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Keywords:

  • education;
  • medical school;
  • anatomy;
  • cadaveric dissection;
  • imaging;
  • living anatomy

Abstract

In response to a government report, which recommended a substantial increase in the number of medical students in the United Kingdom by 2005, several new medical schools have been set up throughout the country. One such school, the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), recently opened its doors to new students. BSMS offers a 5-year medical curriculum that uses an integrated systems-based approach to cultivate academic knowledge and clinical experience. Anatomy is one of the core elements of the program and, as such, features strongly within the modular curriculum. The challenge for the anatomy faculty has been to decide how best to integrate anatomy into the new curriculum and what teaching modalities should be used. A multidisciplinary approach has been taken using both traditional and contemporary teaching methods. Unlike most of the other new medical schools, BSMS uses cadaveric dissection as the cornerstone of its teaching, as the faculty believes that dissection still provides the most powerful technique for demonstrating anatomy as well as enhancing communication and teamwork skills. The dissection experience is handled using an understanding and professional way. However, to ensure that our students do not become detached from the process of patient-focused care, emphasis in the dissecting room environment is also placed on respect and compassion. To enhance conceptual understanding of structure and function and provide further clinical relevance, we are using imaging technology to demonstrate living anatomy. Unique to the BSMS curriculum is the teaching of the anatomy in the later years of the program. During specialist rotations, students will return to the dissecting room to study the anatomy relevant to that area. Such vertical integration ensures that core anatomical knowledge is gained at the most appropriate level relative to a student's clinical experience. Anat Rec (Part B: New Anat) 284B:22–27, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.