How to Dissect Anatomy in Physical Therapy Education

Mike Pascoe is a professor of anatomy at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus teaching gross anatomy to PT, PA, and medical students. He received his PhD in neurophysiology from the University of Boulder.

Mike reminds us that graduate level anatomy courses present a vast amount of information quickly. He recommends study strategies that can include drawing/painting on the body, creative dances, and building paper models and drawings to have an active learning experience. If you are a SPT looking for further anatomy resources, look no further with Mike Pascoe.

With COVID, anatomy courses were completed either remotely or present in the lab but limited to extremities. To perform anatomy on campus, anatomy educators created a guide to explain the importance of donor-based anatomy on student learning.

Mike uses light field photography, student wikis and digital dissection guides to increase the learning outcomes. He conducted a study comparing traditional dissection guides to a custom written digital dissection guide and found better outcomes with a more specific guide.

For the last five years, the University of Colorado has held a student-led Marquette challenge bringing practicing clinicians into the lab to learn and practice anatomy dissection.

Check out Mike Pascoe’s website about all the anatomy resources for the student physical therapist and current clinicians.


“When you leave anatomy class and you are with a patient, every patient is going to be an exam for you, an anatomy exam.” – MIKE

“If you want your anatomy and your learning to be durable, it has to be difficult.” – MIKE


“Make learning fun. When students need to understand the given area of skin inverted by a spinal nerve, that’s when the derma suit comes out.” – MIKE