Resonance is a student-run podcast aimed at showcasing the science at Baylor through the eyes of young professionals. Each episode is written and recorded by students who have a passion for research and the medical community. Guests on the show include both clinical and basic science research faculty who are experts in their fields.
In this episode, Dr. Ming Zhang describes what it takes to run the Baylor College of Medicine anatomy lab and teach hundreds of students every year about the intricacies of the human body.
Behind the Scenes of the Anatomy Lab | Transcript
Erik: And we're here. This is the Baylor College of Medicine Resonance podcast I am one host Erik Anderson.
Brandon: And I am another host, Brandon Garcia.
Jason: And my name is Jason Shiau, one of the writers for today's episode.
Erik: And so today we're gonna be talking with Dr. Ming Zhang who is the director of anatomical science here at Baylor College of Medicine, and we're gonna be talking about what goes into running the anatomy lab here and...and designing the anatomy course for the medical students. But there's probably an important disclaimer that we want to want to let you know beforehand.
Brandon: Just for everyone who's listening, like Erik said we are gonna be talking about the anatomy lab the willed donor program and things like that, so there'll be some talk about death and cadavers and things that go in that nature. So if it's not your cup of tea or if it's something that's triggering for you just go ahead and move on to the next episode, but just know that we treat this with as much respect as we can. This is an amazing program and opportunity for all the students who come through Baylor, whether they're medical students, PA students, residents, orthotics students, all those who are able to have this opportunity to work with anatomy lab. And for those of you who haven't had a chance to go through anatomy yet you'll see what we mean when you experience it yourself, it is a tremendous experience. Yeah, but what's some of the history of anatomy and where is it the practice we have today, where did that come from.
Erik: Yeah, so I can field that. Anatomy itself you know has been around for a long time, and as we know, it was first formalized back in, with a guy named Galan, in the early 1st century AD, BCE. He was largely using animals to dissect because the laws for human dissection during you know Roman times was a lot stricter than they are now and what that ended up doing is that led to people using these writings that Galan put down, they became sort of like dogma in the medical community. And they weren't really reassessed until this guy named Vesalius came along in the 1500s when during the Renaissance dissection laws became a little bit more relaxed, and he was able to you know, largely using criminals, was able to actually relook at Galan's writings and really basically showed that a lot of Gallen stuff that he was pointing out was not correct and then published this big treatise called the De Fabrica. And I bring this up in particular because we actually have I think a second edition of Vesalius' De Fabrica at the DeBakey Museum that's on the Baylor campus, in the Alkek building. So I yeah urge anybody who is listening to this to go check it out because it really is an important piece of history for humankind but also specifically medical practitioners because it set the stage for how we do things today. So yeah, it's an important piece of work.
Brandon: And with Vesalius and the Renaissance came this new interest in anatomy and an evolution and learning of it, they started having these theatres where students could gather around, pay to see someone dissect a body and learn. I remember in my undergrad seeing a painting by Rembrandt, it's called like the dissection by Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, or something of the sort sorry if I butchered that for any art history people. But I just remember it really stuck out to me because it's this painting and this professor has the forearm exposed of this cadaver which was like a criminal or someone that they got somewhere they got a body and they had it shown for everyone to see.
Erik: Yeah I mean it's ...it is amazing and that brings up I think another interesting point that in these times, you know we right now, just to talk about the privilege of our times a little bit more like there were four people on a donor body in the anatomy lab at Baylor. And whereas back you know 400, 500 years ago you'd have one body and it would be maybe like a group of you know countless numbers of people, well not countless, but a lot of people.
Brandon: 20, 30?
Erik: Yeah you'd have these kind of amphitheater-like structures where people would be up in the stands watching one person dissect, and that was how Vesalius taught people, and I think that was the way it was for a lot of history until the modern era.
Jason: Yeah, so that's a little bit about the history of anatomy, so we'll move on to Dr. Ming Zhang. He obtained his MD from Capitol University of Medical Sciences in Beijing China and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Following that he had, he had postdoctoral training at UC Irvine and is currently the professor and director of anatomical science at Baylor College of Medicine.
