Anatomy, medical education, and human ancestral variation



It is argued in this article that the human body both in health and disease cannot be fully understood without adequately accounting for the different levels of human variation. The article focuses on variation due to ancestry, arguing that the inclusion of information pertaining to ancestry in human anatomy teaching materials and courses should be carried out and implemented with care and in line with latest developments in biological anthropology and related sciences. This seems to be of particular importance in the education of health professionals, as recent research suggests that better knowledge of human variation can improve clinical skills. It is also argued that relatively small curricular changes relating to the teaching of human variation can produce significant educational gains. Anat Sci Educ. © 2011 American Association of Anatomists.