An exciting new partnership has brought the College of Optometry together with Logan University. First- and second-year students have visited the cadaver lab at Logan and have collaborated with its students, bringing a fresh dimension to the curriculum.
Second-year students in Ocular Motility with Dr. Erin Brooks (O.D. ’11, Masters in Vision Science ‘13) and Dr. Linda Nguyen were paired with Logan students to dissect the orbit. Dr. Meadow Campbell, an instructor at Logan, reports that the partnership has been fruitful. She said, “My students were becoming familiar with the structures of the orbit, pointing those out to UMSL students, and hearing back from the UMSL group more detail about the movement of various eye muscles, the shape of the orbits, and even some clinical applications.” The Logan students reported their appreciation of the help that UMSL students gave in regard to eye movements. But on another level, it gave the students the chance to talk about the challenges of a graduate program. “I think both sets of students were comforted to know they aren’t alone in doing this big thing – becoming a doctor – though the details of their programs are somewhat different, naturally,” Campbell said.
Dr. Nguyen credited Dr. Brooks with forging the connection between the schools and said, “It was fun to watch the optometry students’ intrigue and curiosity during Dr. Campbell’s dissection.” Dr. Brooks reports that interest in collaboration from Dean Larry Davis and Dr. Edward Jarka started her on a quest, eventually leading her to Dr. Campbell. The first-year students go to Logan in both fall and spring semesters as part of the APD course. They will look at the anatomy of the head and neck as well as various organ systems. “Last year the current second years went twice…It was awesome for me to see the anatomy I am teaching them on the various cadavers.” As for the current second years, Dr. Brooks enjoyed watching the students get involved in the dissection, which included breaking some of the orbit bones with a chisel. And the interaction between the groups was a benefit: “I heard several conversations between Logan and UMSL students about the eyes and the body.”
Elizabeth Ditch (’20) said that the dissection was one of her favorite things she’s done all semester. “I really enjoyed looking at the extraocular muscles because I had never seen them except on a cow eye in neuroanatomy lab last year. The Logan students were more than willing to answer our questions and help us identify structures on the cadaver.” Classmate Madison Moss (’20) agreed: “The lab was quite literally hands-on, and the students at Logan worked alongside us through each step.” She felt that the experience was a step up from seeing images in a textbook or on a projector. Moss added, “It is so important that the UMSL College of Optometry continues to implement these supplemental opportunities to set us apart and give us the best experience possible.”
Thanks to these forward-thinking instructors, students from both institutions have gained a better understanding of the body. “Overall, combining two different groups of medical professionals with different expertise created a really neat learning environment,” Ditch said.