The Clinical Anatomy and Imaging Laboratory: Vertical Integration in the Preclerkship Curriculum

Deborah S. Barry, John M. Dent, Mark Hankin, David Moyer, Neeral L. Shah, Anne Tuskey, Victor Soukoulis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Introduction: As medical schools implement integrated curricula, anatomy education especially has experienced increased pressure to make foundational content clinically relevant. We designed a novel type of integrative anatomy laboratory experience where students could use foundational anatomy concepts in concert with modern imaging/diagnostic techniques to enhance important clinical concepts. Methods: We selected a process called Lesson Study to develop the multidisciplinary Clinical Anatomy and Imaging Laboratory (CAIL) in the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems. We utilized soft-embalmed cadavers extensively for their highly realistic tissue appearance and texture, which allowed instructors and students to perform a wide array of procedures in case-based scenarios similar to practicing clinicians. We conducted field observations of participating students, focus-group discussions, and knowledge-based exams to examine efficacy of the CAIL. Results: Approximately 150 first- and second-year students participated in each of the CAIL activities on an annual basis. Most focus-group participants felt the CAIL was a great learning experience. They commented on how the lab provided relevance to anatomy knowledge and helped integrate prior classroom learning more deeply. Instructors noted that students asked more advanced, clinically relevant questions than in a typical anatomy lab. Knowledge improved significantly after the CAIL, although it is unclear if this translates to summative exams. Discussion: The CAIL creates a unique learning experience where students use prior foundational anatomy knowledge in conjunction with modern imaging and diagnostic techniques to reinforce important clinical concepts. We have continued to integrate CAIL experiences into more clinical systems in our medical school curriculum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10824
Number of pages1
JournalMedEdPORTAL : the journal of teaching and learning resources
StatePublished - May 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Anatomy
  • Cardiology
  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Gastroenterology
  • Gross Anatomy
  • Lesson Study
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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