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Keywords:

  • gross anatomy education;
  • medical education;
  • basic sciences;
  • curriculum decisions;
  • curriculum design;
  • interdisciplinary curriculum;
  • integration

Abstract

Many basic scientists including anatomists are currently involved in decisions related to revisions of the undergraduate medical curriculum. Integration is a common theme in many of these decisions. As described by Harden, integration can occur along a multistep continuum from independent, discipline-based courses to a completely interdisciplinary curriculum. For anatomy, each derivative of curricular integration can be shown to involve progressive disruptions of the temporal and topographical relationship between organ systems in a body region, of the temporal relationship with other courses in a harmonized curriculum, and of the relationships between components of organ systems when integration is implemented in thematic curricula. Drawing from our experience teaching in various types of integrated medical curricula, we encourage readers to proceed cautiously with their curricular decisions because each one can have gains and losses that may impact learning in the new format. Anat Sci Educ. © 2013 American Association of Anatomists.