2006 Dr. Frank H. Netter Award Recipient:
A Dynamic Approach to Learning Respiratory Physiology
Michael J. Parker, Harvard Medical School

The intersection of diverse skill sets can produce extraordinary results. This concept is exemplified in A Dynamic Approach to Learning Respiratory Physiology where a traditional textbook becomes a much more powerful learning tool through the use of animation and simulations on the web.

Dr. Michael Parker of Harvard Medical School combines his knowledge of engineering, computer science, medicine, and instructional design to simplify abstract and complex subjects down to their essential elements, then expertly uses sophisticated tools to create unique and understandable models. The subjects he tackles are those that are most difficult to learn—mostly physiological concepts that are dynamic and abstract. Traditional textbooks rely on text and two-dimensional images. Words and static images have limited impact, often leaving the learner with inadequate understanding of the subject.

Dr. Parker and Dr. Richard Schwartzstein collaborated to identify subjects that are most challenging to students in a critical area of medicine, respiratory physiology. Their learning solutions include a variety of innovative applications including interactive models, animations, and visual representations of equations. Virtual models focus on the essence of the subject and allow learners to develop a solid, fundamental understanding of subjects that often take years to appreciate. The significance of these extraordinary learning tools is that improved learning leads to the ability to provide better healthcare.