By JOHN BAILEY firstname.lastname@example.org Hickory Daily Record
Posted: Sunday, August 21, 2016 11:30 pm | Updated: 11:42 pm, Sun Aug 21, 2016.
HICKORY – Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Physician Assistant Program continued to add to its collection of educational tools in July after receiving a $132,400 donation.
Catawba Valley Medical Center’s President/Chief Executive Officer Anthony Rose presented the university with the check for the purchase of a TolTech Sectra Table and VH Dissector system.
It is a virtual reality dissection table with the ability to interact with 3D and cross-sectional views of over 2,000 anatomical structures through identification, dissection, assembly and rotation, according to the TolTech website. Students interact with the table using a touch screen.
“You can take it down to the bones and then with just using your hands you can take it up to the nervous system up to the blood supply, to the muscle, skin everything else,” Medical Director for the school’s Physician Assistant program, Dr. Billy Price said.
He also stressed the system provides as real a dissection experience as students can get short of using a cadaver lab.
“That’s (cadaver lab) not really feasible here. It’s expensive. There are health concerns and you have to have a big infrastructure to do this,” Price said, so a virtual system is the best alternative.
He added as far as he knew this is the first physician assistant program in the country to have one of the VH Dissector tables. The university would eventually like to have two.
Rose said the donation also highlighted the importance of training more healthcare providers in the region.
“Having a PA (physician assistant) program in this community gives us the opportunity to hopefully retain a good number of those graduates in the general area,” Rose said. “I believe it’ll be vital in the future for the number of providers we’re going to need. Investing in a program like this is a no-brainer.
“The cost of a cadaver lab for a university of this size would be an overwhelming obstacle to the program’s growth and development.”
The university expects to have the Sectra Table and VH Dissector system within the next 10 days and ready for students to use.
“When we cover certain diseases in the clinical medicine course, we’ll come back and show them the anatomy because the table has a built-in MRI scans, X-rays and CT scans of that normal pathology and anatomy,” PA Program Director Dr. Richard Ball said. “They get the full clinical experience, not just the anatomy. It’s just fantastic.”
The Master of Science Physician Assistant program is in its second year at Lenoir-Rhyne and upon successful completion of all degree requirements, students will be licensed and practice medicine under the supervision of a physician. The school has 32 slots in the program.
This new virtual dissection system can also be used over and over to help students refresh their knowledge throughout their time in the program.
“When they go out on a rotation, they might want to come back and get on that table and brush back up on the anatomy of the muscular skeletal systems or if their neurology, they may want to go look at the brain or nervous system,” Price said.