Jason: Hi Dr. Zhang, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Dr. Zhang: Hi I'm Ming Zhang I have been at Baylor College of Medicine since 2016, so I've been here almost three years. Before coming to Baylor, I was at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, doing research and also teaching human gross anatomy.
Jason: What was your career journey like? Going to Kansas and then coming here?
Dr. Zhang: It's a long kind of untraditional convoluted pathway, I graduated from high school back in 1976, but at that time it was still...it was in China, I was born and grew up in Beijing China. At that time, there was still the Cultural Revolution period, all the universities were closed to all the high school students, so I was forced to go to the countryside for two years after high school. At that time, I didn't know it was two years, we went to the countryside to become a farmer and work with the farmers and work on the land grow crops. But in 1977 Deng Xiaoping the reformer in leader in China decided to open all the universities to all the students in China. So there was a nationwide entrance exam, people, everybody can sign up for it. So I did, then, fortunately, I passed the entrance exam, so I entered the university directly from the farmland, that was back in 1978, so I entered a medical school because I had love for medicine and biology, so I entered at the Capital University of Medical Sciences in Beijing. It was a five-year curriculum, in China is different from the States, so the medical school admit students from high school directly, so and it's a five or six-year curriculum, so I had a five-year curriculum. I graduated at the end of the 1982 with a medical degree, but that's a Bachelor of Medicine equivalent to the MD degree in the States. Then I went to a hospital, I entered a pathology residency program for three and a half years, learned quite a bit about pathology, but at the time the medical degree wasn't a terminal degree in China, so I had to move on so I sit in another exam for master degree of Medicine in a different medical school, also in Beijing. I pass that exam, I entered a master program in anatomy so working toward my master degree, so that give me a chance to learn a human gross anatomy one more time in much more detail in addition to what I have learned in medical school. So I learned Anatomy twice in Chinese, but I didn't finish the master program in China, then I got a chance I applied at that time students wanted to get out of the country, and the United States is the first target of all the Chinese educated intellectuals. So I myself took an action to apply to US schools for graduate school because you can't apply to medical school, but for graduate school, you can get a stipend, research stipend, and you can support yourself at that time a salary of me. As a pathology resident, is like $20 a month so I couldn't support anything for myself I was fortunate again I was admitted by the University of Kansas School of Medicine Department of anatomy as a graduate student. So in 1988 I quit my master program in China and moved to the United States, enter the Ph.D. program in Kansas, in Kansas City, so there I actually finished my Ph.D. with a degree in five years graduated in 1993 and moved down to California at UC Irvine. Did my postdoctoral training for two and a half years, then from UC Irvine I moved to Springfield Missouri entered the Southwest Missouri State University as an assistant professor, a faculty job. About four and a half years in Springfield my Ph.D. advisor from KU Medical School came to me, wanted to recruit me back into the department I graduated from to do research with him and also teach human gross anatomy. Fortunately, when I entered the Ph.D. program in KU Medical School, I learned one more time human gross anatomy in English, together with the medical students, so I learned three times anatomy in my life. That give me a great advantage actually coming back as an instructor in anatomy, so ever since then, I came back to KU Medical School doing research with my Ph.D. advisor and teaching gross anatomy until now actually until I left KU in 2016. So it's a long story.
Erik: I'm curious, so did you...you came upon taking Anatomy courses like you said three times, was that because you wanted to? Or were you in some ways kind of pushed into it?
Dr. Zhang: Yeah, it's some way kind of pushed in. It's not purposefully...well for medical school the first time you have to take it again it's a setup curriculum. For the Ph.D., for the master program, again it's in anatomy department, so it's a setup, required for the curriculum. And back in Kansas when I entered in 1988 the Ph.D. program, it was required again, you are required to take human gross anatomy with medical students. Nowadays, I think most Ph.D. students do not have to take gross anatomy courses, but back then in 1988, we had no choice. So it's not that I'm so smart and can predict what I am using in my career, but I was fortunate.
Jason: Was it pretty different I guess doing it in Chinese twice and then in English? Did you feel like the core concepts were the same? Or...
