Innovations Program

To expand the development, implementation, or adoption of innovative approaches and technologies that will benefit the membership and association. Proposed projects should seek to invest in the association and its membership to advance the strategic plan. Proposed projects must be relevant to the mission, vision, and values of the association. 

For the purposes of this initiative, projects deemed innovative may by built around an emerging paradigm, approaching an existing problem from a new perspective, or adopting novel approaches for your institute's catchment area, among other creative ideas. In other words, what is new and different about your project that makes it valuable to the association and its membership? What makes your project viable? 

  • Why will your innovative approach work? 
  • What new approaches does your projects use? 
  • If you are combining existing approaches, how is your project novel? 
  • What unique resources will be developed and how will it benefit the membership? 
Successful proposals will demonstrate a clear link to elements of the strategic plan and demonstrate benefits to the association and its membership. Grant recipients received up to $50,000 to dive deeper into innovation and implement their project ideas. 

Grants will be evaluated to fund projects that best fulfill the following criteria:

All applicants included on a proposal must be current members ● Clarity of problem statement and specific aims
Benefits to the membership, potential members and association
Utilization of creative and innovative solutions, approaches or technologies
Inclusivity and meaningful engagement of key stakeholders
Application of appropriate educational/research principles to an identified gap or challenge
Coherence among project goals, methods, and evaluation plan
Feasibility of timeline, resources, and execution
Collaboration and partnerships across department/ grade level, other disciplines, schools, and/or community organizations
Awareness of potential limitations of the project and proposed practical solutions
Quality and technical merit (including measurable outcomes, dissemination of findings and project sustainability)

Funding

$50,000
Funds are for project development and do not cover salaries.

Past Innovations Program Recipients

Timeline 

May 5 – Call for Innovations Program
June 4  – Letter of Intent Deadline
June 21 – Review and Decisions made for submitting Full Proposals, notifications sent out
August 16 – Full Proposals due
September 15 – Review and Decisions made
Late-September – Funding Begins

Payline Percentages

2020 & 2019 - No Awards Given
2018 - 4%
2017 - 6%
2016 - 11%
2015 - 10%
2014 - 8%

2018 Recipient
Summer Opportunities in Anatomy Research (SOAR)

Principal Investigator: Rachel Menegaz, Ph.D., University of North Texas Health Science Center 
Amount Awarded: $50,000

The Summer Opportunities in Anatomy Research (SOAR) program is 10-week internship program that offers hands-on experiences in anatomical research, education, and outreach to undergraduate students. SOAR specifically targets undergraduate populations that do not share a campus with a graduate anatomy program or have similar opportunities at their home institutions. The mission of SOAR is to recruit the next generation of anatomists from diverse and underrepresented groups, with a focus on retaining those students through individual mentorship and early career preparation.

2017 Recipient
SciComm Bootcamp

Principal Investigator: Jason Organ, Ph.D., Indiana University School of Medicine
Amount Awarded: $50,000

The inaugural Science Communication (SciComm) Boot Camp organized by members Jason Organ and Krista Hoffmann-Longtin was hosted on July 10-12 at the Indiana University School of Medicine where both are faculty. The insightful and engaging event was fully funded by the AAA Innovations Program because it directly aligns with the strategic plan’s Lead in Science Communication goal and builds a framework for training members to better engage with legislators, media, and the public. 

2016 Recipients
Anatomy for Every Body, an Outreach Program
Co-Principal Investigators: Jason Musell, Ph.D.,Louisiana State University and Adam Sylvester, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  
Amount awarded: $50,000

This program seeks to change the perception of the AAA and its members by showcasing the diversity and vibrancy of its constituents using a scalable, innovative, Plug and Play (PnP) Outreach Program, dubbed Anatomy for Every Body that will serve as a model that can be employed in a variety of settings and across scientific disciplines. This iterative program will be driven by feedback from the target audience of late middle school and early high school students from underserved populations, their parents, and their teachers to develop an evidence-based format of effective outreach most successful in educating the public about anatomy, the AAA, and its members.

“I Am Anatomy,” Raising Awareness of Transforming Perceptions by Promoting Professional Diversity
Submitted by Co-Principal Investigators Brent Thompson, Ph.D., Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Joshua W. Little, D.C., Ph.D. (Co-PI), Saint Louis University School of Medicine; and Christina Lewis, Ph.D. (Co-PI), Samuel Merritt University, on behalf of the Membership Committee. 
Amount awarded: $50,000  

The overall objective of the “I am Anatomy” campaign is to enhance the awareness of anatomy, promote the professional diversity of the discipline, and transform the perception of anatomy, using multimedia including videos and social media platforms. The common public and professional perception of anatomy is: “anatomists teach gross anatomy.” While teaching is an important aspect of many anatomists’ careers, this perception is limiting and fails to recognize the full spectrum of the discipline branches, research fields, and scientific interests encompassed by the anatomical sciences. These videos will be promoted via multimedia and social media platforms. Additionally, the team will be creating professionally produced content for use in anatomy outreach activities to promote interest in the field of anatomy by the next generation of scientists.

2015 Recipients
Anatomy Educational Research Institute (AERI)
The team of Valerie Dean O’Loughlin, Polly R. Husmann, and James J. Brokaw, of the Indiana University School of Medicine     
Amount awarded: $50,000

AERI will be a 5-day conference offered the summer of 2017, and will partner leaders in anatomy educational research with anatomists interested in improving their teaching and educational research skill sets.  AERI participants will be actively engaged and immersed in teaching pedagogies, assessments, and educational research/inquiry.  In addition, unlike webinars, AERI will provide significant face-to-face time and opportunity for discussion, collaboration, and networking among participants and field leaders.  

Anatomical Network Analysis
The team of Rui Diogo (PI) and co-PIs Julia Molnar, and Borja Esteve-Altava, of Howard University College of Medicine, in collaboration with co-PIs Julia Boughner (University of Saskatchewan) and Christopher Smith (Mount Sinai).
Amount awarded: $50,000

This project introduces to AAA and the anatomical community a powerful new method to quantify musculoskeletal modularity, integration, complexity and evolvability. The Anatomical Network Analysis will show the results of, and help explain how one does anatomical network analyses which are the newest way of promoting anatomical studies within the rising field of systems biology. In particular, by using network theory these analyses allow researchers to study the evolution of patterns of integration, modularity, and complexity, and therefore of evolvability, in a quantitative, more objective, innovative way.

2014 Recipients
Professional Development Webinars: Filling in the Gaps
Submitted on behalf of the Professional Development Committee by Phillip Brauer, Ph.D.
Amount awarded: $50,000

This program will address gaps in graduate education and research training by developing and offering online webinar courses and programs to members. The Professional Development Committee will develop three webinars as pilot projects each addressing a specific set of skills essential for successful professional career development of researchers and educators.

Virtual Microscopy Database  – Innovations in Resource Sharing and Collaboration
Co-principal investigators: Lisa M.J. Lee, Ph.D., Michael Hortsch, Ph.D., Haviva M. Goldman, Ph.D.
Amount awarded: $50,000

This program will address creating a centralized repository where users can download and/or upload digital histology slides to provide educators and researchers with a wide selection of slides that can be used for courses and for enhancing educational research and innovation. It is the intention of the program to also provide similar access to non-AAA members thereby increasing the database and establishing AAA as the leader in open-access resource provider and continue to succeed in member recruitment.