An Ypsilanti-based medical unit with the U.S. Army recently visited OUWB’s anatomy lab to help prepare them for military medical trauma.

Community Engagement

Army medics in anatomy lab

OUWB opens facilities for Ypsilanti-based military unit as body donor program ramps up

An image of a group of students in OUWB's anatomy lab.

OUWB welcomed the 1171st Medical Company Area Support to its anatomy lab on Feb. 26. (Photo by Andrew Dietderich)

icon of a calendarMarch 22, 2022

icon of a pencilBy Andrew Dietderich

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An Ypsilanti-based medical unit with the U.S. Army recently visited OUWB’s anatomy lab to help prepare them for military medical trauma.

OUWB welcomed the 1171st Medical Company Area Support to the lab on Feb. 26.

Army First Lieutenant Elizabeth Carlson of the 1171st — also an M1 at OUWB — coordinated the event with the help of Malli Barremkala, M.D., associate professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies, and Dan Schlegel, anatomy lab manager.

Captain James Markman, a Columbus, Ohio-based surgeon assigned to the unit, gave the medics anatomy-based lessons likely to be most relevant to military medical trauma and/or other emergency situations.

“Everything else we do (for training) is either theoretical or on models, which are so far from being lifelike,” said Markman. “This is a crucial aspect of their education.”

Markman said the medics, who work one weekend a month with the Army, will “not touch a patient in crisis until there’s a patient in crisis, basically.”

“This is bridge between the models and real patients,” he said.

OUWB’s anatomy lab is located on the campus of Oakland University, on the third floor of Hannah Hall.

The current state-of-the-art lab opened in 2013. It has more than 30 down-draft, stainless-steel tables — each with a donor.

The lab provides for teaching human medical gross anatomy, neuroanatomy, microbiology, immunology, pathology, physiology and more. Medical students concentrate on gross anatomy during their first year of study.

The lab also provides space for interdisciplinary education with medical and physical therapy students, and is used to teach physiology to undergraduate biology students.

Further, there is a separate room used for advanced dissection.

An image of a surgeon teaching a student in OUWB's anatomy lab.

Captain James Markman visited the lab from Columbus, Ohio, to lead the session for the Army medics. 

Carlson said the visit with her company “exceeded my expectations.”

“As a medical student, the anatomy lab helped me understand and visualize the applications of so many medical procedures, and I wanted that same opportunity for the medics,” said Carlson.

Cadet Shawn Goodman, a pre-med student at Wayne State University, called his visit to the lab “very, very good for me education-wise.”

“To have this early access and see (this lab) is tremendous for me because it’s two years before I’m even going to be in medical school,” he said. “It’s just amazing — that’s the only word I can use to describe it.”

Barremkala said working with the company reflects a bigger plan to make the lab accessible to qualified members of the community as a type of service and to make people aware of OUWB’s body donor program, which is in the process of ramping up.

“The best way to have people donate bodies is through word of mouth — they are finding out about us rather than us going out and telling them,” he said.

Barremkala said that going forward he expects the lab to be more accessible to community-based organizations like the 1171st Medical Company.

“Now it’s more vital to do this and be visible to the community — to let people know we have an awesome anatomy lab and now a body donation program,” he said. “We’re putting ourselves out there so people can start to think of us more and more.”

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