Table 19 used animation to showcase the unique opportunity they had to CT scan our cadavers. “We used the full coronal CT view of our cadaver as a reference to present each of our findings,” explains team member Abrahm Behnam. A screenshot of the webportal through which the students accessed their CT images serves as the starting point of their presentation. Images courtesy of the Class of 2017′s Abrahm Behnam.
A new twist on the traditional gross anatomy course is giving medical students an unprecedented opportunity to expand beyond basic anatomical observations. For the first time, they can send suspicious tissue biopsies to the pathology lab and even obtain a full body CT-scan of the cadaver itself.
Along with observations made during dissection, those results help them assemble a plausible clinical picture of the cadaver – a picture they then present to their classmates in “Cadaver Rounds.” In the culmination of the gross anatomy course, teams of students describe their cadavers’ major clinical problems, the typical prognosis of possible diseases found, suggest clinical or lab tests relevant to the case and, finally, a likely cause of death.
“Cadaver Rounds has moved what was a purely anatomical experience into the clinical realm,” says M. Alex Meredith, Ph.D., course director and professor of anatomy and neurobiology. The course now challenges students to observe structural anomalies in the body and then ask “what that person’s health profile was like and how those problems may have impacted their lives.”
That’s in line with larger curriculum changes the medical school debuted last year. The new course of study is clinically driven, using the preclinical years to encourage students to think of the patients they will encounter in the future.
With access to reports from pathology and radiology, students now have a self-directed opportunity to confirm, enhance or even refute or explain their observations in the gross anatomy lab. And in August, after all the dissections and other observations are completed, the student teams presented their findings to their classmates.
Table 19’s objective findings, integration and case scenario were presented along with animations describing the pathologic and diagnostic findings. Images courtesy of the Class of 2017′s Abrahm Behnam.
For Meredith, it was “perhaps the best day I’ve ever had as a teacher. The presentations were more than we could have imagined they would be both in content and in style.”
Susan R. DiGiovanni, M.D., assistant dean for preclinical medical education, was on hand for the presentations, too.
“I so wish we had something like this when I was a student,” she says. “I liked anatomy, but we didn’t much feel like future doctors as we toiled in the lab for hours trying to identify nerves, tendons, arteries and veins that had little meaning to us because we had no way of knowing how it related to patient care. There has never been anything like Cadaver Rounds.”
She remembers her own classmates discovering an abnormality during dissection and running over to other tables to compare it to what ‘normal’ looked like. “We never put the story together to think about our cadaver as a patient. Cadaver Rounds has the students looking at their cadavers in whole new light. They thought of them as a person. They wondered what their story was. They played sleuth to put the clues together much as pathologist would.
“I was astounded at the professionalism of the students’ evaluations and how carefully they thought about their ‘first patient’ in such detail. I couldn’t believe their creativity and incredible use of technology. They put many faculty to shame!”
The four teams who earn the highest scores on their presentation received the distinction of “Best Cadavers” along with copies of the recently published biography, “Medicine’s Michelangelo: The Life & Art of Frank H. Netter, M.D.”
2014 Cadaver Rounds Award Winners
Baughman Society Winner: Anatomy Dissection Table 10
Christopher John Hagen
Rebecca Anne Maddux
Lindsey Marie McKissick
Shreya Jagdish Patel
Metul Ketan Shah
Sherna Sarvajna Sheth
Benacerraf Society Winner: Anatomy Dissection Table 25
Diane Denise Holden
Sarah Louise Hughes
Vanessa Monique Mitchell
Taylor Magruder Powell
Harris Society Winner: Anatomy Dissection Table 22
Jamaal Christopher Jackson
Michael Christopher Krouse
Andrew David Lyell
Ye Ri Park
Katherine Ann Pumphrey
Megan Elizabeth Shaffer
Warner Society Winner: Anatomy Dissection Table 7
Harnek Singh Bajaj
Mark Raymond Cubberly
Maria George Hadjikyriakou
Samuel Micah Orwin
Sarah Elizabeth Pauli Smith