2020 EdTech Innovations Mini Grant Awards

Experiential Learning: Operative Neuroanatomy Using Virtual Reality and Cadaver Lab


The Stanford School of Medicine is announcing a new elective course: “Operative Neuroanatomy using Virtual Reality and Cadaver Lab”. Immersive Virtual Reality (VR) is an innovative tool that is already an essential part of our clinical patient care, and now we are extending its benefits to Stanford’s medical education program as well. Our goal is to provide access to this tool for students of all levels. The various course sessions will provide space for students to not only hear about, but actually experience complex neuroanatomy in 3D and contextualize it through the analysis of the pathological findings of different patients’ cases. Stanford Medicine will pioneer the evaluation of the role of VR in medical education through this course. Moreover, it will allow Stanford Medical students the opportunity to immerse themselves, as early as in their first years of medical school, into more applied and effective preparation for their careers in surgery and neuroscience.


  • Diana Anthony
    • Program Manager, Stanford Neurosurgical Simulation & Virtual Reality Center
  • Juan Fernandez-Miranda, MD
    • Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University
    • Surgical Director, Stanford Brain Tumor Center and Stanford Pituitary Center
    • Director, Surgical Neuroanatomy, Fiber Tractography, and Virtual Simulation Research Center

Primary Instructors:

  • Vera Vigo, MD
    • Fellow, The Stanford Neurosurgical Training and Innovation Center
  • Ayoze Doniz-Gonzalez, MD
    • Fellow, The Stanford Neurosurgical Training and Innovation Center
  • Yuanzhi "Julius" Xu, MD
    • Fellow, The Stanford Neurosurgical Training and Innovation Center

Secondary Instructors:

  • Tatiana Jansen
    • VR Program Lead, Surgical Theater
  • Solomiia Savchuk
    • 1st year medical student, Stanford

Technology Partnership:

  • Patrick O’Neil
    • Product Director for Surgical Theater

Awarded: $5000.00

Anatomy XR - Assessing the use of Virtual Reality Technologies to Enhance Learning of Anatomy


Can Virtual Reality VR democratize education so anyone, anywhere, can have access to a world-class medical curriculum? Science fiction has dreamed of beaming knowledge directly into the Matrix of our brains, and this learning-on-demand vision is more feasible than ever with today’s VR systems. We propose an affordable VR anatomy learning system, adapted from Stanford University’s cloud-based 3D digital anatomy curriculum content, and ported into VR with the latest generation of affordable consumer-grade VR headsets, 6-DOF tracking systems, and haptic controllers. Traditional anatomy programs rely on costly human cadavers and static textbooks, but VR class sessions will allow us to enhance existing curricula, while giving access to a broader range of learners globally – many of whom cannot afford a cadaver lab. We will evaluate the VR system’s learning efficacy in Stanford’s BIOE51 anatomy course, and then explore further expansion to partner medical schools, towards a universal access model for learning-on-demand in VR.


  • Dr. Sakti Srivastava, MD
    • Chief of the Division of Clinical Anatomy, lead faculty for this project, and is the instructor of the spring BIOE51 course.
  • Matt Hasel
    • Technology consultant for the Stanford Anatomy Department, core contributor to the existing digital anatomy curriculum implemented on mobile devices.
  • Somin Jo
    • Undergraduate student supporting planning, data collection and evaluation.

VR & Education Technology Consultants:

  • Joel Sadler 
  • Orion Parrott

Awarded: $10000.00

Using Design Thinking and Blended Learning for UME Curriculum Development


Faculty development sessions are often plagued by low attendance and lacking in active learning modalities supported by current educational research. While many institutions have begun to integrate active learning in the classroom, faculty development sessions have not typically followed suit.

This project used a blended approach to deliver a series of workshops centered on applying design thinking to curriculum development in undergraduate medical education. Active face-to-face workshops were mirrored by design activities online using a variety of web-based tools. The goal of the project is two-fold: to support participants to development of curricula and to gather data on the effectiveness of interactive blended modalities in the context of faculty and curriculum development.


  • James Lau, MD 
    • Director of CTSS program, Core Clerkship director
    • Role: Overseeing CTSS program
    • Dr. Lau is the founding member of the CSS program, holds a Masters in education and is director of the core clerkships for the MD program at Stanford.
  • Adam Hain
    • Associate Director of Instructional Development
    • Role: Designing and moderating online environment, data collection and analysis
    • Adam has created numerous online and blended programs related to medical education, has taught instructional design at the masters level and is currently completing a doctoral program at central Michigan University.
  • Meenu Singh
    • Design Thinking SME, Learning Experience Designer
    • Role: Conducting face-to-face workshops
    • Meenu has conducted numerous design thinking workshops nationally and is also is pursuing a master’s in education at the Stanford SOE.

Awarded: $5500.00

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