Students Learn Anatomy with High-Tech Table

March 01, 2019

Contact: Mark Gunderman, Communications Specialist

Chippewa Valley Technical College

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Students Learn Anatomy with High-Tech Table

CVTC’s Anatomage Table like a virtual reality dissection

Chippewa Falls, WI – In Julia Brown’s Healthcare Academy classroom a plastic skeleton in the front of the room seems to gaze down at something that is quickly making it obsolete as a visualization aid. The students at the Chippewa Valley Technical College Chippewa Falls campus don’t give the skeleton a look as they cycle through life-size, high definition electronic images of various internal systems of a real human cadaver shown on a high-tech tabletop.

The Anatomage Table arrived in early February, giving the students from Fall Creek, Bloomer, Cornell and Altoona high schools who are enrolled in the CVTC Healthcare Academy classes the most technically advanced way to study human anatomy available. It’s the same technology being used at advanced medical schools around the world.

“It’s like a virtual reality dissection table,” said Brown, CVTC’s instructor for the academy. “We can look at the digestive system, the respiratory or cardiovascular system – any system in the body and turn it around to look at in different ways.”

The system images can be viewed alone or overlapped with any or all other systems. Individual organs can be viewed and cross sections of tissue examined.

The system has stored information from four real human cadavers, Brown said. It was made by scanning images of the bodies as a layer-by-layer dissection took place, giving a complete three-dimensional view of every system and organ.

The $90,000 table was purchased with a grant to CVTC Foundation, Inc. from Rutledge Charities, Inc. in Chippewa Falls to support the expansion of high school academies. The academies provide opportunities for high school students to gain college credits through a cluster of classes on a particular subject and also provide the students with an industry-recognized certification. The CVTC credits also count toward high school graduation and count toward full programs at CVTC.

In the Healthcare Academy, the students earn 14 credits and Certified Nursing Assistant credentials.

“We are going to use the Anatomage Table to learn anatomy,” Brown said. “The students can see what it would look like in a real human body. They can also see how everyone is unique on the inside.

People’s organs can be different sizes. We have a cadaver with a growth on a bone and one with a broken sternum.”

Cailey Sorensen, one of six Fall Creek High School students enrolled in the academy said she has never seen an actual human cadaver. “This is as close as you can get to a real cadaver,” she said. “It was a little overwhelming at first. This is more detailed than the plastic models.”

Sorensen added she is learning a lot from the table and in the academy classes. After graduation, the senior says she plan to enroll in CVTC’s Nursing-Associate Degree program and later pursue a bachelor’s degree and eventually become a nurse practitioner.

“I have always been interested in healthcare,” Sorensen said. “I want to help people in times of injury and illness.”

“It’s surprising how much is in the Anatomage Table,” said Lydia Culver, a senior at Bloomer High School. “You can dissect the body and look at the different parts in depth. Before we were using books and plastic models. This is more real life and you can change it to what you want to look at.”

Culver is planning to attend CVTC after graduation and make use of her Healthcare Academy credits. “I want to go into nursing and this academy gives you the classes you need in the CVTC program.”

Brown said showcasing the Anatomage Table for other students not enrolled in the academy is being explored. “We would like to showcase it for the community,” she said.

With over 95 programs and both online and on-campus classes, Chippewa Valley Technical College delivers superior, progressive technical education which improves the lives of students, meets the workforce needs of the region, and strengthens the community. CVTC programs are designed with input of business and industry to prepare graduates for today’s jobs, with 93 percent employed within six months of graduation and associate degree graduates earning an average annual salary of $44,000.