Dr. Teresa Patitucci broadens her anatomy skills through prestigious Anatomy Training Program

Teresa Patitucci, PhDTeresa Patitucci, PhD, assistant professor of anatomy at MCW-Central Wisconsin, can now add “Oxford scholar” to her CV, kind of. Dr. Patitucci spent this past year broadening her perspective on how anatomy is taught at different institutions as a part of the Anatomy Training Program, including an intensive weeklong training at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Patitucci applied to the prestigious Anatomy Training Program while attending graduate school at MCW. The program, co-sponsored by the American Association of Anatomists (AAA) and the Anatomical Society (AS), admits only three members from the United States each year. Dr. Patitucci discovered this program while searching for additional training options in the field of anatomy. This particular program caught her eye because of its aim is to address the shortage of trained anatomists.

The program consists of four modules over two years of training broken down by two modules per year. Participants are required to submit monthly reflections on learning outcomes and provide commentary on how they can improve their anatomical knowledge, dissection skills and teaching approach back at their home institution. Each reflection is aided by a chosen mentor and evaluated by an assessor in the program.

The end of each year culminates in an intensive residential course at Oxford University composed of demonstrations and lab exams requiring the use of skills learned in the previous modules. Dr. Patitucci describes the week she spent at Oxford University as extremely intense, but one of the more rewarding experiences in her career.

“The week at Oxford University was an amazing experience. We had instructors from all different places in the UK including an anatomist who has been teaching at Oxford for many years.”

Dr. Patitucci began this intensive program on her own time while completing her PhD – an accomplishment that she emphasizes would not have been possible without the strong encouragement she received from her mentors at MCW. She was supported by several colleagues at MCW who provided key guidance and mentorship: Todd Hoagland, PhD, professor in the department of cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy; Allison Ebert, PhD, assistant professor in the department of cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy; and Joseph Besharse, PhD, Marjorie & Joseph Heil Professor in Ophthalmology and research director, the Eye Institute.

“I had a great amount of support from my colleagues at MCW –my anatomy mentor, graduate school advisor and department chair. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to participate in this without their support.”

While Dr. Patitucci still has two modules to complete, the program has already had an impact on her career.  She began her faculty appointment at MCW-Central Wisconsin on June 1, 2016 and is running the anatomy lab and teaching clinical human anatomy, in addition to teaching a senior seminar class on regenerative medicine at UW-Stevens Point. She is looking forward to incorporating what she has learned in the program into the curriculum for MCW-Central Wisconsin students. Dr. Patitucci is excited for the year ahead and highly recommends this type of training to others.

“There are so many positions available right now for anatomists. There are people going through graduate school who can’t find a job, but if someone has an interest in teaching and wants to be an educator, having an anatomy background is a great foot in the door. This type of training makes you really marketable.”

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