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Anat Sci Educ. 2020 Feb 27. doi: 10.1002/ase.1952. [Epub ahead of print]

Survey of Gross Anatomy Education in China: The Past and the Present.

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Division of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Jinan University, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macao Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
Division of Pathology and Pathophysiology, School of Medicine, Jinan University, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China.
Division of Histology and Embryology, School of Medicine, Jinan University, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China.


Medical education in mainland China has undergone massive expansion and reforms in the past decades. A nation-wide survey of the five-year clinical medicine programs aimed to examine the course hours, pedagogies, learning resources and teaching staff of anatomy both at present and over the past three decades (1990-1999, 2000-2009, and 2010-2018). The directors or senior teachers from 90 out of the 130 five-year clinical medicine programs were invited to fill out a factual questionnaire by email. Ultimately, sixty-five completed questionnaires were received from 65 different schools. It was found that the total number of gross anatomy course hours has decreased by 11% in the past 30 years and that systematic and regional anatomy have been increasingly taught separately among the surveyed medical schools. Problem-based learning has been adopted in thirty-five (54%) of the surveyed schools, and team-based learning is used in ten (15%) of the surveyed schools. The surveyed schools reported receiving more donated cadavers in recent years, with the average number increasing from 20.67 ± 20.29 in 2000-2009 to 36.10 ± 47.26 in 2010-2018. However, this has not resulted in a decrease in the number of students who needed to share one cadaver (11.85 ± 5.03 in 1990-1999 to 14.22 ± 5.0 in 2010-2018). A decreasing trend regarding the teacher-student ratio (1:25.5 in 2000-2009 to 1:33.2 in 2010-2018) was also reported. The survey demonstrated the historical changes in gross anatomy education in China over the past thirty years.


anatomy curriculum; bequest programs; body donation programs; dissection; gross anatomy education; medical schools in China; teaching staff; undergraduate education


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