2018 Grant Award: Samantha Olson

My Anatomy in Italy trip was one of the most influential and exciting weeks of my life. This trip included not only a scientific curriculum, but also included cultural, historical, and artistic aspects that contributed to a very well rounded and exciting experience. Throughout the trip we went on a multitude of excursions and talks where we discussed the history of each of the four cities we visited along with scientific background. In Verona, we met with a Professor from the University. He gave us an hour-long lecture discussing the Universal Healthcare system that Italy has along with details about the education system in general. This was very beneficial for me because it was my first trip to Europe and it can be easy for me to assume that the rest of the world has the same format for society as we do. Europe is such a different world, and a different pace and it was nice to be able to clearly identify and discuss some of the differences with a professional within the medical field. Later that day, we had the pleasure of making three pasta dishes from scratch with a chef at a culinary school along with meeting a governor and restaurant owner. The second city we went to was Bologna and it consisted of almost 24 hours of learning about the medical field. The first place we visited was the Archiginnasio where students at the University of Bologna would perform dissections. The architecture as well as the historical background we learned about in class made it a fantastic experience. Moving on from there we were able to visit the Palazzo Poggi, where we had a private tour of the Anatomy/Obstetrics section where Lucio Cocco, an anatomy professor at the University along with Dr.Luisa Leonardi, another staff member, discussed the different displays present within the museum and answered any questions we had. Through the Plazzo Poggi there were anatomical waxes and real bones on display along with medical tools and descriptions on what they were used for. The museum even contained models that were used to teach students at the time about obstetrics. That evening we had the pleasure of having dinner with Professor Cocco and Leonardi and I got to sit next to Cocco. We had discussions about medical schools in Italy, his role as a professor and researcher, and even some politics. I am very lucky to be given the opportunity to get to know international professors on a personal level. The next day we went to the Luigi Cattaneo collection that is located in the present-day facilities of the Department of Human Biology at the University of Bologna and features waxes from the Florentine and Bolognese schools, including larger-than-life specimens, examples of various abnormal pathologies and skull collection. There we were again given a personalized tour, but we also got to meet with students who were a part of the Medical school! They were visiting the collection for the first time as well and we got to talk with them about their lives and experiences in medical school thus far. We then got lunch and coffee with them so we continued to make friendships and I know I learned an immense amount about the medical field along with a variety of backgrounds and cultures because the students that we met with were a part of the English-speaking program, so they were from all over the world. Next, we went to Florence and visited three of Michelangelo’s works and discussed how he progressed as an artist and how his knowledge of anatomy grew throughout the years. We then went to Rome where we were able to visit all the typical Italy sights such as the Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and Pantheon. We also able to visit two amazing museums that followed the history of medicine and showed how the tools and technology have changed throughout history. This experience has made this semester the best one yet and has shown me the vastness of the medical field along with a diverse perspective on a multitude of aspects pertaining to the medical field.