Partner Spotlight: Anatomy in Clay

Partner Spotlight: Anatomy in Clay Centers (AICC)

Students learning with the Anatomy in Clay Learning System

In this month of celebrating and recognizing the various ways Central Colorado AHEC (CCAHEC) facilitates connecting students to careers, we are proud to spotlight one of our awesome partners: Anatomy in Clay Centers (AICC). Area Health Education Center students in Colorado have been working with clay and models to learn anatomy since 2011. Dr. Jennifer Hellier, the Director of the Colorado Health Professions Development Program at that time, implemented the Anatomy in Clay Learning System and models in a month-long summer program at Regis University. Fast forward to 2019, and this partnership has grown as part of CCAHEC’s Health Career Pre-Apprenticeship Program. At the beginning of every HCPA cohort, the Anatomy in Clay Learning System is used to introduce students to the muscular systems of the arm, head, and brain.

“My students love It…they really enjoy the hands-on aspect and seeing how literally everything fits together.”

The mission of Anatomy in Clay Centers is to make anatomy accessible to all, through providing educational classes to individuals, schools and organizations, using a kinesthetic approach to human anatomy and zoology. Recently, Mitch Fittro, CCAHEC’s Education and Workforce Manager, collaborated with Mary Bahus-Meyer, AICC’s Community Outreach Coordinator to bring a group of ten students to AICC’s wet lab for a half day Clay & Cadaver field trip. This workshop gave students the unique opportunity to learn and use two techniques for learning anatomy, alternating between building clay onto model skeletal sculptures and then examining the preserved cadaveric specimen. This allowed the students to compare the clay building technique with same muscles on a preserved cadaver. The workshop was taught by Dr. Jennifer Hellier, a CCAHEC Board Director, and a representative from the nonprofit Colorado Learning Center for Human Anatomy. You can watch Dr. Hellier teaching the Clay & Cadaver workshop here:

Jennifer Hellier teaching with Anatomy In Clay 2019 selects from Shadow Play Films on Vimeo.

Mitch Fittro, CCAHEC Education and Workforce Manager

When asked how his students feel about the Anatomy in Clay experience, Mitch said, “My students love it.” They always say, “I took biology, or I took anatomy in high school and I didn’t really enjoy it because I was reading from the book.” They really enjoy the hands-on aspect and seeing how literally everything fits together. They are always really interested.” (source). Here at CCAHEC, we are very excited to continue working with AICC and Zahourek Systems, Inc., toward better outreach and healthcare education for Colorado through anatomy education and awareness. “Anatomy in Clay has been a fantastic partner and allows my students to access healthcare in a completely different way. Learning about the human body and it’s systems has never been easier (or more fun) for my diverse student populations,” said Mitch Fittro.

“Anatomy in Clay has been a fantastic partner.”

Recently, Colorado Public Television approached Mitch for an interview about the HCPA program and its impact on the community. Anatomy in Clay Centers was chosen as the location for the film because it provided an interesting and appropriate education setting. In the video, HCPA graduate Anastasia Tafoya is seen building in clay on a hand and forearm model during the interview, demonstrating the hands-on training students receive during HCPA cohorts. You can view the video here.

CCAHEC, in collaboration with AICC, is planning an awards celebration which will include a viewing party of the completed film for staff, partners, and friends. This event will take place later this summer, so watch our website, social channels, and your email for more information!

Learn more about the Anatomy in Clay Learning System at www.anatomyinclay.com, and Anatomy in Clay Centers, Denver at http://www.anatomyinclaycenters.org/, including an interactive intensive six-day human anatomy MANIKEN® CoreData™1 workshop July 28 – August 3rd at Anatomy in Clay® Centers in Denver. You can also connect with them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/anatomyinclay and https://www.facebook.com/anatomyinclaycenters/ respectively.


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