Cadaveric Clinical Integration: Integration of Basic Science and Medical Science

Leslie Day, Ericka Greene, Bhargavi Patham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Cadaveric dissection is an integral part of many medical schools and provides an opportunity for students to visualize anatomical structures through active learning and critical thinking. Often during dissection, several pathological features and medical interventions can be identified, but are not regularly explored due to time or knowledge constraints. To encourage horizontal integration of content, a self-directed learning (SDL) activity was implemented across four concurrent courses, gross anatomy (MGA), Foundations of Medicine which includes histology and physiology (FOM), Practice of Medicine that includes physical examination (POM) and Engineering Innovation (ENG). The goal of this longitudinal experience was to foster integration of basic science with clinical science thereby increasing metacognitive and lifelong learning skills. METHODS: 49 students enrolled in the Engineering-Medicine dual degree program at Texas A&M College of Medicine were divided into 7 groups, based on the cadaveric dissection assignments in MGA. Over the 16-week MGA course, students documented the medical interventions and pathology found during dissection. During most dissection labs, a surgeon related to the field was present to answer questions. In addition, at three time points in the semester an anatomical pathologist performed a modified autopsy on the cadavers based on students request. This self-directed, problem-based learning (PBL) activity culminated in a forensic clinical summary, reconstructed comprehensive patient encounter 1 year prior to death, and 15-minute oral presentation of their findings of their assigned cadaver. To assess potential changes in learning behavior, students completed a 46-question, 8 subcategory modified Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) related to the activity. In addition, student's provided verbal and written feedback on their perceptions of the project. RESULTS: 47 out of 49 students successfully completed all aspects of the project. The was a positive trend and strong correlation in 7 out of 8 MSLQ categories, including intrinsic motivation, metacognition, task value, critical thinking, self-efficacy, peer learning and help seeking. A paired t-test showed a decrease in student's extrinsic motivation (t(46) = 1.831, p = 0.037) as related to the project. Students reported an overall high satisfaction with the project. The student presentations demonstrated high level of integration of basic science with clinical medicine. CONCLUSION/IMPLICATION: This innovative multi-disciplinary activity increased the value of cadaveric dissection, integration of content across courses, and promoted self-directed learning of integrated clinicopathology material.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Cadaveric Clinical Integration: Integration of Basic Science and Medical Science'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this