First-year students at NYU School of Medicine were introduced to a pioneering online 3D interactive virtual human body called the BioDigital HumanTM. This unique educational experience supplements the traditional use of human cadavers in anatomy instruction by allowing students to both view and interact with realistically simulated 3D organs and other anatomical structures. This technology is just one way NYU School of Medicine provides its students cutting-edge, web-based learning environments to break the lockstep of traditional medical education.
Anatomy students view the life-size digital content displayed on a projector screen in NYU School of Medicine's anatomy lab using sophisticated consumer-grade 3D glasses. They also use laboratory iPads to magnify and explore the models in great detail. Similar to experiencing a 3D film, viewing the graphics stereoscopically provides the illusion of depth and greater appreciation for the 3D models and their relationship to each other. This immersive, virtual reality set-up is an unprecedented 3D anatomy installation at NYU School of Medicine and is now available to its students and faculty. The 3D models of human anatomy were developed by NYU School of Medicine's Division of Educational Informatics and BioDigital Systems LLC, then packaged and deployed in the BioDigital Human platform.
"Students always remember their first cadaver because it brings to life the science they've so fervently studied. The BioDigital Human builds upon this experience by allowing the class to explore anatomical structures in more detail and further their connection with human anatomy," said Steven B. Abramson, MD, senior vice president and vice dean for Education, Faculty and Academic Affairs at NYU School of Medicine. "With just a few clicks students can zoom in on an organ, spin it to view from any perspective, reveal and hide layers of muscle, bone, and nerves and use tools to dissect or analyze it as you would with a CT scan. Using this new technology, students and residents can now train in and out of the classroom to practice until they achieve mastery."
Growing challenges to traditional medical education and dramatic changes in the healthcare delivery system are prompting curricular reform projects in medical education. NYU School of Medicine is engaged in an innovative new curriculum entitled C21, the Curriculum for the 21st Century. As part of this curriculum, the school is taking full advantage of computer-assisted instruction innovations and new capabilities of web-based digital applications to drive the evolution of medical education. Teaching will rely heavily on new web-based modules, computer-assisted instruction, and simulation, as well as increased collaborative teaching and learning among scientists, physicians, nurses, and other health professionals.