Body Worlds Exhibit Teaches Students in a Whole New Way

The Medical Assistant students at Globe University-Wausau recently took a trip to Minnesota to explore the human body in a different way.  The exhibit “Body Worlds” was on display at the Science Museum of Minnesota and any medical assistant student wishing to attend was given the opportunity to go.  Since the MA Club wanted to ensure that students could attend, the club account paid for the tickets so the only cost to students was gas and food.

Dr. Gunther von Hagens is the creator of this amazing display of the human body from conception to death.  His development of plastination has revolutionized the preservation of specimens and made it possible to display them with all muscles, bones, nerves and organs still intact.  The process is fascinating and the end result is remarkable.

The students were able to explore von Hagens’ creations of a posed gymnast, ice skaters, hockey players, a woman in a yoga pose and an elderly gentleman hunched over.  There were several displays ranging from plastinated healthy lungs and smokers lungs to a heart with an artificial valve.  This all-encompassing display was a phenomenal way for students to see the connection of muscle groups, the location of vital organs and the complexity of the nerves that run through the human body. 

Medical Assistant student, Amanda Cnare was excited to be able to make the trip to see this unbelievable and educational exhibit. “I thought that this was a great experience, as well as a learning opportunity especially being in Anatomy and Physiology class currently. It was interesting being able to see, in-person, all of the things that I am learning about.”Medical Assisting, Body Worlds

Some students were already familiar with Dr. Gunther von Hagens through the Globe University library Films on Demand.  The students in the Microbiology and Urinalysis class have watched an autopsy performed by Dr. von Hagens in which he dissects a diseased kidney from a female patient and goes on to show the process of kidney filtration through a contraption he designed.  Students were very excited to hear this exhibition was designed by von Hagens as they knew the depth with which he details the human body in the videos they have watched.

This opportunity was ideal for students to see close-up how the body looks under the layers of skin.  Despite the teaching tools at our disposal, there is really so much to be gained by experiencing an exhibit such as this.  It makes the students appreciate the human body and its complexity.  It was also eye-opening for the real damage caused by smoking and obesity.  These invaluable lessons sometimes need to be seen first-hand by students to fully understand what they will be dealing with in a clinic setting.

Anyone interested in Dr. von Hagens’ work can learn more about it by visiting the website: .  If you are interested in watching any of Dr. von Hagens’ autopsies, you can access them on the Globe University Library website under Films on Demand.

By Kerry Miller-Mouzon, Medical Assistant Program Chair, Globe University – Wausau