Objective

Faced with COVID-19 safety protocols that severely limited the ability to conduct chiropractic technique instruction in the usual manner, our university invested the resources to develop a new mannequin lab for hands-on training, which would help supplement the loss of person-to-person contact.

Methods

Training mannequins could enable student learning of palpation and adjustment skills while avoiding close human–human contact. The university had developed a mannequin over the previous 4 years consisting of a full-sized human torso with individually movable and palpable vertebrae, pelvis, and thighs. In the mannequin, 64 pressure sensors are attached to particular vertebral and skeletal landmarks and provide feedback on palpation location and level of force applied. We assembled 3 teams to produce 20 copies of that mannequin for student use.

Results

Mannequins were produced in 7 weeks, and space was built out for a special lab. Faculty members are developing classroom procedures to introduce the mannequin to students, phase in the skills from static and motion palpation, and practice thrust performance.

Conclusion

The production run was successful, and the resulting equipment, well-received by students and faculty. In addition to helping teach manual skills, the lab serves as a platform for educational research to test the efficacy of mannequin-based training protocols. With the pressure sensors on known locations along the spine, future research may be able to test the ability of students to identify and contact specific target locations for adjustive thrusts.

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Author notes

This is an award-winning paper presented at the Chiropractic Educators Research Forum (CERF), Harnessing the Web: How Chiropractic Education Survives and Thrives During the COVID-19 Pandemic. The CERF awards are funded in part by sponsorships from NCMIC, ChiroHealth USA, Activator Methods, Clinical Compass, World Federation of Chiropractic, and Brighthall. The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by these sponsors.

Lydia Dever is the Division Chair of Chiropractic Sciences at Life University (1269 Barclay Circle, Marietta, GA 20060; ldever@life.edu). Ronald Hosek is a senior research scientist at the Dr. Sid E. Williams Center for Chiropractic Research at Life University (1 Baltimore Place NW, Atlanta, GA 30308; ronald.hosek@life.edu). Brent Russell is a professor at the Dr. Sid E. Williams Center for Chiropractic Research at Life University (1 Baltimore Place NW, Atlanta, GA 30308; brussell@life.edu). Stephanie Sullivan is the Director of the Dr. Sid E. Williams Center for Chiropractic Research at Life University (1 Baltimore Place NW, Atlanta, GA 30308; Stephanie.sullivan@life.edu).

Concept development: EFO, LLD, RSH, BSR. Design: EFO. Supervision: EFO, SS. Data collection/processing: EFO. Analysis/interpretation: EFO. Literature search: EFO. Writing: EFO, LLD. Critical review: EFO, RSH, BSR, SS.