Advanced Anatomy 2021 Journal

For twenty nine years, the Westlake High school Advanced Anatomy class has been offering students the life altering, unprecedented experience of performing human specimen dissections on a high school campus.  The class is the brainchild and passion of Mrs. Nancy Bowman (BOW) who conceived of the class in 1990 with a single specimen donated from a southern California medical school and a handful of volunteer students in an afterschool program.  Using this experience, Mrs. Bowman developed a formal curriculum and obtained district approval for the formation of Advanced Anatomy at Westlake in 1992.  Since that time the program has expanded to approximately thirty students per year working in teams to perform dissections on five specimens.  Sadly, after twenty nine years of Advanced Anatomy and over forty years of teaching, Mrs. Bowman has announced her plan to retire at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.

Over the years the program developed to its current form including biomedical ethics studies, extensive reading, guest speakers and full end of year pathological reports and presentations given by the students to doctors and professors at a southern California medical school.  These presentations have earned high praise for their quality and professionalism.  The President of the medical school once stated that the presentations were “better than our first year medical students.”   Since its inception, Advanced Anatomy at Westlake has benefitted and inspired the careers of generations of doctors, nurses, physical therapists and medical professionals, engineers and scientists.

The cost of running this incredible program is approximately $60,000 per year, little of which is supported by the Westlake HS school budget.  Funding for the program comes mostly from parent contributions and extensive student fundraising including yard sales, a talent show and numerous other activities.  Students have also made yearly donations to the Loma Linda University Children’s Health Cardiac Intensive Care Unit with their fundraising.

As with most aspects of life in 2020, COVID-19 has thrown the Advanced Anatomy into a tailspin and threatened to prematurely end the class.  Fortunately, the never accept the word “no” for an answer BOW fought for and secured special permission and conditions from the school district to continue the class for this year’s students, her very last.

Unfortunately, the virus has also eliminated most of the fundraising opportunities that the students would otherwise pursue.  It is for this reason as well as our desire to make BOW’s last year a special one that we are asking for your donations.  The donations are tax deductible and will go 100% to funding the Westlake Advanced Anatomy program with any excess donated to Loma Linda University Children’s Health Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.  Any amount, no matter how big or small is greatly appreciated.


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  • Andrew Anfora 
    • 50 $ 
    • 23 hrs
  • Kristi Hronek 
    • 50 $ 
    • 1 d
  • Melinda Raymond 
    • 100 $ 
    • 1 d
  • Troy Damian  
    • 50 $ 
    • 1 d
  • Diane & John Blindbury 
    • 100 $ 
    • 3 d
See all


Nancy Bowman 
Thousand Oaks, CA

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