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IUSM-Northwest announces 2014 International Human Cadaver Prosection Program participants

July 3, 2014

The International Human Cadaver Prosection Program, a unique medical program of IU School of Medicine-Northwest, located on the IU Northwest campus in Gary, Ind., will take place July 29 to 31.

Johntrell Bowles and class

Johntrell Bowles, right, joins other participants in the 2014 program as they examine a human heart held by Ernest Talarico, Ph.D., center, during one of four optional lectures preceding the July 29-31 event designed to provide participants a foundation in human anatomy and comfort level in the lab.

This hands-on, innovative medical program is the only one in the country that allows non-physician and non-medical student participants the opportunity to become active volunteers in the IUSM-NW gross anatomy laboratory.

Fifty-one individuals have been selected to participate in the 2014 program, plus 12 student radiographers and ultrasonographers, and 17 instructional faculty.

They will 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 participants will prepare the body donors for the Fall 2014 gross anatomy class by removing the donors’ skin and body fat to expose organs, muscles and other anatomical structures. 

This is the 15th year for the program, which is under the direction of Ernest Talarico, Ph.D., associate director of medical education and associate professor of human gross anatomy and embryology at the IU School of Medicine-Northwest. Participants will come from around the United States, as well as from Argentina, Canada, Hungary, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. 

High School Participant

At the age of 16, Johntrell Bowles, a junior at 21st Century Charter School in Gary, Ind., will find himself working alongside students and professionals who are, in some cases, decades older than him.

After his mother was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, Bowles decided his life’s passion was in healthcare, thinking, “I cannot change my mother’s illness, but I can help others.” 

In foster care now for the last six years, Bowles is steadfast in his goal, actively pursuing opportunities and experiences that will position him for his future. 

“This opportunity is truly unique,” he said. “It allows an African-American male in Northwest Indiana to experience something the 99 percent of young people will never encounter. This will be a life-changing experience for me…This program is the start of a new journey for me.”

First Patient

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," which has been published in the Journal Clinical Anatomy, 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 and for the fall medical students who will follow. This means that donors should be referred to by their names.

Additionally, as part of the "Talarico Protocol," summer 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.     

IU students participating in the 2014 International Human Cadaver Prosection Program Team are Brandon C. Karcher, IU Northwest biology/pre-medicine and Spanish student at IU-Northwest; Tyler J. Louviere, a biology student at IUPUI,  Brooks N. Platt, chemistry/pre-medicine student at IU-Bloomington; Sara N. Torabi, IUSM-NW medical student at the IU School of Medicine-Northwest 

IUSM-Northwest faculty who will assist with the program are Sunil Dedhia, M.D., Volunteer Clinical Assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery; Michael C. Leland, M.D., volunteer clinical assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery; Anthony C. Levenda, M.D., volunteer clinical assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery; Michael McGee, M.D., volunteer clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine; Nancy R. O’Keefe, visiting lecturer in anatomy and cell biology; Joseph F. Schwartz, M.D., volunteer clinical assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery; and Dwight S. Tyndall, M.D., volunteer clinical assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery.

A postdoctoral fellow, Okechukwu Valentine Nwogbo, a member of the IUSM-Northwest Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, will also assist.

A complete list of program participants and leaders is available in the IU-Northwest Newsroom

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