Dr. Zhang: The core concepts are the same. The anatomy is taught everywhere across the globe pretty much the same using the Western textbooks, but the difference is the language itself. In China, the anatomy was taught completely in Chinese, the textbook is in Chinese, all the colloquial... everything is in Chinese. Although they do put the anatomy Latin terms after each anatomical Chinese, anatomical terminology in the textbook. So you do know the spelling, you do know how it looks like, but you have no idea how it sounds because it's taught completely in Chinese. I can't pronounce...I cannot pronounce most of the anatomical terms because I have no idea how they pronounce. I can read them, but I can't pronounce them.
Erik: Were you tested written?
Dr. Zhang: We were tested written, we were tested colloquial also, but again yes you speak Chinese, so it's not until I came to the States and learn Anatomy all over again using English terms...now I know how to pronounce them, it was really a very exciting time.
Erik: Yeah, I still don't even know how to pronounce them! I'm still working on the Meandering Artery of Moskowitz!
Dr. Zhang: But now I've been here in the States more than 30 years using anatomical term in English, I've forgot a lot of Chinese firms strangely, so some of them I still remember, but I think about 50% of them the first term came into my mind in English. Then I can't recall what is the Chinese equivalent term, it's interesting your brain has to leave room for one set of knowledge versus the other I think.
Erik: So what drove you towards trying to get into teaching, or motivated you?
Dr. Zhang: I've always been interested in teaching, my first a faculty job in Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield Missouri was mainly a teaching job, although I had a small lab do some research it was a teaching job, so I've been always loving to teach, and then the recruitment back into Kansas Medical School was because they need somebody to teach human gross anatomy and they were short of faculty members. So I was fortunate that it was the right time for me.
Jason: I guess, here and then back in Kansas. What was the process like I guess like every year walking to a new lab with sixty donor bodies?
Dr. Zhang: It was quite exciting actually, every year we started from the beginning, it's always exciting time with new faces, and everything start the rules everything repeat. Strangely I'm never tired of Anatomy, it's...I guess I started loving Anatomy when I very first enter medical school and learn Anatomy. I loved it, and I've never... I'm never bothered by the cadaver, by the smell by the greasiness, I just love it. I think human brain are built differently. I guess my brain is built in a way that I love three-dimensional images and it's not a problem for me, it's just easy, and it's challenging, exciting, so every year is an excitement I never get tired of it.
Erik: So it sounds like you never had any unease, like even at the beginning?
Dr. Zhang: Never I never...we did have students and my classmates at the beginning and also of my students later in later years and people kind of a faint away at the very beginning, the first time. We do have that occasionally, but I never had that problem although you know I can't say I love the smell, I don't love it, but it never bothered me, it's the knowledge part the excitement over overrides the troubleness, so I don't have much of a trouble.
Jason: Do you see something like new every year would you say?
Dr. Zhang: Yes, anatomy every year is about the same, but everybody has something pathology associated, so every year we see some new pathology I've never seen before. You know I was trained as a pathologist, so the pathologist stuff are exciting to me too, so every time I see a pathology I get really excited, and so everything every year there are something new there that get me excited I want to share with the students. I have to say that in early years you know, when you were a student at early years and pathology is a pathology, you don't appreciate as much how precious it is...you can get to see it, so you will learn a lot of diseases you learn a lot of stuff in your career of medicine but a lot of them you only learn from textbooks, you never get a chance to fully see what is the lesion, what is this the shape of the tumor, how it looks like the patient died, but you see you'll never get a chance to see the tumor. But now as a pathologist you really actually see it, and I do think for every medical personnel if you actually see the pathology it still makes a quite difference then if you only see it through the skin.
Erik: Actually, and when you're talking about pathology it made me thinking, because you know obviously we as fledgling medical students, think of pathology mostly as histology, you know H&E stains and stuff. Do you ever get back into the H&E, like looking at you know cell structure, or is it mostly just gross pathology that you are concerned with these days?
Dr. Zhang: Mostly gross anatomy, but back in Kansas I helped with histology labs quite a bit and those histology labs and always incorporate some pathology cases with it, so I did throughout my career, I am involved in histology and pathology on and off once in a while. But in Baylor mainly, I 'm... I've been focused mainly on gross anatomy, but I love pathology, and I've been watching pathology slides eight hours a day for years and years so I still I guess I still keep that skill, looking at H&E slides.
