The performance of students taking medical gross anatomy at the University of California at Davis during a 4-year period (1999-2002) was correlated with prior undergraduate anatomy coursework. Significant correlations were observed between class rank in medical anatomy and taking any undergraduate anatomy as well as the total number of undergraduate anatomy units (P < 0.01). Taking human gross anatomy and an anatomy laboratory course were significantly correlated with medical anatomy class rank (P < 0.01) as were grades in human anatomy, comparative vertebrate anatomy and anatomy laboratory courses (P < 0.05). The medical anatomy course offered in 1999-2000 was 172 hr long, and the course offered in 2001-2002 was 135 hr long, with most of the difference made by decreasing lecture time while sparing the dissection laboratory. The reduction in course length was the consequence of a curriculum-wide cap in weekly contact hours. In the 172-hr medical anatomy course there were significant correlations between the students who took undergraduate anatomy and both class rank and the score on the final examination (P < 0.01). These correlations did not exist for the 135-hr course. This may be explained by previous anatomy experiences helping students learn from lecture more than from dissection laboratory, as well as the extra study time available to students in the reformed medical curriculum. Pre-medical students and health science advisors need to consider that the benefits of taking anatomy as an undergraduate may be dependent on the configuration of a medical school's curriculum.
- Comparative vertebrate anatomy
- Dissection laboratory
- Premedical education
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