At Palm Desert High School (PDHS), students in the three-year Health Academy program have the incredible opportunity to explore human anatomy with a hands-on experience using their new syndaver. By working on a life-like human model, students gain a deeper understanding of the human body and its intricate systems.

mentoring the future

One of the major pros of using a syndaver is that it allows students to apply their knowledge to real-life scenarios. They can see firsthand how different organs and structures connect and interact with each other. This practical experience helps students develop critical thinking skills and a better understanding of medical procedures. Another advantage is that working with a syndaver fosters a sense of empathy and respect for the human body. Students learn to appreciate the complexity and fragility of life, which can greatly impact their approach to patient care in the future. It also gives them a chance to overcome any fears or discomfort they may have about working with human anatomy, as the syndaver replicates the human body in incredible detail.

Another extraordinary benefit is the encouragement towards teamwork and collaboration among students as they work together to examine and explore the different parts of the body, sharing their knowledge and insights. This collaborative learning environment enhances communication skills and prepares them for future health care professions where teamwork is crucial.

Damien Gamboa and Leticia Gastelum, two PDHS seniors, now in their third year of the Heath Academy program, explained how the syndaver prepares them for their future. “Our job is to sterilize the syndaver. It is not particularly difficult, but it does take a large amount of time. One factor is due to the syndaver taking approximately 100 gallons of water. The first step is to drain all the water. Next, we put on gloves and apply an antibacterial soap, lathering up the syndaver to get into every organ, joint, muscle and artery. Then, we begin to rinse the syndaver and remove the soap. This is to prevent any sort of bacteria that could potentially form. Lastly, we incorporate Algae Guard into the water to add an extra layer of protection, preventing other bacteria from seeping in. One main reason why this is beneficial for us as medical students is because it helps us understand where each organ is, what specific roles they play in the human body and how they would look, as the organs are extremely life-like. In all honesty, maintaining the syndaver takes lots of time and effort. With this job you must be fully committed to the process, but we love the responsibility because we know it will only benefit us moving forward.”

Overall, having a syndaver in PDHS’s Health Academy provides invaluable learning opportunities for students interested in pursuing careers in health care. It allows them to gain practical experience, develop empathy and learn essential skills that will benefit them in their future endeavors.

Violet David is the sophomore class president for the Palm Desert High School Medical Academy program and in her first year of a three-year biomedical program. For more information on our valley’s medical health academies, contact Kim McNulty at [email protected].

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