By Wendy Sarubbi | July 14, 2014 4:00 pm

The American Association of Clinical Anatomists capped off its 2014 national convention July 12 with a day-long instructional session at the College of Medicine’s state-of-the-art Anatomy Lab. Anatomy educators and clinicians from across the world spent the week at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort, presenting research, holding discussion forums and participating in instructional sessions on the best ways to teach anatomy at medical schools.

The Anatomy Lab session focused on the base of the brain, vasculature and cranial nerves and was led by medical school neurosurgeons. Participants were impressed by everything from the lab’s high-tech teaching tools to its naturally lit location – on the fourth floor of the medical school overlooking a nature preserve.

“The lab is beautiful, it has so much equipment and monitors, that they can accommodate many of us in here at the same time,” said Dr. Anne Agur, an associate professor of anatomy at the University of Toronto School of Medicine. “We really wanted to come here today to learn clinical anatomy, and bring some of those features back to our students and residents.”

Most of the participants are educators, many of whom teach anatomy via images in a textbook. The session at UCF offered them a chance to see the human brain through an endoscopic camera and shown on flat screens throughout the lab with expert explanations from neurosurgeons and College of Medicine faculty, Drs. Mike Bellew, Melvin Field and Ravi Gandhi. As dozens of attendees gathered around the screens, The neurosurgeons pointed demonstrated the anatomy to the attendees. The demonstrations were captured as digital video for the attendees to take back to their respective medical schools for educational purposes.

Dr. Field recalled his own time in medical school, when head and neck anatomy was his hardest subject. Years later, it has become his favorite. “The thing about anatomy is, areas that you find the most challenging today, could end up being the very thing that provides passion for you to get out of bed every morning,” he said. “Many medical school students seek out that challenge because they’re looking for a career path that keeps them energized and eager to come to work every day.”

Because medicine is changing so fast, anatomists must continue to stay up-to-date on new advancements and discoveries. That spirit was evident throughout the AACA meetings, as participants eagerly learned from one another. “Every day there is so much new development, this is so exciting for me,” said Dr. Bushra Kamal, a physician at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom. “Clinicians and anatomists need to combine efforts to have a complete proper approach to diseases.”

For two participants, the anatomy session was a family affair. Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery Dr. James Sanders Jr. attended the session with his son, James Sanders III. The son will will be attending the UCF College of Medicine next month, as a first-year student. Dr. Sanders calls his son’s budding medical career “a dream come true.” Throughout the session, the father-son duo were easily spotted in their matching green scrubs, as Dr. Sanders pointed out specific anatomy on the screen and explained it to his son. “I’ve always loved coming here with my dad over the past few years,” the younger Sanders said. “It really allows me to see what I’m going to be doing here, within the clinical aspect.”

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