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Human Cadaver Prosection Program returns to IU Northwest

Indiana University School of Medicine–Northwest–Gary has announced the return of the International Human Cadaver Prosection Program for the summer of 2019.

The human cadaver prosection program is an innovative, hands-on medical program that allows non-physician and non-medical student participants the opportunity to become active volunteers in the IU School of Medicine-Northwest-Gary gross anatomy laboratory, which examines the structure of organs and tissues.

Participants ”prosect” anatomical donors, or prepare them for use in human anatomy research and education. Through the process, they gain detailed knowledge of human anatomy, medical imaging, and wound suturing, as well as a greater understanding of tissue histology, embryology, prosthetics, orthotics, and orthopedics medical specialties.

The world-renowned program, which has received significant acclaim during its 18-year history for its compassionate “first patient” philosophy, took a temporary hiatus in order to examine ways to reshape its curriculum.

Associate Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology Ernest Talarico, Ph.D, the program’s director and creator, announced that participants can expect a more comprehensive experience next summer, with five full days of cadaver prosection, more didactic and online sessions, and deeper exploration into the human body’s structures and systems.

“The prosection program is internationally recognized for its practice of reaching out to cadaver donors’ families and establishing a relationship with them. The interaction between the grateful students for their learning and the families of the donors is inspiring,” said Carl Marfurt, Ph.D, interim associate dean and director of IU School of Medicine-Northwest-Gary. “Just as impressive, though, is how Dr. Talarico and his team continue to raise the bar with regard to the rigorous academic preparation the program provides for aspiring health professionals.”

The 2019 program will take place on IU Northwest’s campus in Gary with biweekly sessions beginning May 28 and concluding with two weeks of workshops and cadaver prosection through August 2.

Applications will be available on the IU School of Medicine website beginning November 26 and will close March 22, 2019.

A compassionate approach

The International Human Cadaver Prosection Program is anchored in teaching gratitude, respect and professionalism. In addition to learning basic anatomy, participants will celebrate human dignity.

In accordance with the “Talarico Protocol for Human Gross Anatomy” (Clinical Anatomy Journal), cadaver donors in the laboratory are treated with the same dignity and consideration that living patients would expect to receive from their physician. Participants are reminded that the donors have essentially become “first patients” for them. This means that donors should be referred to by their names.

Additionally, as part of the “Talarico Protocol,” participants are given the opportunity to correspond with families of the donors. It is an experience, Talarico says, that can have a fundamental impact on participants’ future interaction with patients. The program concludes with a Service of Remembrance, attended by the cadaver donors’ families, in which the program participants honor their “first patients” and express their gratitude for their loved ones’ incredible gift.

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