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This paper describes and evaluates a major renovation of a human anatomy and physiology lab for allied health students. A Howard Hughes Medical Institute award funded an extensive collaboration between faculty involved in teaching the course and faculty with expertise in industrial and furniture design. The resulting physical lab has unique features designed to improve work in groups, student movement, and integration of computers with wet laboratories. The anatomy curriculum was switched from fetal pig dissections to the use of human cadavers, computer animations, and plastic models. An inquiry approach was integrated into the physiology curriculum. Student attitude surveys suggest that the physical and curricular changes resulted in a significant increase in student learning. An experiment designed to specifically test the effect of new vs. old equipment did not support a benefit to new equipment independent of changes in the lab physical environment and curriculum. Because the improvements in student attitude surveys occurred in the physiology but not the anatomy labs, we suggest that at least a portion of the increase is due to the institution of the inquiry approach.
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