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Hands-On Everything at PCC’s HALC

It’s hard to imagine anatomy students having it any better than they’ve got it at Pueblo Community College in Colorado.

The key?

Human Anatomy Learning Center. (Or HALC, pronounced hal-cee, for short.)

The other key?

HALC coordinator Lynne Ross, who designs and schedules experiential classes for every learning need on a customized basis.

Yes, customized.

She’ll ask an instructor, “what are your learning objectives?” And “what do students know and not know?”

Then, she designs an activity.

For example, Occupational Therapy Assistant and Medical Office Technician students might build in clay, learning how muscles attach and how they contract.

Or Physical Therapy Assistant students might move through a series of stations studying the rotator cuff, including building the complex structure using the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System.

The HALC core philosophy is grounded in the idea of teaching using multiple methods—human cadavers, digital cadavers (the Anatomage table) and the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System.

“It’s by design,” says Ross. “We're trying to get them to see it over and over and over again. Each time with a little bit of different twist to just drive it home.”

The HALC serves a wide variety of career-focused academic strand-

Nursing. Nurse Aid. Radiologic Technician. Respiratory Care Therapist. EMS. Paramedics. Behavioral Health Counselor. Law Enforcement. Fire Academy. The aforementioned Occupational Therapy Assistant and

Physical Therapy Assistant, Dental Hygiene. Phlebotomy. Pharmacy Technician. Surgical Technology. And Cosmetology.

Yes, aestheticians need anatomy, too. They need to know about the skin the face and the pores. Nail techs need to know about the anatomy of the human fingernail. Ross uses the Anatomy in Clay® Models to build the layers of skin and they build the arrector pili muscle, too. At a cadaver station, they will learn to distinguish between the dermis, the hypodermis, and epidermis.

“They're destructing and constructing,” says Ross. “And I think the combination of those is where the real learning occurs.”

The HALC, says Ross, a self-described “anatomy geek,” is designed to approach anatomy from “experiential, hands-on, student-centered” learning. There are mannequins that simulate conversations with patients (for instance, they can be programmed to have a seizure or heart attack). Students ride ambulances if they are in the EMT or EMS programs. OTA students go out into the field and work with professionals.

Ross has staged craniotomies, hip replacements, and knee replacements for students to observe (with the “operations” performed on a cadaver). “They will never forget it,” says Ross.

We think she’s right about that.

And the same will likely be true for anyone learning at the HALC and PCC!

Listen to Lynne on the latest Anatomy in Clay® Learning System podcast—video here, audio here. The audio is also available via all major podcast platforms.






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