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Medical Illustration Students in the Gross Anatomy Lab

Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine utilizes a prosection-based approach to preclinical anatomy curriculum. Carefully prosected cadavers have proven to be excellent learning tools in the gross anatomy laboratory but an immense amount of work goes into producing the specimens. To aid in maintaining a robust specimen inventory, MSU offers an undergraduate prosection course. This self-directed course includes descriptive protocols designed to guide students through challenging prosection projects. To supplement the protocols, students use conventional dissector texts and atlases to find suitable images and directions for the various steps of each project. In an effort to streamline the protocols and offer prosection students one high yield resource for their prosections, medical illustration students from nearby Kendall School of Art and Design are creating customized anatomical images to compliment current protocols. Recently, CHM has partnered with Kendall School of Art and Design to create and pioneer a medical illustration program. With the proper prerequisites, Kendall students are eligible to take MSU’s undergraduate prosection course. Kendall students who have completed the prosection course serve as laboratory assistants (LAs). These students are ideal for this project as they had previously completed the course and experienced the challenges associated with the written protocols. The LAs attempt to identify the most challenging steps in a protocol and enrich prosection protocols with step-by-step illustrations. This project introduces a novel approach to dissection instruction and explores the role of medical illustration students in the anatomy lab.

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