Author: Karim Sidhom BSc
The role of cadaveric dissection for medical education has been subject to scrutiny in recent years. Questions around its effectiveness compared to other modalities for gross anatomy education were further potentiated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of this commentary is to describe the ongoing importance of cadaveric dissection for medical education. A brief history of gross anatomy education is described as well as the contemporary approaches to anatomy education for medical learners. The current role of cadaveric dissection as a unique and effective resource for learning is examined in comparison to other modalities. Anatomical instruction at the University of Manitoba Max Rady College of Medicine is used as an example to discuss gross anatomy education before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adaptations made because of the pandemic, and considerations therein, are explored based on discussions with current anatomy laboratory instructors at the University of Manitoba. Overall, cadaveric dissection is demonstrated to be a valuable learning tool for earlyyears medical students and continues to be safely incorporated into coursework in the context of a pandemic. Expanding the availability of gross anatomy education for senior-years medical students, as well as postgraduate medical education, should be strongly considered.
Keywords: medical education, cadaver, dissection, COVID-19