Evolution of Gross Anatomy into Human Structure: A New Design for Old Content

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Conference Proceeding

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Before 1995, the medical Gross Anatomy course was taught in a traditional format of one hour lecture followed by three hours of dissection with four students per dissection table. There were forty–four hours of lecture and one hundred fourteen hours of dissection. Given administrative encouragement, the course was revised to 1. reduce lecture hours, 2. incorporate peer–teaching, 3. promote small group interaction, 4. introduce clinical problem solving and 5.encourage independent learning. To insure that clinically important material was not omitted, a content survey was sent to all clerkship directors. Based on results of the survey and input from a content committee, lectures were reduced to 17, of which 11 were based on embryology. All other material was covered in small group interactions and by a computer program, Beyond Vesalius. While computer time was scheduled, students had to master the material without faculty input. Once a week students were given clinical problems based on content covered previously. After solving the problems in small groups, they presented their solutions to their peers. Faculty facilitated these sessions but only provided answers after students completed their presentations. In the laboratory six students were assigned to a dissection table. During the first two hours, two students dissected and in the last hour the dissectors peer taught those who did not dissect earlier. All students were task oriented when dissecting. Most students (91%) agreed that the course provided opportunity for active participation and integrated content from basic science and clinical medicine (83%). Students (83%) felt that the small groups encouraged questions, discussion and interaction. With reference to the number of lectures, 66 % of the class felt that the amount of material presented was satisfactory. Overall, student evaluations were very positive.


Presented at the 15th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists, Lexington, KY.