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IUN cadaver study program draws students from across nation, globe

Participants International Human Cadaver ProsectiProgram IndianUniversity School Medicine-Northwest will team up work six cadaver tables medical school's gross anatomy lab.

Participants in the International Human Cadaver Prosection Program at the Indiana University School of Medicine-Northwest will team up to work at six cadaver tables in the medical school's gross anatomy lab.

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Updated: May 27, 2014 6:17AM



GARY — Dr. Ernest Talarico started the International Human Cadaver Prosection Program at Indiana University School of Medicine-Northwest 15 years ago with a few students and four cadavers.

Beginning in June, Talarico and a team of instructors will host almost 50 medical and radiography students from other states and nations (including Africa, Argentina and Mexico) in a two-month program that will feature lectures and hands-on workshops on suturing, radiology, prosthetics and prosection, or entering the bodies of the six cadaver donors. Throughout the program, 15 to 18 medical school faculty members or physicians will serve as instructors or team leaders.

“They hear about our program from different anatomical societies or former participants,” said Talarico, a soft-spoken professor who eagerly promotes the program to anyone who is interested. “These are people who are interested in learning life sciences and, hopefully, are interested in giving something back to their communities.”

He said the program also stresses treating the donors, those who have donated their bodies to medical science, with dignity and respect.

“It’s a unique way to treat the person as a whole person and not a specimen in a lab,” said Steven Koveck, of Valparaiso, who will start at Indiana University’s School of Dentistry in Indianapolis in the fall. “That was very important to me, being able to relate to your patients and understanding they may be going through something your own family members might one day undergo.”

Talarico said the program is unusual in that it honors the donors and their families with a memorial service that reminds the program participants that the bodies they will study are more than just a biological system.

“We bring the patient, the first patient, back to the center, the focus of medicine,” he said of the donors. “We hope how these future doctors treat their first patients, these anatomical donors, determines how they’ll treat their patients in the future.”

Getting into the program is a highly competitive process. This year, about 300 potential participants worldwide completed extensive applications.

The program also focuses on more than medicine, Talarico said. This year’s program will feature a food drive to benefit the Sojourner Truth House in Gary and Alternative House, a shelter for teenagers.



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