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Anat Sci Educ. 2017 Sep 7. doi: 10.1002/ase.1724. [Epub ahead of print]

Benefits of extracurricular participation in dissection in a prosection-based medical anatomy program.

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Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Division of Clinical and Functional Anatomy, Department of Innovation in Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the extracurricular cadaveric dissection program available to medical students at an institution with a modern (time-compressed, student-centered, and prosection-based) approach to medical anatomy education. Quantitative (Likert-style questions) and qualitative data (thematic analysis of open-ended commentary) were collated from a survey of three medical student cohorts who had completed preclerkship. Perceived benefits of dissection included the hands-on learning style and the development of anatomy expertise, while the main barrier that limited participation was the time-intensive nature of dissection. Despite perceived benefits, students preferred that dissection remain optional. Analysis of assessments for the MD2016 cohort revealed that dissection participation was associated with enhanced performance on anatomy items in each systems-based unit examination, with the largest benefits observed on discriminating items that assessed knowledge application. In conclusion, this study revealed that there are academic and perceived benefits of extracurricular participation in dissection. While millennial medical students recognized these benefits, these students also indicated strong preference for having flexibility and choice in their anatomy education, including the choice to participate in cadaveric dissection. Anat Sci Educ. © 2017 American Association of Anatomists.


assessment; dissection; extracurricular anatomy education; gross anatomy education; medical education; millennial medical student; prosection; undergraduate medical education

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