Every year, RMIT Anatomy students celebrate the end of their first year by competing in the Peter Reichenbach Anatomy Cup.
The competition is an inter-program ‘anatomy Olympics’ and tests students on all that has been learned throughout the year.
Staff and students from health and medical science programs based at the Bundoora campus form teams and compete in various events including body painting, model-making and even singing.
Anatomy lecturer and event host, Dr Claudia Diaz, School of Health and Biomedical Sciences said the competition benefits students in a number of ways.
“The Anatomy Cup is an extra-curricular activity designed to enhance learning and engagement where the team with the most points at the end of every round wins,” Dr Diaz said.
“It runs a few days before the practical exam and provides a focused revision alternative.
“It’s the culmination of the students' work throughout the semester, so it’s where all the learning comes together.”
Bachelor of Health Science / Bachelor of Applied Science (Chinese Medicine) student, Jesse Georgiadis said participating in the Cup was an amazing experience.
“It’s a great break from revising notes and reading lectures,” Georgiadis said.
“The competition reinforces our knowledge and makes it easier to recall certain aspects of what we’ve learned throughout the year – I really think it made a difference to my grades.”
Teaching methods in the Anatomy department at RMIT are a combination of sensory, hands-on and experiential approaches.
Students build anatomical structures (out of plasticine) and spend a lot of time on surface anatomy where they study live bodies as well as cadavers.
“Referencing key surface landmarks to map underlying structures is a core skill needed in professional practice,” Dr Diaz said.
“Live body painting has become a popular surface anatomy technique as it is an effective way to understand by looking, drawing and then painting.”
Competition namesake, Mr Reichenbach (now retired) was the Foundation Professor for Physical Education when he introduced anatomy to RMIT (then known as Phillip Institute of Technology) in 1974.
Arriving here via the University of Calgary in Canada, he received support to set up the program, introducing anatomy and physiology and setting up an extensive lab.
“In those days we didn’t have any human cadavers, so we used rhesus monkeys as their muscular system is similar to human beings,” he said.
Pig heart and lung samples were also used to assist the students with their studies. Nowadays, RMIT Bundoora’s anatomy lab is filled with human samples.
Dr Diaz said RMIT’s Anatomy department is the only university to hold an Anatomy Cup-style event.
“It’s proven to be successful in enabling students to become self-directed, independent and most importantly, to have fun while they learn.”