Meet the Candidates for Board of Directors

Term: 2022-2025  |  Open Positions: 2  |  Candidates: 4

Melissa Carroll

Candidate Statement: Although Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) have been a central theme within the academy recently, I have often shared my personal history as a AAA member to highlight the great strides this organization has made. When I became a member in 2008 I did not see myself reflected in leadership or the presenters at EB meetings. I also felt lost when attending EB, which may have been due to my inexperience with the academy, feelings of impostorism, and being wholly overwhelmed by my teaching responsibilities. At the time I was the only anatomist at my institution, needing to manage the anatomy lab, procure the donor-cadavers, and teach rehabilitation science students all while navigating the academic politics. Networking through other anatomical conferences and EB allowed me to establish relationships that nurtured my professional growth and boosted my confidence. Part of my vision for AAA would be similar to my personal vision -- to be of service to others and to foster connections between people that could collaborate well with each other. Expanding connections is important to me because it has become more apparent that I would not have the ability to combat feelings of impostorism or be confident in skills as an academic professional without the networks of support that I have created. As I transition into my third teaching appointment and try to navigate a new academic system, I am reminded how overwhelming it could be for junior faculty starting in a new position. Strong networks with academic colleagues and a strong foundation in the educational content are critical aspects of support for members within the academy, regardless of being teaching-focused or research-focused. Most importantly, as a member of an underrepresented minority group, I found it essential to find a collaborative network to reaffirm my identity as an anatomist that was a valued member of a research or teaching team.

Therefore, another part of my vision for AAA is to continue creating spaces where that feeling of being lost or unseen is combatted through effective programming, networking, and awarding deserving members representative of our anatomical community. I created Black in Anatomy to increase the exposure to and representation of Black anatomists. Black in Anatomy is not a place of exclusion but a safe place to bring ideas and concerns to the table. On this venture, I have been blessed to work with some AAA members that I do not know if I would have been able to connect with otherwise. I have learned so much from them and grown professionally through our interactions. I would love to help create these opportunities for other people or cultures who have also felt unseen.  The skills and expertise that I would bring to the Board, in order to execute my vision, would be my incorrigible nature to ask questions, creativity to think outside the box, and desire to collaboratively brainstorm ideas. Some of these skills developed from my doctoral training and the challenges of being an anatomy “department” of one person, but mostly I am a “big idea” person that is not afraid of change. In the same breath, I do respect the history and long-standing traditions of associations like AAA. I am a life member of another non-profit organization established over 100 years ago and have learned to respect organizational structure and protocol. Having had an opportunity to be in a leadership position for that organization, I am also keenly aware of risk management, branding, and parliamentary procedures. These collective skills allow me to be vocal when appropriate and amenable to motions or decisions passed by the majority of the voting members, even when I may disagree.

Current Position/Institution: Associate Professor, Anatomy & Cell Biology Department, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Ph.D. Institution: Ph.D., in Anatomy, The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, 2011

Earlier Positions: Adjunct Associate Professor (2020-2021), Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University; Associate Professor (2019-2021) and Assistant Professor (2014-2019), Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, DeSales University; Graduate Faculty (2014-2015), The University of Texas at El Paso; Assistant Professor (2011-2013), Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, The University of Texas at El Paso; Course Instructor (2008-2009), The Pennsylvania State University - Harrisburg

Teaching: [Current] Human Clinical Neuroanatomy (graduate students) Human Functional Neuroanatomy (undergraduate students); Brain & Behavior (medical students); Projects in Anatomical Sciences: Introduction to Neuroradiology (graduate students); Medical Gross Anatomy Laboratory teaching: Musculoskeletal, Spinal Cord & Rheumatology, Brain & Behavior, Reproduction & Endocrinology, Cardiac, Pulmonary & Renal, Gastrointestinal & Liver (medical students); Anatomy for Health Sciences Students (physician assistant students); [Past] Fundamentals 1- Human Structure (medical students); Organ systems I: Neuroscience, psychiatry, Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology (medical Students);  Human Anatomy 1, 2 & 3: Trunk, Upper quadrant, Lower quadrant (physical therapy students); Evidence Based Practice (physical therapy students); Research 1, 2, 3, & 4 (physical therapy students); Neuroanatomy and Function (physical therapy students); Normal physiology/Embryology (physical therapy and occupational therapy students); Anatomy for Health Sciences (physical therapy and occupational therapy students); Neuroscience for Health Sciences (physical therapy and occupational therapy students);  Research Methods for Physical Therapy (physical therapy students); Directed Independent Study (graduate student); Graduate Project II (occupational therapy students); Mammalian Biology and lab (nursing students); Introductory physiology and lab (nursing students)

AAA Committee/Roles: Committee for Early Career Anatomists [CECA] member (2018-present); Structural Racism Task Force member (2021); Symposium Organizer (2021)

Other Professional Activities:
Founder, Black in Anatomy
Awards: Best Original Research Award (2017 & 2021) American Physical Therapy Association, Pennsylvania Chapter; Fellowship Award (2016) Purdue University Conference for Pre-tenure Women

Research Interest:
Anatomical Education with an emphasis on physical therapy, Anatomical variation and structural diversity, History of Anatomical Sciences with emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion

Other Professional Memberships Currently Maintained: Human Anatomy and Physiology Society [HAPS] (2008-present); American Association of Clinical Anatomists [AACA] (2010-present)

All Candidates

Secretary/Treasurer Elect

Raj Ettarh
Shaun Logan

Board of Directors

Melissa Carroll
Tamara Franz-Odendaal
Casey Holliday
Katherine Willmore

Student/Postdoc Directors

Andrew Cale
Tarimobo Otobo

Program Co-Chair

Angelo Iulianella
Paul Kulesa