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When it came to creating Monash University's physiotherapy course it was a case of art imitating life for award winning lecturer Adina Kleiner.

When Adina Kleiner was asked to develop the anatomy program for Monash University's new Physiotherapy course, the task seemed daunting, but an opportunity not to be missed.

"My aim was to create a curriculum that would stimulate students to learn anatomy well and to integrate it effectively into clinical practice. My focus was on the practical aspects of the topic, rather than the minutiae typical of many anatomy curricula," Ms Kleiner said.

The new program emerged as a melding of factors, but one highlight was the introduction of drawing skills that included a session on life drawing - an opportunity for students to tap into their creative side, study body form and interpret it in artistic detail.

"What we saw was students thinking beyond the technicalities of medicine and interpreting their written understanding of physiotherapy in a way that was reflective of the human form, yet artistic," she said.

"Students crave these stories of real-life experiences and an opportunity to take their text book knowledge and apply it. The more settings we can create for them to apply this knowledge, the better."

The result was students with greater knowledge retention and an ability to think critically and analytically, making for better patient outcomes.

Ms Kleiner's different teaching approach was recently recognised with a national award from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council. Elsewhere at Monash, fine art students are extending their education by learning anatomy.

"Our era of education requires us to be cross-disciplinary and collaborative in our approach to teaching. Thinking outside the square to create curriculum helps to create an education that is exciting and engaging," Ms Kleiner said.

Visit the Physiotherapy website.