Summer meeting of the Anatomical Society (AS) and the British Association of Clinical Anatomists (BACA): The Anatomy of Learning

steve (2)The Anatomical Society, as have many professional bodies in recent years, has developed an active education focus that runs alongside its scientific activities to promote teaching of the discipline and support the increasing number of its members who are taking a major role in teaching.  The Education Committee of the Anatomical Society has been in existence for more than fifteen years and has been playing an ever more active role in Society affairs.  An important part of the activities of the Education Committee has been the organising of education events at all Society meetings together with periodic meetings solely focussed on education.  The Society meeting in Brighton, held jointly with BACA, had a predominantly education focus with Symposia on the anatomy of learning, ultrasound in anatomy education, near peer teaching, digital learning and an education symposium organised by BACA.  Alongside this were scientific sessions on topographical anatomy and a symposium on structural and functional changes occurring in the brain during learning.

Newcastle well represented

The summer meeting of the AS and BACA was held at Brighton and Sussex Medical School between the 19th-21st July 2016. Newcastle was well represented. Debra Patten and Steve McHanwell presented the results of some of their recent work on spatial learning of anatomy in dental students while Iain Keenan presented more findings from his work on improvements in anatomy knowledge using a novel cyclical artistic learning process.  Iain, who has also been recently elected to serve on the Council of the Anatomical Society, also ran a workshop with colleagues from Southampton and Brighton and Sussex Medical Schools on use of social media in teaching.

The importance of ultrasound as a teaching tool

Other highlights of the meeting included an excellent overview by Richard Drake (lead author of Gray’s Anatomy for Students) on ultrasound as a teaching tool in anatomy.  In his talk Richard described to the meeting how important this new technique was becoming and how vital it was that students were introduced to the methodology at an early stage not least because of the new perspectives it can give in anatomy.  These points were then reinforced by the other speakers in the symposium.  Near peer teaching is also attracting a great deal of interest and its potential for developing anatomy teaching was the subject of another workshop.

150 years of the Journal of Anatomy

At this meeting the Society also celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the first publication of the Journal of Anatomy, the first Journal of the Society.  This issue (volume 229 No. 1) contains two fascinating articles by Gillian Morris-Kay from Oxford and a former editor of the journal on its history and from Susan Standing Editor in Chief of Gray’s Anatomy, on a history of the development of topographical anatomy.  Both are strongly recommended.

Further details of the meeting and the full programme can be viewed at: Abstracts 2016.pdf

Steve McHanwell, School of Medical Education

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