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MEC Supplements Education with Virtual Anatomy Table

The idea of being in a cadaver lab could be terrifying for some and exhilarating for others, but the Medical Education Campus of Northern Virginia Community College is offering students a new option to learn about anatomy and physiology through a high-quality, interactive 3D rendering.

NOVA is one of only three community colleges in the Commonwealth of Virginia that offers its Nursing and Allied Health students the opportunity to learn on an actual human cadaver. However, that experience can be enhanced through use of the Anatomage Table, the newest and most technologically-advanced anatomy visualization system available to students in the health fields.

With the new Anatomage Table, instead of standing in front of a table with an actual human cadaver, students can trade the smell of formaldehyde for a digital anatomy library full of over 120 pathological examples. The fun part is, students can observe as they would normally do in an actual cadaver lab, just with less anxiety. The high-resolution automated table is pre-loaded with several 3D features, including full male and female anatomical models uniquely designed to give the illusion that an actual human is positioned on an operating table.

This radiology software is not just a big hit for NOVA students; faculty also enjoy the interactive classroom instruction it offers in a more dynamic fashion.

“Instructors can use the virtual table during classroom lectures because it can connect to projectors as well,” said Don Johnson, anatomy lab manager. “It allows them to take control of the Anatomage Table in their very own classroom, while demonstrating procedural material. I can even create a session and invite an instructor.”

“Students are able to explore anything from bone fractures or to organs, without being exposed to the chemical challenges that normally occur in an actual lab setting,” he added. “This is emerging technology at its finest, and it is available to all NOVA campuses.”

Although the virtual table is an excellent supplement, it is not a replacement for the state-of-the-art cadaver lab that many NOVA students and local high school students have grown to appreciate over the years. A fully-preserved and previously-dissected human cadaver still awaits as a teaching tool during anatomy lab sessions.

Learn more about NOVA’s Anatomy Program.

By: Kristina Ogburn

Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.

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