Jason: I guess what's your favorite part of teaching would you say? Is there one?
Dr. Zhang: Right, the most rewarding element of teaching is getting recognized by my students of my teaching. I have more than that dozen awards from students, at Kansas, they call it student voice, it's a strictly student voted for teaching and here is the John P. McGovern teaching award. I just got one last week.
Erik and Jason: Congratulations!
Dr. Zhang: It's all student voted, so it's there's no bias just the pure number of votes. That's ...that's the best, I mean I enjoy that, and that tells me that my students recognize my effort, that's the best. Of course, if I have a good student that's very exciting, I go into more depth with students that's the most exciting time.
Erik: Now are there any frustrating parts? Aside from maybe radiology...like we are now, maybe we don't understand radiology well enough.
Dr. Zhang: A frustrating part would be you know, a concept or an anatomical structural relationship I repeated over and over again but still student don't do it well on the exam. So I have to think did I not teach it well or...or there must be something wrong that I didn't drive the point to home. Those are the most of frustrating.
Erik: Okay, out of the curriculum here at Baylor are there any particular topics that you always have to sort of...I mean personally, maybe it's just because it was the end like the larynx and pharynx I felt like I really had to hammer that in at the end and that was kind of difficult. But do you have any specific topics that you find that you really need to hammer in to make us understand it? Where we have difficulty understanding?
Dr. Zhang: Absolutely I think on the same line, I think head and neck yes that the most complicated topic in gross anatomy and...but it's so important, particularly the cranial nerves and the intracranial structures. But it's intellectually challenging; actually, I find that's the most difficult part but I always love to go over those structures over and over again with my students until they understand.
Jason: So one of the questions we were kind of curious about, we actually were asked about donating our bodies in the future. So I guess, what's your kind of...would you I guess in the like very distant future would you donate your body to anatomy?
Dr. Zhang: I will. I will donate my body to an anatomy education. The way we do that... I wouldn't have my body dissected here at Baylor, but we have a system to ensure that students don't see familiar faces on the anatomic dissecting table, so if you donate your body to your institution usually we switch it to a different institution. But yeah I don't mind donating my body.
Jason: Mm-hmm, what's like your thinking? What's your thought, you're like reasoning?
Dr. Zhang: I am an atheist, so I don't have any skepticals about after death, I think death is death, and I think that after you die you disappear from the world, so from the point of education I think anatomy education is very very necessary, and my body can be used for the last time for education. I think that's a good thing.
Erik: So I guess during you know, your...your career starting in the 70s when you first started learning about Anatomy, have you seen how we teach it sort of develop and change. And so I guess this is a bit of a loaded question because you have gone from, you know, two countries that probably teach it differently, but have you noticed any trends that have changed, or is it fundamentally the same?
Dr. Zhang: Yes I have, yes I have. As I said, anatomy is pretty much taught about the same principally, or across the globe. Every country teaches anatomy about the same following the ancient principles, but in terms of a curriculum, anatomy curriculum has been changed quite a bit. Back in 1970, I guess that's like 40 years ago, we had anatomy was very heavy. Traditionally Anatomy is a heavy foundational science course, we had I think all together about 500 hours of Anatomy. We had two courses of anatomy, we had a systemic anatomy first, that's independent course about 200 hours learning about systems, then in later years of the foundational science we had a separate course called regional anatomy, which is pretty much like what we do now, and you learn anatomy in regions. So altogether it was... I think it's about 500 hours of anatomy, quite a bit, but in the states, I realized that we don't teach systemic Anatomy in medical school, that's pretty much left for the job in undergraduate curriculum. Students have learned in a graduate education about systemic anatomy so in medical school we pretty much teach all the regional anatomy, but again I've been teaching anatomy in the States since 2002, 17 years, at the beginning anatomy hours has been cut shorter and shorter anatomy lecture hours has been cut shorter and shorter, lab hours has also been cut shorter. The argument is that we nowadays know molecular biology and other things, genetics, everything is exploding the knowledge, so we need more hours, and also we need to have students to expose to the clinical practice earlier, so that takes away a lot of hours from Anatomy. I do agree that we need to do some modification, in old times we teach a lot of anatomy just for the sake of training and anatomist, not a clinician, so there are some contents that we can trim off, so we don't have to drill too much into that because it's rarely useful in clinical practice. But on the other hand, I think anatomy is a very fundamental knowledge for medicine, medical practice it shouldn't be cut too short, although how short is a short how long is a big question nowadays.
