Anatomy Students Explore Boston Bioskills Lab


Kayla Broshihan '19

New this year, Westborough High School anatomy students had the opportunity to visit the Boston Bioskills Lab (BBL) to attend their first anatomy academy workshop. Located in the Seaport district of Boston, MA, BBL is a surgical training facility primarily used by surgeons and medical personnel to practice the use of new techniques and equipment. For the first time ever, high school students were given the opportunity to spend a day at the lab for the ultimate hands-on exploration of the medical field.

The day began with a tour of the facility which includes the main lobby, locker rooms, two conference rooms, and the two lab rooms. The students viewed the equipment set up in the labs that help make it as similar to an operating room as possible. Everything from the lights, tools, and protective wear are set up to mirror the OR.
The day continued with an informative class taught Keith Beals, Physician’s Assistant. The class focused on the anatomy and mechanics of the knee joint. After covering both the muscles, bones, and ligaments, the class then moved onto the discussion of sports related injuries. Beals showed the students how to perform a physical examination of the knee. After observing, the students had an opportunity to practice performing both knee assessments and a palpation activity with a partner.

The second half of the day included hands on activities. The students were first instructed on how to properly put on personal protective equipment that would typically be used for surgery. This included a surgical gown, headcovers, shoe covers, eye protection, and gloves. An informative session on some of the tools used in the operating room and what the role of a surgical tech is like followed. Beals then brought the group into the lab and taught the students how to suture and tie knots. After watching, students used pig legs to practice this skill. Student Miles Henderson thought “It was really exciting and a cool experience to practice real suturing.”

The highlight of the day for the students was getting the opportunity to handle a human cadaver leg. The leg was dissected by WHS anatomy teacher, Mr. Fontaine; the main focus for students was the knee joint. The students were able to move the leg, see how the knee joint works, and identify the role of the ligaments. Student Casey McNamara described this experience: “It was something that is completely one of a kind. I don’t think many other high school students can say they are able to say they have handled a real, dissected human leg before.” To conclude the day, Beals used an arthroscope to demonstrate techniques by surgeons. Students left with a real live look at the human anatomy they had studied.

Overall, this inaugural field trip was a success for both Westborough High School and the Boston Bioskills Lab. Mr. Fontaine thought the trip was a great opportunity for his students and that “BBL Anatomy Academy offers students an authentic, hands-on experience that was once reserved only for medical students. There is nothing else like it.”

BBL Anatomy Academy is looking to offer additional workshops in the future and hopes to continue making this opportunity available to students.

Boston Bio Labs
27 Drydock Ave

2nd floor

Boston, MA 02210