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Blog No. 5 PaintME

PaintME was formally established in 2018 as a network for those utilising anatomical body painting within their academic, healthcare or artistic practice. PaintME provides inspiration for ideas through image banks, as well as practical tips on getting started, worksheets and guidance documents. It is also a platform research based practice, advocating the use of evidence in anatomy pedagogy over norm drive implementation. 

Professor Gabrielle Finn, has taught anatomy using body painting for over a decade. Having conducted significant bodies of research on the topic, in both quantitative and qualitative paradigms, she wanted to add a new dimension to anatomical body painting. This was achieved through pioneering the use of UV body paint as a tool for demonstrating muscle tension and a more visceral appearance to painted structures. 

PaintME provides activities and painting displays for science festivals and other public engagement events, having worked with the British Science Festival, BBC and Body Worlds, to name but a few. 




Blog No. 4 Social Media

With many of us communicating on Social Media (SM) the President of the IFAA asked for guidelines to be established to cover the increasing SM activity. These were initially drafted by Catherine Hennessy with input from Prof. B Kramer, Prof. Pawlina, Prof. Pather and other members of the IFAA Executive Committee. Please take time to read through and have think about your own SM activity.

Social Media Guidelines for the IFAA: engagement with members and the public

This document is based on guidelines produced by the American Association of Clinical Anatomists and the Anatomical Society and from guidelines produced by medical governing bodies from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand*. 


The International Federation of Association of Anatomists (IFAA) and the Global Anatomy Learning Education Network (GALEN), which is a subsidiary of the Federative International Programme of Anatomical Education (FIPAE) of the IFAA, promote discussion on current anatomical sciences research and anatomy education research. 

Social media provides a medium for GALEN as part of the FIPAE to: 

  • receive and share up to date research information quickly and concisely with other social media users
  • increase communication and engagement with the worldwide anatomy community  
  • network with other IFAA professional societies and associations to promote the professional image of GALEN and FIPAE

The IFAA is committed to maintaining a safe and professional environment on social media, which will allow for discussions to take place with mutual respect for everyone involved and in keeping with the good governance of the IFAA. GALEN members are encouraged to use social media when appropriate, however social media posts should meet the professional standards expected from the IFAA and GALEN. 

This document provides guidelines for GALEN members when using social media in association with GALEN or the IFAA (tagging IFAA or GALEN or using IFAA conference hashtags), however these guidelines can be adopted by anatomy colleagues in the wider field who seek recommendations on professional social media use. It is important that all social media users take responsibility to use social media professionally so as to maintain the professional image of the IFAA and the anatomy profession. Each individual user is accountable for their own posts and the impression their posts give of themselves and any professional bodies they are associated with. One common rule of thumb used by professionals on social media is “if I wouldn’t tell it to my mother or my boss or publish it in the newspaper, then I wouldn’t post it on social media”.

It is always worth bearing in mind that many social media platforms are within the public domain and therefore consideration must be given to the potential vast reach of posts. Furthermore, posts are generally permanent, even if deleted by users, because social media platforms store posts indefinitely, meaning that posts can always be tracked and traced.Therefore, “think before you post”, since posts can potentially be viewed by anyone and for any length of time. 

The GALEN social media platforms are managed and monitored by the founders, who reserve the right to remove or request that other users remove any posts considered inappropriate for public viewing. 

Inappropriate social media posts include:

  1. Defaming, offensive, vulgar, harassing, or threatening language, personal attacks or accusations, or derogatory terms targeting individuals or groups, in the field of anatomy or otherwise.
  • Confidential information of a member of the FIPAE/GALEN or the public which threatens their privacy should never be posted (e.g., home address, credit card numbers). Informed consent should be received from any individuals referred to in posts through text or images. 
  • Photos and videos of cadavers or cadaveric material must be sensitively handled.  Legislation on public display of cadaveric material varies internationally and therefore you may come across social media posts containing images of cadaveric remains. Such content has the potential to adversely affect the relationship between the public and body donation programmes. It is therefore a professional judgement based on the laws and guidance under which individuals work and on ethical considerations as to whether it is appropriate to post, 'like’ or ‘repost’ such posts. Furthermore, while you may be accustomed to seeing cadaveric remains, the general public is not, and may consider such content to be offensive. There should be transparency for donors regarding the possible use of images of their body in the public domain. It is the view of GALEN that such transparency does not exist for displaying cadaveric images on social media and therefore images of cadaveric material should not be posted on GALEN’s social media.
  • Photos, videos or other media for which the individual is not the copyright holder should not be shared. This includes research data presented at conference presentations.
  • Privileged communications meant for within the IFAA and GALEN, or information that is not for public disclosure.
  • Advertising books published, solicitations, commercial endorsements, with the exception of corporate sponsorship that is approved by the IFAA or GALEN.
  • Any comments that are clearly “off topic’ or not conducive to the IFAA/GALEN aims. All members should state on their own social media profiles that “views are my own” (or to that effect), so as to not be deemed supported or associated with the IFAA/GALEN or any other professional body (e.g., your employer or associated University).