Erik: Yeah I mean well we were talking a little bit about music before this and I almost look at Anatomy as you know, a musicians going to practice scales and...and arpeggios and stuff, it's their technique, and in some ways I kind of look at anatomy in that respect because you need it in order to build on the higher concepts.
Dr. Zhang: Absolutely, yeah.
Erik: Yeah, that's a shame, so hopefully we'll figure it out, but... that actually leads us into our next question, have you seen, I guess, well you've already sort of answered the question that medical education as a whole has changed with more emphasis on genetics which makes sense getting more clinical time. Have you seen students change?
Dr. Zhang: Not much actually, the students have been...I can't tell. I don't feel that much of a difference between now and like seventeen years ago students have been...I think as students have been the same to me. It looks like...I think this country has a good system to screen students into medical schools, I know you guys have gone through a lot of a screening process so when you really get into the medical school I think we got a lot of top-notch cohort of students I've been enjoying, yeah, to hang out with these students.
Erik: Yeah, that's good.
Jason: I always get the feeling that compared to what you go through and what you had to go through I don't know if I would...if I would feel the same way about us and the hardships that we face you know, so yeah it's different.
Dr. Zhang: Right, yeah if I have to tell that the difference now, I think there's one thing I can tell is the professionalism. I think nowadays professionalism is more emphasized in medical school than it was before, so as a result, students are acting more professionally. That I can tell from their behavior their way to interact with the instructors and with their peers, yes it's more professional, and I think it's good, it's a good development. I think it's due to maybe largely due to that the emphasis of professionalism nowadays in medical school. Back forty years ago, back in China, of course, it's a different environment, professionalism wasn't really emphasized that much. Back seventeen years ago, when I started teaching here in this country I...as, I recall it wasn't as emphasized as it is now, so students behave much better nowadays.
Jason: I still remember you're telling us about the lockers and closing them, and to pay attention to detail.
Dr. Zhang: Right, right.
Jason: I still remember that.
Dr. Zhang: Yeah, you know medicine is ...it's a very complex issue, one important thing is not only the knowledge but just how you deal with details sometimes make a very big difference. People who pay attention to details has a good habit to deal with details actually go further, you go far, just by simply that habit. We try to train you in many aspects.
Erik: Well...kind of going back to how medical education has changed, I think I'm struck especially because I took a couple years off between medical school and just coming back and... the emphasis on ...it's like we use textbooks as sort of supplemental now, but mostly, like personally I just worked from your powerpoints and the other instructors' powerpoints. And I imagine that's probably a big change, correct me if I'm wrong but did you mostly do your education out of the textbooks and then it was supplemented with the lecture or has it always been like...you get most of the information from the lecture and then the textbooks are there for you know, your own use?
Dr. Zhang: Yes, that's a very good point, a very good question. The answer is no, I learned my medical knowledge, mostly from textbooks. As I recall PowerPoint is introduced and projectors are introduced into classrooms not long ago, maybe ten years ago, but I clearly remember back in 2002 when I started teaching anatomy at KU Medical School we were still using Kodachromes, the Carousel Kodachromes, and there is no recording, so there is a note-taking service, every student in the class take turn, and when I stood at the podium there's always a tape recorders stick under my nose to record what I said. And so they take turn, the students who recorded in my lecture then will go home and type out a stack of paper of what I said, then if you join, like twenty dollars a semester then you get that service so they print out all the notes and stick into every student's mailbox the next day. So at that time every student got a syllabus, it's about half an inch thick syllabus about anatomy, so it's all the contents as a kind of outlines, then you come to...everybody come to classroom, and everybody get in addition a note, a stack of notes, from the day before. So that's how we study anatomy, and gradually, I can't remember which year, all of sudden all those disappeared, and powerpoints appeared. Then just a couple of years after that, video recording appeared, and then classroom attendance sharply dropped.
