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Keywords:

  • gross anatomy education;
  • undergraduate education;
  • surgical practice;
  • medical curriculum;
  • British education;
  • American education;
  • Singapore

Abstract

The disciplines of anatomy and surgery are not dichotomous since one is dependent on the other. Traditionally, surgeons predominantly taught gross and clinical anatomy. In this review, we examine the context of how human anatomy is taught nowadays. In essence, we discovered that there are certain discernable trends consistently observable between the American and British systems. In Singapore, the British Russell Group first influenced its education landscape but now more so by the American Ivy League. Singapore now has three medical schools all offering differing anatomy curricula, which serves as an opportune time for it to consider if there is a best approach given that the practice of surgery is also evolving in parallel. This review discusses the various pedagogies and issues involved, and will serve as a forum and stimulus for discussion. By tweaking the curriculum correctly and the lessons learnt, future doctors and surgeons in training will receive a better anatomical education, not just in Singapore but the world in general. Key recommendations include the use of body painting, clay, plasticine to facilitate the learning of anatomy, and the implementation of a body donation program. Furthermore, strategic mergers with key stakeholders will also ensure the survival of the discipline. Anat Sci Educ. © 2012 American Association of Anatomists.