Monday was the annual Anatomy Day visit to the History of Medicine Collections. This is one of my favorite times of the year!
In the fall, all of the first year medical students here at Duke—about one hundred of them—visit the History of Medicine Collections to view historical anatomical atlases. This is a chance for them to see how anatomy has been represented over hundreds of years, and also provides stimulating and interesting texts that they can compare to what they are seeing in the dissection lab.
Faculty and staff contribute to Anatomy Day by engaging with students and asking questions about the texts on display. This year, participants included the main coordinator of the event, Dr. Jeff Baker, along with Dr. Ara Tourian, Dr. Rick Madden, Professor Valeria Finucci, Professor Shannon Withycombe, and Rubenstein Library staff members Laura Micham, Kate Collins, Andy Armacost, and Jessica Janecki. Materials on display ranged from a 17th century copy of a 14th century illuminated Islamic medical manuscript to the controversial Pernkopf atlases from the mid-twentieth century.
The comments I heard this year were “awesome,” “I love anatomy so I loved everything,” and “overall, this experience was great and I liked to see the progression of anatomical representations.” I overheard students have serious ethical discussions about dissection and talk about the variety of ways they learn about the human body. I also talked to a student who told me that the greatest tool out of all the tools a student could have in the anatomy lab is the hand.
I’m already looking forward to next year’s Anatomy Day and talking with students about the array of anatomical texts here at the History of Medicine Collections!
For more photos, visit the “Anatomy Day 2011” set on our Flickr photostream!
Post contributed by Rachel Ingold, Curator for the History of Medicine Collections.