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NYU School of Medicine Division of Educational Informatics Faculty Introduce 3D BioDigital Human at TEDMED 2012

Marc Triola, MD, and John Qualter, MSc, Present On BioDigital Human and the Importance of Integrating Technology into Biomedical Education

NYU School of Medicine’s Division of Education Informatics faculty, Marc Triola, MD, and John Qualter, MSc, will present today on the importance of integrating technology into biomedical education and will introduce the BioDigital HumanTM at the TEDMED 2012 Conference in Washington, D.C. Each year TEDMED convenes experts from medical and nonmedical disciples who are passionate about innovation in health and medicine to hear about the latest innovations in technology, science, health and medical research from the people behind the discoveries.

In the fall of 2011, NYU School of Medicine introduced first-year students in its anatomy class to the pioneering online 3D interactive virtual human body called the BioDigital Human. This unique educational experience supplements the traditional use of human cadavers in anatomy instruction by allowing students to both view and interact with realistically simulated 3D organs and other anatomical structures.

“We recognize that advances in educational informatics and simulation technologies provide opportunities for new teaching and learning strategies never before possible,” said Steven B. Abramson, MD, senior vice president and vice dean for Education, Faculty and Academic Affairs at NYU School of Medicine. “This technology is just one way NYU School of Medicine provides its students cutting-edge, web-based learning environments to break the lockstep of traditional medical education.”

Using sophisticated consumer-grade 3D glasses, anatomy students can now view the life-size digital content displayed on a projector screen in NYU School of Medicine’s anatomy lab. Using laboratory iPads, they have the ability to magnify and explore the models in great detail. Similar to experiencing a 3D film, viewing the graphics stereoscopically provides the illusion of depth and greater appreciation for the 3D models and their relationship to each other. This immersive, virtual reality set-up is an unprecedented 3D anatomy installation at NYU School of Medicine and is available to its students and faculty. The 3D models of human anatomy were developed by NYU School of Medicine’s Division of Educational Informatics and BioDigital Systems LLC, then packaged and deployed in the BioDigital Human platform.

“Students always remember their first cadaver because it brings to life the science they’ve so fervently studied,” said Dr. Abramson. “The BioDigital Human builds upon this experience by allowing the class to explore anatomical structures in more detail and further their connection with human anatomy.”

Growing challenges to traditional medical education and dramatic changes in the health care delivery system are prompting curricular reform projects in medical education. Additionally, advances in educational informatics and simulation technologies provide opportunities for new teaching and learning strategies never before possible, such as the BioDigital Human. NYU School of Medicine is engaged in an innovative new curriculum entitled C21, the Curriculum for the 21st Century. As part of this curriculum, the school is taking full advantage of computer-assisted instruction innovations and new capabilities of web-based digital applications to drive C21 evolution. Teaching will rely heavily on new web-based modules, computer-assisted instruction, and simulation, as well as increased collaborative teaching and learning among scientists, physicians, nurses, and other health professionals. 

“It’s an exciting time to learn. Not just for students, but for all of us as we evolve, learn new things, and add newly developed knowledge to the way we look at the world,” said Marc Tiola, MD, associate dean for Educational Informatics and assistant professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine. “Our medical students now need to learn anatomy in the context of a broader picture of health and disease, which we can’t effectively do using traditional teaching techniques. Medical education needs a new learning ecosystem of new technologies and collaborations, like the BioDigital Human for example, to teach new skills to new types of learners, and most importantly to teach how to keep learning after they leave medical school.”

Videos of each presentation will be made available on the TEDMED site within two months of conference end date. For additional information on the BioDigital Human, please see NYU Langone’s press release entitled “Medical Students at NYU School of Medicine Use Interactive Virtual 3D Cadaver,” The New York Times January 8, 2012 article, “The Virtual Anatomy, Ready for Dissection,” by Natasha Singer, or visit NYU School of Medicine's Division of Educational Informatics (DEI) website at

Through this partnership BioDigital Systems, LLC has issued interest to NYU School of Medicine as part of this collaboration.

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