Anatomy Lab Expansion Enhances Students’ Experience

A recent expansion to Idaho State University-Meridian’s Treasure Valley Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory (TVAPL) offers space for ICOM’s student-doctors to learn more about the human body.

ICOM has a 40-year agreement with ISU for use of TVAPL. There, ICOM’s first-year medical students perform whole-body dissections on donated bodies, also known as cadavers, during one of the most important courses in medical school — anatomy.

“Anatomy is the foundation of medical education. We have designed a course that is rigorous and heavily clinically oriented,” said Dr. Blaine Maley, Chair of Anatomy at ICOM. “The dissection component is fundamental to a solid understanding of the three dimensional human form, human variation, and pathology. The donors the students dissect are essentially their first patient, and the gift these donors provide to the students’ medical education is priceless and sets an excellent base to build their medical competence.”

The 4,490-square-foot expansion to TVAPL features a specialized laboratory space consisting of the main gross lab, with space for an additional 13 dissection stations (on top of the previous 14 stations in the original lab) equipped with downdraft cadaver tables, as well as a support room for specimen prep. ICOM contributed $2.5 million to the $6.6 million project. 

Working in the anatomy lab is a rite of passage on the journey to becoming physicians; and at TVAPL, ICOM’s student-doctors can work comfortably. This state-of-the-art laboratory utilizes ventilated, down-draft dissection tables, with each station equipped with two surgical lights, a mounted high-definition video camera, and a Mac mini with a 55-inch display. 

“The TVAPL dissection suite is probably the most technologically advanced and safest anatomy lab in the world, and I would challenge you to find something more impressive,” Dr. Maley said “The digital technology makes possible our next-generation, ICOM-published dissector that guides their laboratory work, and includes access to online content and anatomy and imaging applications. The safety concerns including exceptional ventilation and down draft tables make the lab a pleasure to work in. In combination, the result is a dissection and educational experience that is second to none.”

Administrators at ISU-Meridian estimate that more than 1,800 students — including ICOM students — will come through TVAPL this year alone.

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