The Anatomy Outreach Project at VCOM was designed to introduce young people from underserved areas to the anatomical sciences and educate the community about the role of anatomical science in osteopathic medical education. The goal is to stimulate interest in science for local youth from rural areas. The hands-on experience in the gross anatomy lab is a way to introduce youth, from target areas, to the true science of anatomy and careers in and related to medicine. As part of a school sponsored field trip, students from rural high schools spend time in the anatomy lab learning about the human body. Medical student volunteers facilitate the experience and answer questions related to anatomy and their experience learning the specifics of osteopathic medicine. Annually, over 550 students have the opportunity to learn through this unique hands-on activity. High school educators who participated in this project plan to make the VCOM anatomy lab visit part of their class activities in the future.
An additional component (2008) was the Anatomy Summer Enrichment Experience (SEE). Over 40 high school and rising college freshmen participated in a week long anatomy immersion experience comprised of numerous hands-on activities in the anatomy lab and library.
Participants spent time learning what is normal and what diseased human organs look like. Topics related to health and healthy living were discussed, and compared with diagnostic images of unhealthy organs and systems. Participants researched topics related to the benefits of a healthy diet and healthy behaviors and presented their findings to the group. The week-long project was culminated with the “Anatomy Jeopardy” in which teams competed for prizes.