WebPath: the Internet Pathology Laboratory for Medical Education

This site was conceived from the necessity to create useful multimedia teaching resources for medical students at the University of Utah for use in the pathology courses given in the second year of the curriculum.

Though our curriculum remains predominantly "traditional" based upon scheduled lectures, laboratories, and small group sessions, today's students have grown up in the television and computer age. Learning that is geared to these modalities may be more helpful to them than traditional textbooks and syllabi, or at least supplement other course materials.

Man sieht nur, was man kennt

-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

During his lifetime, Goethe was very ill several times, and was attended by physicians whose opinion of the nature of the illness varied considerably. He concluded that what one observes depends upon one's knowledge base. The WebPath visual knowledge base helps to provide a means to understanding of disease processes so that physicians can better diagnose conditions that they see.

The original multimedia with text and images were developed using HyperCard programming, because in 1993 our small computer classroom at the Eccles Health Sciences Library consisted of Macintosh computers.

However, by 1994 the computer classrooms had been expanded to include both PC's and Mac's. In addition, the Appleshare server and network supporting the Macintosh computers was running at capacity. A new server was obtained for use with the World Wide Web. Multimedia developed for use with WWW client software can include multiple computer platforms.

Computer, Content, and Personnel Resources for the WebPath site consist of:

  • SPARC Sun server running Solaris version of UNIX operating system at the Eccles Health Sciences Library

  • Apache WWW Server software

  • Eccles Library support staff, with Sharon Dennis, Head of Media Services (seen at right enjoying Utah's mountain scenery)

  • Pathology cases (surgical pathology, autopsy, cytopathology, forensic pathology, clinical pathology) at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center and affiliated hospitals and laboratories, and from contributors at other institutions worldwide.