“Have fun. This is not incompatible with learning!”
— The Conroys, WUSM Anatomy faculty from 1983 to 2016
Welcome to WUSM Anatomy! We love teaching this course, and we hope you will love it as much as we do. Our body donors have given you an incredible gift from which to learn the geography of the human body and the variation therein. Take this gift seriously and honor their wishes, but enjoy the experience. Human anatomical dissection is a rare and privileged experience, and you will learn more from the process than from any textbook. As stated by our predecessors, the Conroys: “What lies beneath the skin reveals human commonality and individuality as written in the pattern of blood vessels, nerves, and muscles.”
The Anatomy lab is a vibrant place where you will spend much of your time engaging with faculty and peers as you work through the structures assigned for that week. You will dissect as a team with three or four of your coursemates, exploring the material through tactile discovery. Small group activities, such as radiology lectures, questions of the week, and demonstrations of pre-dissected material will complement your dissection work and provide a deeper review of challenging concepts. Radiology plays heavily into the course, as this is the mode by which many of you will interact with anatomy throughout your careers. Although there is a huge amount of material in the anatomical sciences, try not to let this overwhelm you. We are training you to be doctors, not anatomists. You will not retain every detail of the subject, but you will become familiar with the language and concepts of anatomy with more immediacy than you may have thought possible. Work closely with your team and take advantage of the presence of the faculty and teaching assistants.
The Anatomy course provides a great opportunity for practicing professionalism — time management, group work, and empathy for your patients (donors). Participation in lab is required, and punctual and consistent lecture attendance is strongly encouraged. With such a large volume of information to learn, preparation is key! The lectures prepare you for what you will discover in lab that week, and the dissector acts as your guide for lab — so, be sure to read ahead. In addition, the course includes many guest lectures from WUSM and BJC HealthCare physicians who bring an exciting and tangible clinical perspective to the anatomy you are discovering in lab. Please honor their time by attending. The lab is a fun, collaborative, and non-competitive environment, but this does not make it easy. Work hard, early and often, and we know you will succeed and enjoy the experience!