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Hobart students can dissect virtual cadaver with new tool

Jul 09, 2023Jul 09, 2023

Hobart High School health care pathway students will be able to study anatomy and physiology this year with a new 3D virtual dissection tool more commonly found in medical schools.

School board members watched a demonstration of the new Anatomage Table recently that the district was able to purchase with two grants totaling about $92,000, including a $22,205 grant from the Hobart Redevelopment Commission.

The board first saw the 3D table at an Indiana School Boards Association vendor fair where the company is beginning to showcase it to school districts for workforce-related programs.

Superintendent Peggy Buffington said health care professions make up the fastest growing pathway segment at the high school with about 400 to 500 students enrolled in courses.

Since 2018, Hobart has been among state leaders in the dual credit Early College High School program, led by the University of Indianapolis’ Center of Excellence in Leadership and Learning.

The district calls its program Hobart University.

It offers schools of health and natural sciences; business services, information technology; human services; communication fine arts, engineering and industrial technology.

School City of Hobart technology director Christopher King, right, demonstrates how to use the high school's new Anatomage Table to dissect a 3D cadaver. (Carole Carlson/Post-Tribune)

Since 2018, Buffington said Hobart students have racked up 38,011 college credits and saved about $5.8 million in college costs.

Last year, the state Department of Education launched a new $4.1 million program that connects established Early College High Schools, like Hobart, with urban schools seeking to earn the same distinction. The state’s aim with the COVID-19 relief money is to increase access to postsecondary courses.

Hobart High is among four state mentor schools. Buffington said Hobart is working with the Gary West Side Leadership Academy, Hammond Central and Arsenal Tech in Indianapolis.

The small group of board members and residents who viewed the 7-foot long Anatomage Table last week couldn’t believe its versatility and possibilities.

Buffington said the Anatomage Table can show students what hardened arteries look like and other medical maladies and it can tell what medicines to prescribe. “This is the real thing,” she said.

It offers life-size versions of two male and two female bodies, just as they would look on a fresh cadaver. It also can display dogs, cats and other animals. It even has archaeological files with 3D mummies. All without the smelly chemicals usually associated with cadavers.

Students are able to make incisions anywhere on the cadaver and remove structures layer-by-layer from the skeleton to skin.

Hobart technology director Christopher King showed off some of the tool’s different functions, slicing off the top of the skull and exposing the inside of the brain.

“It’s amazing. It’s a tool that will send our kids to the next level,” said board member Sandra Hillan. “The way they can investigate further and the 3D part of it. They wouldn’t get that experience even if they had a real cadaver.”

Board member Rikki Guthrie, who’s a nurse, said the information students will gain from manipulating and dissecting the 3D cadaver is invaluable.

“It gives our students an advantage — early exposure to lessons that are available to college students. It’s hands-on, collaborative and interactive, providing experiences that I personally would have loved as a high school student. I think this table could really help students figure out if the health care field is for them,” said Guthrie.

Carole Carlson is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.