Distribution of Neuroanatomy Content in First Year Medical Human Gross Anatomy

Lane P. Fortney, Jessica Bergden, Richard Gonzalez, Natascha Heise, Alberto E. Musto, Matthew Myers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


PURPOSE: Neuroanatomy education is subjectively covered in first-year undergraduate medical education. Reductions in curricular time, allocation of resources, and emphasis on “high-yield” clinical relevance contribute to the variation. Considering the indivisible anatomical relationship and functionality of gross anatomy and neuroanatomy, the distribution of neuroanatomy content was tracked and examined in a medical first-year gross anatomy course.

METHODS: Within a 9.5-week Human Structure course, the nervous system was introduced via lecture in the first regional block, musculoskeletal. In the second block, head and neck, the spinal cord, fundamentals of neuroanatomy, and sensory and motor systems were introduced to first-year medical students through direct and indirect instruction developed from standardized learning objectives. During the third block, thorax, abdomen, and pelvis emphasis was placed on the regional nervous system and the autonomics. Complementary laboratory sessions were organized into five rotations; brain removal, specialized dissections, models and plastinates demonstrating skull, dura, and cranial nerve pathways, and medical imaging paired with pathological specimens to emphasize clinical significance and ethical considerations.

RESULTS: Student performance was measured through higher-order level exams developed via NBME Customized Assessment Service. Distribution of content was generated and defined by NBME as a discipline and organ system. The neuroscience discipline comprised 17% and the nervous and special senses systems were represented by 51% of the total questions and assessed content for the course. Overall, students performed above the national average on the exams.

CONCLUSIONS: The distribution of neuroanatomy content in first-year medical curricula provides insight into the impact of curricular reform and evaluation of curriculum. It is worth noting, the NBME codes for the questions available dictate how the exams are to be built. Therefore, content distribution mapping is imperative for delivering purposeful instruction, alignment, and providing competent exposure. Quite possibly, this effort will aid students in their subsequent future neuroscience courses.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2022
EventInternational Association of Medical Science Educators Annual Meeting, 2022 - Denver, CO, United States
Duration: Jun 4 2022Jun 7 2022


ConferenceInternational Association of Medical Science Educators Annual Meeting, 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityDenver, CO

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