The Bible has a lot to say about our physical bodies. We are created in His image (Genesis 1:27), we are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), and we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
Cornerstone anatomy teacher, Dr.Theresa Anderson, is passionate about challenging her students to understand and appreciate the way God designed our bodies. “My students know that God designed our bodies to SURVIVE until it's time for us to return to the Father. Senior Samantha Sands affirms this stating, “Dr. Anderson always ties back our anatomy to intelligent design!"
Dr. Anderson instructs students we can THRIVE as we fulfill our purpose in this life or our bodies will adapt to any suboptimal decisions we make. Resulting in fatigue, sickness, lack of motivation, being overweight, etc. The majority of chronic illness (heart disease and cancer lead the list) stems from chronic inflammation from unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Partnering with Parents In Action
When Cornerstone parent and Wellstar cardiac education nurse, Becky Falkins MSN, RN, CVRN-BCA, heard that her daughter’s anatomy and physiology class would soon be learning about the cardiovascular system she reached out to Dr. Anderson to see if she could assist in teaching this unit.
With Becky’s 15+ years of hands-on experience with cardiac patients, and her love for increasing community awareness of coronary artery disease and prevention, Dr. Anderson loved the idea of Becky coming in to share her knowledge with her students.
Educating on the Normal, Abnormal, and Practical Application
Dr. Anderson states, “the goal and focus of our Anatomy and Physiology classes is to focus on normal anatomy the way God designed our bodies versus what these professionals came to share about, which is the consequence of ill health either by not taking care of our temple of the Holy Spirit or just by nature of our bodies living in a fallen world. I’ve read studies that as much as 80% of chronic illness is due to lifestyle choices, which is to say that most illness could be prevented if we honored our bodies that God gave us and lived in harmony with His principles.”
On the first day, Becky covered basic cardiovascular anatomy and physiology, types of cardiac conditions, warning signs of coronary artery disease, treatment and intervention options, and the importance of risk factor modification. In addition, one of her goals was to help the students see God in the anatomy and physiology of the heart. Becky pointed out several miraculous features of the heart that can only be explained by the magnificent handiwork of a creator God.
On the second day, two special guest speakers accompanied Becky—Dr. Anand Kenia, an electrophysiologist, and Dave Seidel, a cardiothoracic surgeon physician’s assistant.
Dr. Kenia covered electrical conditions of the heart and treatments, and he also shared real-life patient case studies.
Dave took to the whiteboard, drawing and walking students through step-by-step open heart surgery procedures for coronary bypass grafts, valve replacement, and dissection repair. Senior Jacob Pilgrim shared that he found this day of presentation interesting, “I learned about the different kinds of pacemakers and how they function.”
To wrap up her time with the students, Becky taught the students American Heart Association’s Hands-Only CPR and the importance of early defibrillation with an AED. Keeping the beat to “Stayin Alive” the students got to test their compression skills on a manikin. “I learned that knowing CPR and knowing where to find an AED is crucial general knowledge,” said Cornerstone senior Samantha Sands.
Before leaving, Becky took the students around the school helping them locate the location of their school’s AEDs, and provided them with handouts from the American Heart Association to remind them of the “2 Steps to Save a Life.”
In parting, Becky gave them pens for heart month, encouraging students to “Celebrate Every Beat Live a Heart Healthy Life”.
Impacting the Future
As a result of Becky, Dr. Kenia, and Dave’s community outreach, we hope that many other students will plan on applying to Wellstar’s VolunTeen program and will be inspired to pursue careers in healthcare.
Even after her daughter graduates this year, Becky hopes to return annually during Heart Month to continue to invest in Cornerstone’s students. Becky emphasized, “It truly was a highlight of my 25-year nursing career and I can’t wait to return, as we hope to make this an annual event now.”
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Taking care of our hearts is so vitally important. For more information and for tips for investing in your heart health, check out this article from Wellstar Healthcare Systems.