For many years, graduate students at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) were reluctant to enroll in dissection-based human gross anatomy courses. Furthermore, few graduate faculty mentors would allow their students to enroll in these courses. The significant amount of time allotted to courses such as anatomy and its effect on students' research programs have been identified by faculty as the primary reason for this lack of enthusiasm. For example, prior to 1999, graduate students taking human gross anatomy at UNTHSC registered for a 13-semester credit hour (SCH) course that was offered only in the fall semester. In the last 5 years, the anatomy teaching faculty in the Department of Cell Biology and Genetics (CGEN) restructured the human gross anatomy course for graduate students. A series of small, compact anatomy courses, ranging from 3-7 SCHs, are now offered throughout the school year to replace the single anatomy course. The CGEN faculty designed courses based on single or multiple body systems that varied in length from a few weeks to an entire semester. This change was initiated with the implementation of a system-based approach to anatomy instruction in our medical school curriculum and the elimination of our graduate anatomy course. With the development of six anatomy courses covering the entire human body, we have had a significant increase in graduate student participation. Moreover, the shorter duration of the courses has made them more appealing to graduate faculty mentors who want to keep graduate students focused on their research.
- Gaduate students