Meet the Director of the Anatomy Lab at OUWB, and the Medical Students “First Patients”

College students of the William Beaumont College of Medication on the College of Auckland all the time keep in mind “affected person primary” and because the college’s launch, Dan Schlegel has been a serious participant in these relationships.

the explanation?

Schlegel has labored as an anatomy laboratory at OUWB since its inception in 2011.

He’s answerable for the care of the laboratory and the donors – on this context, this primarily means individuals who made the choice earlier than demise to donate their our bodies to science in order that medical college students might examine and really perceive the buildings throughout the human physique.

It is a distinctive operate that Schlegel says typically elicits one in every of two reactions.

“Persons are both very and ask loads of questions,” he says with a smile. “Or they’re sort of slowly again off.”

Regardless, Schlegel says he by no means forgets what the job is actually about.

“For me, it is all about working with college students and college to assist construct future docs,” he says.

Those that work intently with Schlegel say his dedication to the function is evident.

“Dan is doing an distinctive job,” says Mali Parmkala, affiliate professor within the Division of Basis Medical Research and director of the physique donation program at OUWB.

“Through the years he has been instrumental in supporting OUWB’s post-mortem applications, and we affectionately name him ‘Dan the Man’.”

I used to be a bit hesitant

In his administrative function, Schlegel works straight with college at OUWB to make sure that college students have what they want in the case of finding out anatomy within the lab. As well as, it helps the College of Auckland bodily remedy applications, which additionally use the laboratory.

His obligations embody not solely transporting and getting ready donors, however making certain that college students have all of the gear they want, sustaining and sustaining your complete house to the best requirements of hygiene, and following all guidelines. For instance, college students are prohibited from taking footage within the lab.

Schlegel says his day-to-day work within the lab is guided by two ideas: the necessary function donors play in serving to college students be taught, and the necessity to preserve respect.

Picture of Dan Schlegel talking to students
Schlegel talks in regards to the Anatomy Lab Guidelines for the OUWB Class of 2026 throughout orientation in August.

“The donors primarily donate themselves earlier than demise…they provide the whole lot they will to coach the scholars,” he says. “We respect donors as sufferers…simply because they can not hear you or reply does not imply we deal with them any much less.”

After all, the large query is: How does one turn out to be a director of a medical college anatomy lab?

For Schlegel, it began when he was an undergraduate on the College of Auckland, pursuing a bachelor’s diploma in well being sciences.

Throughout that point, within the mid-2000s, Schlegel had his first expertise with donors. It was totally different from the expertise medical college students had as a result of anatomical specimens have been taboo (truly dissected by extra skilled anatomists).

Nonetheless, the expertise helped construct his consolation degree working with physique donors. The truth that he was all the time “scientific-minded” helped.

“As a pupil, I used to be a bit hesitant the primary time they pulled donors in first lab class…however I’ve by no means been squeamish,” he says. “I used to be extra fascinated with realizing how issues labored.”

Quickly, Schlegel was serving to others learn the way issues work as a instructing assistant to Mary P., Ph.D., affiliate professor, School of Well being Sciences.

When he had the chance to affix OUWB in 2011, he took the chance.

It was a month earlier than OUWB welcomed its chartered class of fifty college students.

‘They’re extra comfy’

For the primary two semesters, the OUWB Anatomy Lab was within the basement of the College of Auckland Math and Science Middle. Schlegel mentioned the scenario was lower than splendid as a result of the house had no home windows, the loading dock was throughout the corridor, air flow was poor, and there have been different points.

One of many greatest issues, he mentioned, was that the donors needed to be moved each time there was a semester.

That every one modified in 2013, when the lab was moved to the third ground of Hannah Corridor on the College of Auckland after a whole redesign of the house that now homes the anatomy lab.

The restricted laboratory now has 37 devoted donor tables, every geared up with a particular air flow system and a pc. The scale and structure of the lab permits college students to maneuver freely and never really feel cramped in a small house. Home windows line the partitions, making a vivid environment.

Schlegel says his favourite a part of the job is seeing the scholars’ growth in how they deal with donors.

“At the start of the semester, a number of the college students could be fairly (hesitant), however on the finish of the semester they’re fully immersed,” he says. “Then they return to the second semester and are extra comfy.”

Barremkala says having alum OU’s lab is useful.

“He has data of the OU’s campus and services and is utilizing this successfully for a well-functioning lab,” he says.

Schlegel additionally goes above and past to assist preserve college students heading in the right direction.

“Dan was one in every of only a few workers members who labored personally all through the pandemic and performed a key function in introducing the laboratory part of the AFCP (Anatomical Foundations of Scientific Observe) course,” says Parmkala.

Trying to the long run, Schlegel says he is excited that OUWB has not too long ago began its personal physique donation program. To date, OUWB has labored with different establishments such because the College of Toledo to acquire donor our bodies, that are then returned to highschool on the finish of the 12 months for cremation and return to the household.

“We’ll have extra management over the embalming course of, donor choice standards, and direct contact with households, making it a bit simpler to get the mandatory medical data,” he says. “It is actually thrilling.”

For extra info, contact Andrew Dietderich, Advertising and marketing Author, OUWB, at

To request an interview, go to the OUWB Communications & Advertising and marketing webpage.

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