after the course was assessed utilizing a standardized comprehensive exam from the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS, LaGrange, GA, USA). The exams were administered in a pretest – posttest format. Results: Utilizing a paired samples t-test, the scores for the posttest (M=58.1) were found to be significantly different (p<0.001) from the pretest scores (M=46.9). Anecdotally, students reported positive impressions of the multimodal approach, describing the ease of use of the anatomage table and the impactful representation of the anatomy with the plastinated cadaver. Conclusions: Students demonstrated improvement in anatomy knowledge over the course of two semesters of anatomy using the Anatomage table and plastinated cadaveric material. Clinical Relevance: This novel multimodal approach combines the benefits of two alternatives to traditional cadaver-based anatomy. A multimodal approach such as this would allow for an anatomy class to be held without the need for a wet cadaver lab. The study described here merits further research.