Forget the medical books and cadavers, meet Anatomical man!
Medical students are throwing out the weighty tomes, and painting their anatomical knowledge on fellow students. Producer - Tom McKendrickPT1M47S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2r422 620 349 August 2, 2013
Zac O'Brien has worn nothing more than a G-string, skullcap and body paint for 18 hours straight. But he is remarkably relaxed.
Mr O'Brien agreed to have his entire body painted by university students. This was no prank, but a rather unusual anatomy class.
Five RMIT students worked from Wednesday afternoon through the night painting the muscles, tendons and bones that would be visible if Mr O'Brien was stripped of his skin.
Zac O'Brien becomes 'Anatomical Man'. Photo: Simon O'Dwyer
By mid-morning on Thursday the whites of his exhausted eyes were beginning to match the crimson paint, but the 22-year-old chiropractic student was excited with his new look. ''Between 3am and 6am was a really hard period where not much happened, then after that we had about 50 nursing students in here,'' he said.
The project began with stencilling Mr O'Brien's muscular outline, which took four hours. With an athletic build, he plays football for Essendon's VFL team and hopes to play for the senior side.
Then the students filled in the outline using smudge-free body paint until he was completely covered, every detail defined.
Zac O'Brien becomes 'Anatomical Man'. RMIT University teacher Dr Claudia Diaz brings her lessons to life with the help of body paint, artistic students and models. Photo: Simon O'Dwyer
''It's a bit dry on the face, but apart from that [I] don't even notice it.''
The result of the marathon effort was a striking figure that senior anatomy lecturer Claudia Diaz calls ''anatomical man''.
The project began at 4pm under the warm lights of RMIT's television studio with blue tarpaulin spread over the floor in the late afternoon. It took 18 hours because of the detail required to finish the job.
RMIT University teacher Dr Claudia Diaz brings her lessons to life with the help of body paint, artistic students and models. Photo: Simon O'Dwyer
Mr O'Brien was paid $500 for the evening while the students painters received $300 each for the extracurricular activity.
Dr Diaz has taught anatomy for 23 years. ''They find it boring and they tend to memorise everything. That's what they've been taught at school," she said.
For the past two years she has been painting students' musculoskeletal features as an alternative to rote learning. She first brought an ''anatomical man'' into her classroom in 2010. ''We walked him in and I still remember the looks on the kids' faces. They were just in awe,'' she said. ''I realised it shocked them, it inspired them and it motivated them.''
The process took 20 hours to complete. Photo: Jodie Donnellan
Students were previously shy about taking off their clothes so classmates could study their bodies. But the painting exercise helped them shed their inhibitions.
''I couldn't get the kids to keep their clothes on. They were all throwing them off,'' Dr Diaz said.
Staying awake without the aid of traditional university stimulants of caffeine and alcohol was no problem. ''You get hit by adrenalin because it's actually very exciting,'' she said.
She has painted 10 people over three years for a medical education research project.
Students' results have also improved since Dr Diaz introduced the painting classes. They can see exactly how the muscles move in different positions.
''Any kind of models that we use in anatomy are useful, but they're not as good as the real thing,'' she said.
The class had the desired effect on third-year biomedical science student Sara Salmeron. Fighting exhaustion at the end of the session, Ms Salmeron said the process helped bring ''anatomy to life''.
''When you see the finished product it's actually a really rewarding feeling,'' she said. ''It really sticks into the memory a lot more than just reading out of a textbook.''