anatomy

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Medical students have been learning anatomy – by dissecting cadavers – in much the same way for hundreds years. But the method is time consuming. 

Christine Montross

Christine Montross, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, is, in addition to that long title, an author. She wrote Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab (Penguin Books, 2007) as a way to understand her own experience as a medical student going through anatomy lab.

Public Domain

Medical students and doctors tell me they'll never forget their first cadaver, the body they came to know intimately in their first year anatomy class. I remember Future Docs Sarah Rapoport and Peter Kaminski telling me they felt a kind of reverence for this person who gave the gift of their body. At Brown University's medical school, a handful of students work together on the same cadaver throughout the whole session. They get to know a bit about the life that cadaver led before they encounter it in the lab.