Ember-on-duty: Alyssa Gayle Idong
Photos by Grazl Jhozanne Resurreccion
The Davao Medical School Foundation is renowned for producing competent and top-tier medical professionals in the nation, and in order to generate the best, the institution also invests in its instructional resources. One of its top-notch facilities is the 𝐀𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐲 𝐋𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐌𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐮𝐦.
According to 𝐃𝐫. 𝐉𝐞𝐟𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐲 𝐏𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐫𝐨, the head of the Anatomy Museum, cadavers for dissection are becoming increasingly scarce due to the steady increase in the DMSF student population, and more medical schools are opening in various areas of Mindanao.
“The initial idea was to put up a ‘functional museum’ with good quality specimens that students could use for their lab class,” Dr. Peligro said.
He added that these new anatomy materials have been incorporated into the students’ lab activities. However, the old anatomy lab can no longer accommodate the growing collection. Thus, the department decided to refurbish the facility and started the renovations as soon as the pandemic struck, just in time for the upcoming academic year.
Although it was not originally intended to open the museum to the general public due to the loaded schedules of gross anatomy and neuroanatomy classes, DMSF alumni and students from various departments and year levels are permitted to visit in small groups.
“We are still trying to find time when to accommodate other visitors without disturbing lab classes. Important matters, including fees, rules, and regulations, need to be drafted, so we really don’t have an exact timeline as to when the facility will be open to the public, ” he said.
A few of the museum’s exhibits are the virtual cadaver, also known as the Anatomage, and the 3D virtual anatomy software (body map), both from the US, and the well-preserved plastinated cadavers from China and Germany.
“We were already planning to acquire alternative learning materials that could complement cadavers way back 10 years ago. Whenever we visit medical schools abroad, we would look at their facilities and try to get ideas on how to improve our own. Around six years ago, with the blessing and support of former Dean Petronilo Basa and former President Dr. Jonathan Alegre, we started the acquisition of all this equipment we have,” he said.
The many medical institutions they visited in Europe and Asia, particularly Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan, King’s College in London, and Kawasaki Medical School in Japan, served as inspiration in constructing the anatomy museum.
The department still intends to purchase additional specimens, specifically celiac, superior and inferior mesenteric dissection of the abdomen, as well as different neuro-anatomy specimens. With the support of Dean Erwin Hontiveros and President Atty. Alberto Rafael Aportadera, the department is hopeful for more improvements and advancements in the years to come.
The techniques and resources we employ to learn are evolving, but so are the ways in which we, as people, learn. With the advent of constant change, education has progressed by leaps and bounds. The Davao Medical School Foundation and the Department of Anatomy have shown that investing in the best teaching resources has a significant positive impact on students’ learning.