For further advice or if in doubt contact: galennetwork@gmail.com

*Governing bodies and documents used to produce these guidelines.    

Governing body  Document nameLink to resource (all last accessed: (21/02/2019)
General Medical CouncilDoctor’s Use of Social Mediahttps://www.gmc-uk.org/ethical-guidance/ethical-guidance-for-doctors/doctors-use-of-social-media/doctors-use-of-social-media 
British Medical Association Social media, ethics and professionalism    Social media: Practical guidance and best practice  https://www.bma.org.uk/-/media/files/pdfs/employment%20advice/ethics/ethics%20guidance%20on%20social%20media%20final.pdf https://www.bma.org.uk/-/media/files/pdfs/employment%20advice/ethics/social%20media%20guidance%20final.pdf 
Canadian Medical AssociationSocial Media and Canadian Physicians: Issues and Rules of Engagementhttp://policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/Policypdf/PD12-03.pdf 
Canadian Federation of Medical StudentsGuide to Medial Professionalism: Recommendations for Social Mediahttps://www.cfms.org/files/internal-policy-bylaws/CFMS%20Guide%20to%20Social%20Media%20Professionalism.pdf 
Australian Medical Association and New Zealand Medical AssociationSocial Media and the Medical Professionhttp://www.amawa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Social-Media-and-the-Medical-Profession_FINAL-with-links.pdf 
American College of Physicians and Federation of State Medical Boards Online Medical Professionalismhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23579867
American Medical AssociationProfessionalism Guidelines for Social Media Use: A Starting Pointhttps://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/professional-guidelines-social-media-use-starting-point/2015-05 
Federation of State Medical BoardsModel Guidelines for the Appropriate Use of Social Media and Social Networking in Medical Practicehttp://www.fsmb.org/siteassets/advocacy/policies/model-guidelines-for-the-appropriate-use-of-social-media-and-social-networking.pdf 

Blog No. 3 Dr. Scott Border

During my time as an anatomist at the University of Southampton I have become a strong advocate for engagement in learning and teaching through the partnership approach. At its roots, this is about co-creation with students. There is a somewhat subtle difference between student engagement and partnering. Most institutions create opportunities to listen and respond to student feedback. This is a useful process which serves to recommend solutions and changes to the way in which faculties coordinate and deliver teaching in the curriculum. However, the partnership approach supports the student as an active collaborator and co-producer with the potential for educational transformation.

My own work embracing students as partners stems from my passion to motivate and stimulate student interest in clinical neuroanatomy. This is a traditionally feared subject at medical school and an area where innovation is welcome. Over the last 10 years I have created a centre of excellence at Southampton which has raised teaching standards institutionally (through near-peer teaching programmes & e-learning resources) and raised the profile of the discipline nationally via the development of the National Undergraduate Neuroanatomy Competition. In addition the educational YouTube channel Soton Brain Hub has an international audience, reaching students in over 150 Countries worldwide, clocking up over 1.5 million views.

Students are at the very centre of these projects and their associated scholarship, including development, experimental design, data collection, analysis, manuscript production and dissemination – I take great pleasure in sharing ownership of all of it. This taught me that for those students who are intrinsically motivated this was their perfect reward, since it had the potential to support and develop their careers from an early stage.