Erik: So how do you feel about that? Because there's a lot of varying opinions among the faculty about that.
Dr. Zhang: Yes, I think there are pros and cons. I think overall it's a good progress. The reason I said that is because my son who graduated from medical school back in 2014, and he was a podcaster (streamer), so he rarely came to a classroom yes he rented an apartment, and he usually streamed everything from there, so I chatted with him about the advantage of pros and cons. So he gave me practical feedback, the pros, and cons, so I think video streaming at home is efficient, and you can pause and search for anything that you don't understand so you don't have to be forced to follow the instructor. There are some advantages, I think that the combination is overall a good progress, but everything has a shortcoming tagged along with it, there are problems associated. I don't know how to solve those problems, nowadays I guess just to have every student have to decide whatever the best for themselves.
Erik: Yeah well and it makes me think about...because like I had said we're going to be doing a roundtable before this talking a little bit about the history of anatomy, at least Western anatomy, and just seeing...even just from what you talked about how it was it sounds like in the 90s, or maybe it was early 2000s where you had to transcribe, and then going all the way back like during Vesalius' time and the fifteen hundred's where there is just one body, and everybody has to circle around it and look at the instructor dissecting it. It's just amazing how we really are pretty privileged right now to be able to just Google a Kodachrome or...University of Michigan puts on a lot of anatomy, Blue Link, and yeah any gross specimen that we forget we can just google it... yeah, it's great.
Dr. Zhang: Maybe because of the modern teaching methods developed, so it's a reasonable to cut some of the anatomy hours in terms of lecture, that makes sense. I think education itself along with the development of the technology, education itself is facing a big challenge. So it's going through a lot of transformation nowadays, every year I go to the ANA meeting of American Association of anatomist, we discuss about teaching methods and all this curriculum stuff. Nobody knows exactly where we're going, but again...but we're going somewhere by incorporating a lot of new stuff into education. Me personally I don't have any problem with either video streaming at home or coming to lecture hall. But although, sometimes when I stand up in front of the audiences and do some performance with my arms and legs, I wish I could have more students watching what I'm doing.
Jason: Definitely, kind of wrapping up, in the future do you feel like cadavers will always be necessary in the future, or is it one of those things that we don't really know about?
Dr. Zhang: Sure well we have an old Chinese saying that if you ask people who sell watermelon how good watermelon is, yes of course watermelon is the best. I think it's not exactly the same but similar, I think cadaver dissection is absolutely necessary in learning human gross anatomy, no matter how you are gonna change the curriculum and teaching method, we still need the cadaver. Although nowadays there are a lot of people disagree with me, and there are some newly established medical schools who are using the digital image cadaver completely, without using a human body. I think one of the major reasons is because they don't have a willed body program and they are limited by resources or using cadavers. But in my opinion, if you don't...if you never dissected a cadaver in your life as a medical doctor, it's a big pity. It's a privilege, and it's not only learning Anatomy, it's a lot of things. I always think that just having a student go through that smell, that greasiness, that frustration to find a structure, it's necessary training, yes it's character building. It's a mind setting process, so you know that nothing is gonna be black and white, there are frustrations, there are efforts, and that's the way medicine is. So in a way, anatomy is a pre-exposure of medical practice in many different ways. I love to have you guys suffer through that, but no I think it's a necessary training process so you...you get an idea, get a taste about what medicine.
Jason: Yes at least from my perspective I'm very grateful for...even though...of course, yes, some element of suffering but... yeah.
Erik: Yeah mean it's...again it's a privilege. Not many people get to do this. I'm just curious about the process of like what you're doing now, cause...I don't know, for those who don't know we have finished most of the gross anatomy for medical curriculum right now, we just finished our fourth term, this in May. So have you gotten the new set of donor bodies for the next year or...when do like...what is the prep for the next term or the next year look like?
