Joanne Tillotson’s “Anatomy Flashcards” are a hit with students and teachers across the country. In its first year the cards sold about 19,000 copies.
The “Flashcards” were the second collaboration by Dr. Tillotson an Associate Biology Professor at Purchase College in Purchase, New York ,and Stephanie McCann, an accomplished medical illustrator who teaches at Santa Barbara City College, and has her own illustration studio in Santa Barbara, California.
Joanne Tillotson had been teaching undergraduate biology laboratories for over 14 years, the last ten at Purchase, when she was approached by an editor at Kaplan Medical Publishing to “coauthor” The Fetal Pig Coloring Book with Stephanie.
“I was invited to do this because the editor found my Purchase College website for my General biology II laboratory—which included studying the fetal pig, she said.” “ I had lots of verbiage about what students were to look for and at in their dissections, but no significant illustrations. I always recognized this as a real deficiency for the class, but could not remedy it myself. When the Coloring Book idea was broached, I immediately saw it as a solution for my students, and accepted the invitation. Stephanie would send me her completed drawings, I would critique them (basically, look for errors) and write an accompanying text, then send both back to her for review. When we agreed on a chapter, we would submit it to an editor. The Fetal Pig Coloring Book was first published in 2007. I have required it in my General Biology II laboratory since then, and student success has improved significantly (grades on the final practical exam are at least 10% higher, student engagement is noticeably improved).”
Following this, Stephanie wanted to complete a flash card project for human anatomy and invited Joanne to collaborate with her on that as well. Kaplan Medical Publishing went through some changes in editors which disrupted their schedules but the final release date was January of 2009.
“Again, Sephanie and I agreed on the overall organization and list of cards, then I wrote an introduction to go with an overview diagram of the system being covered, and we went into details on the subsequent cards,” she said. “Again, we went back and forth with the illustrations and the text to agree on each and then submitted them. At this point, the editors added another review level and hired a physician to review each card for correctness. We went through an intense writing/drawing period to produce the cards, but are very proud of our product. Most of the comments I have seem on Amazon and other sources have suggested that our organization is useful and the level is quite appropriate for an introductory course in anatomy, which was the target we had in mind,” she said.