Blog No. 2 Prof.Michael Hortsch

Currently I am holding the rank of professor in the Departments of Cell and Developmental Biology and of Learning Health Sciences at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Based on my background as a cell biologist and many years of experimental research in the field of developmental neurobiology, I have taught medical and dental histology at the University of Michigan since 1991. I am also the recipient of several top teaching awards at the University of Michigan. Over the last 10 years, I authored over 15 publications in the field of medical education. Among others, I am on the editorial board of Anatomical Sciences Education and I am an associate editor of the FASEB BioAdvances journal. 

As modern technologies play an increasingly important role in teaching the biomedical sciences to today’s students in an ever-changing curricular environment, I am interested in investigating whether these new technologies are effective in educating tomorrow’s scientists and health care professionals and how we can use these new teaching modalities to help our students learn better and gain a deeper understanding of the expanding volume of scientific knowledge. For that it is important to understand how modern electronic resources are used by students and what positive or negative impact they have on students’ learning outcome. 

Based on my research results, I have developed several more effective new electronic teaching resources. My most popular electronic learning tool is a series of mobile applications called SecondLook™that have been published by the University of Michigan at the iTunes and the Google Play app stores (http://secondlook.med.umich.edu). These new resources allow students to use their study time more efficiently as they direct students’ learning efforts towards gaps in their knowledge and skills. They embrace active learning and self-assessment by using an e-learning platform. Moreover, based on the Socratic method, the SecondLook™ concept emphasizes analytical processing and logical connections over pure fact learning. SecondLook™ resources are available for several basic science and clinical topics with many more in preparation. 

In my experience and opinion, a blended approach of combining time-proven and novel teaching strategies offers the best way to elevate the level of learning from a fact-memorization to an analytical and problem-solving mode. Each teaching/learning resource and modality has specific applications and uses, none being a magic wand suitable for all situations. Students love alternatives, without being overwhelmed by a too wide array of choices. In most of my research and educational resource development projects I have engaged student collaborators as partners. The boundaries between teacher and learner must be fluid and interchangeable for educational innovation to be successful.

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Blog No. 1 By Dr. Siobhan Moyes

At the Peninsula Medical School, we recently carried out a qualitative study that aimed to better understand our students’ perception of barriers and enablers to learning Anatomy (Moyes et al AMEE 2018). One emergent theme was students’ struggle to make sense of the new anatomical and clinical language. With many students rote learning names of structures/conditions, rather than understanding them.  As this issue is not unique to anatomy, addressing it would benefit a variety of disciplines. 

I designed a short, simple activity to be piloted as part of the year 1 Medical School induction. The aim of which was to provide students with an approach to breaking down seemingly complicated words to better understand them. There was the potential for a session identifying prefixes, roots and suffixes to be somewhat dry, so I decided to gamify the activity to increase engagement.

This simple game consists of a number of cards that contain an anatomical or clinical prefix, root or suffix on one side, and a definition on the other. The PDF (here) provides a selection that can be printed out, or used as inspiration, and contains a lesson plan. The session starts by outlining why this approach will be useful to them and that, by the end of the session, they should be able to translate a list of seemingly complex clinical and anatomical phrases that are visible on the screens. In groups, students start by identifying the terms they know and try to work out the terms they are unfamiliar with. Staff are on hand to help them work out some of the more esoteric terms. This also helps them identify the value of shared knowledge and group work. At the end of the session students worked together as a group to translate the phrases on the screens. As this activity was located in the induction period, we pitched it as a fun ice-breaker. 

Following the session, we provided a link to a short podcast we created about clinical and anatomical language you can find here (link). Students’ learning was assessed a week later during their Anatomage table induction, where they were repeatedly asked to break down the names of structures on the virtual cadavers. All students were able to identify the component parts of the words and apply them to what they were dissecting, which was suggestive that this activity provided them with the tools needed to apply to a variety of situations. 

Feedback from this session was overwhelmingly positive and we have trialled it with other learner groups including experience days for school children and for postgraduate Physician Associate students, all with similar success. 

If you have any questions about this approach, please just email me on Siobhan.moyes@plymouth.ac.uk.


A very warm welcome to GALEN, the Global Anatomy Learning Education Network. We are proud to be working in collaboration with the IFAA on this new initative that aims to create a forum for all discussions related to anatomy education. We welcome your input through our Social Media Channels, for you to browse, contribute to and share experiences.


International Federation of Associations of Anatomists

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