Dr. Zhang: The Willed Body Program runs all year round, so we receive body donations like on regular basis, so it's constantly coming in. We collaborate with a funeral home, so when the body...of course, the person has to sign in to our program beforehand, and when they pass away, the funeral home will take the body and send it to us. Usually, the body come in fresh just within 24 hours of the death or at least that's been kept in a refrigeration. When the body come in we inspect the body, we have a mortician that does that, we inspect the body, and then we decide whether we're gonna use this body for fresh specimen, for education, or we embalm it, and we send it to the Commonwealth funeral home embalming some kind of a school. They teach funeral home directors about how to, morticians, how to embalm body, so they have students, they need samples to do that. So we collaborate with them, we send body to them. They embalm it and send it back to us. We always get a lot of bodies, enough bodies to use. We...during the medical class we have 48 tanks, 48 bodies, but usually, we have 100 bodies in reserve, so every time we have enough for two rounds of medical class, which is good. But besides the medical class usage actually we have a large amount of a body usage from the Graduate Medical Program, that means residence and teaching courses. You guys don't see it, but it usually happens on weekends, and they require a lot of fresh bodies. Nowadays, for medical progress, the process is...for example particularly in surgical department, if they have a new method they want to apply to medical practice the steps to do that is first you have the method then you work on animals, you perfect the process in animals and the second one you work on cadavers, fresh cadavers. And you get that technique perfect, then you move on to live patients, so animals, cadavers, and live patients, usually it's the three steps that are required. We do get a lot of requests from that, besides that and every residency program, particularly surgical departments, when their new residents come in, they want to polish and refresh their anatomy. So they have some teaching courses. Like the emergency medicine will teach the intubation process, so need a couple bodies to hold a training course about intubation, the central line set up. OB/GYN want to look at the pelvic anatomy, head and neck will dissect...have the resident, ENT, every resident re dissect the head neck. So you think about this, urology want to look at the intubation through the catheters, through the ureter. So every, almost every surgical department collaborated with us using our cadavers. So when I'm not teaching, or during the teaching we kind of constantly having those things going on.
Erik: I see, so is that what's taking up most your time right now, or are you planning for the next year right now, or you're still probably working with the neuro course?
Dr. Zhang: I'm still involved in the neural course, that's not as heavy in the summer. Starting today we have that JMP program, JMP, so that's a Texas program for pre-matriculation training that lasts the whole month of June. Then in July, we have the Nurse anesthetics students and PA students come in starting their anatomy, their anatomy starts with the neural first. So in July we teach neuroanatomy to the health of students, then in August we start the medical class, so there are a lot of things going on in between.
Erik: Yeah, and there's a Dr. Zhang at McGovern, right?
Dr. Zhang: Yes, yes, yeah, he has exactly the same family name. So sometimes when they say Dr. Zhang, they get confused and say, which school? Yes, he's been there longer than I have, I think he has been there a long time, and he is a major workforce for anatomy teaching also across the street.
Erik: Wow, yeah well once again an amazing...like the Texas Medical Center is a great...place.
Dr. Zhang: Yeah, it's a great place where there's such a diversity of people all over the world. He was trained as a surgeon, and he...I think he worked as a surgeon for many years. And he has been teaching Anatomy for many years across the street.
Erik: Well, we're certainly happy that though your path was as you said a little bit maybe off the beaten track, but we're happy that you got to us because we ...it's no wonder that you won the teaching award this year because you're definitely one of our favorite professor. Not that...we like all of our professors! But certainly, you're an amazing teacher, so we really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us here.
Dr. Zhang: Well, thank you very much it's my pleasure, and I appreciate all the opportunity, I'm gracious to the country, I'm a gracious to the school, the job. I can't...I can't think of any other jobs more rewarding than what I'm doing right now.
Erik: Alright, that is it for now, we would like to thank everyone out there who took the time to listen to this episode of the podcast. Special thanks to Jason Shiau for writing the episode, thank you to our faculty advisor Dr. Poythress for helping us put everything together, thank you to the Baylor communications department with the production of the episodes, and thank you again to Dr. Zhang for taking the time to be interviewed by us. We hope everyone enjoyed it and we hope you tune in again soon, so goodbye for now!
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