Evolution of the anatomical theatre in Padova

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Abstract

The anatomical theatre played a pivotal role in the evolution of medical education, allowing students to directly observe and participate in the process of dissection. Due to the increase of training programs in clinical anatomy, the Institute of Human Anatomy at the University of Padova has renovated its dissecting room. The main guidelines in planning a new anatomical theatre included: (1), the placement of the teacher and students on the same level in a horizontal anatomical theatre where it is possible to see (theatre) and to perform (dissecting room); (2), in the past, dissection activities were concentrated at the center of the theatre, while in the new anatomical theatre, such activities have been moved to the periphery through projection on surrounding screens—thus, students occupy the center of the theatre between the demonstration table, where the dissection can be seen in real time, and the wall screens, where particular aspects are magnified; (3), three groups of tables are placed with one in front with two lateral flanking tables in regards to the demonstration table, in a semicircular arrangement, and not attached to the floor, which makes the room multifunctional for surgical education, medical students and physician's continued professional development courses; (4), a learning station to introduce the students to the subject of the laboratory; (5), cooperation between anatomists and architects in order to combine the practical needs of a dissection laboratory with new technologies; (6), involvement of the students, representing the clients' needs; and (7), creation of a dissecting room of wide measurements with large windows, since a well-illuminated space could reduce the potentially negative psychological impact of the dissection laboratory on student morale. Anat Sci Educ 7: 487–493. © 2014 American Association of Anatomists.

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