The Hidden Curriculum and Anatomy Education

  • Frederic W. HaffertyEmail author
  • Gabrielle M. Finn


Social scientists have long been interested in the impact of anatomy and the dissection experience on the professional formation of medicals students. In this chapter, we will examine the function and framing of anatomy lab and cadaver dissection as a pedagogical space (for faculty) and learning environment (for students)—and do so using the analytical lens of the hidden curriculum. We will begin with a brief look at how lab has been characterized by both social scientists and medical trainees using a variety of resources including academic reference materials and physician autobiographies. With this as our foundation, we then will introduce the hidden curriculum as an analytical tool to broaden and deepen our understandings of the various types of learning that take place in anatomy. Within this context, we will highlight anatomy as a source of occupational socialization and professional formation. We also will reference, but not review, the spate of new teaching tools now being used in anatomy teaching in order to link these tools to hidden curriculum issues. We conclude with a challenge for anatomy educators as to how they might encourage other basic sciences courses to build upon their innovations.


Hide Curriculum Cadaver Dissection Formal Curriculum Medical Trainee Anatomical Form 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program in Professionalism and EthicsMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Hull York Medical School, University of YorkHeslington, YorkUK

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