How the pandemic is changing med students' anatomy lessons

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many medical schools to rethink how they conduct anatomy training, according to Slate.

Most medical schools conduct cadaver labs as part of first- and second-year students' anatomy education. A student's first cadaver dissection is often seen as a rite of passage in medical schools and offers students' their introduction to the human side of medicine. 

To help limit the spread of COVID-19, some institutions, such as  Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, are turning to online classes this fall. But Baylor will bring students to campus in small groups for in-person cadaver labs.

Other schools are more ahead of the curve. Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland has been using a virtual reality software called HoloAnatomy to teach anatomy for years. Typically, students all don Microsoft's virtual reality headsets and learn about anatomy together in the same room on campus. This year, the school shipped the headsets to 185 students to support virtual lessons during the pandemic. 

A recent study from Case Western found students demonstrated comparable anatomy exam scores regardless of whether they learned solely through cadaver dissection or through a mixture of in-person dissection and virtual reality.


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