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2016 International Human Cadaver Prosection Program participants announced

More than 70 participants from around the world will gather for hands-on anatomy workshops

Friday May 27, 2016

Gary, Ind. -- The Summer 2016 International Human Cadaver Prosection Program (IHCPP), a unique medical program of Indiana University School of Medicine – Northwest – Gary (IUSM-NW-G), located on the Indiana University Northwest campus in Gary, Ind., begins Tuesday, May 31 and will continue through July 28.

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-G gross anatomy laboratory.

Fifty-five individuals have been selected to participate in the 2016 program, plus 15 student radiographers and ultrasonographers, and 20 instructional faculty members.

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, known as “first patients,” for the Fall 2016 gross anatomy class by removing the donors’ skin and body fat to expose organs, muscles and other anatomical structures.

This is the 17th year for the program, which is under the direction of Ernest Talarico, Ph.D., associate professor of human gross anatomy and embryology. Participants will come from around the United States, as well as from Vietnam, Poland, Mexico, Argentina and Canada.

Among this year’s group of prosectors and “first patients,” there are some unique aspects:

-       Alexander Vlahu, a second-year medical student, has twice published cutting-edge research on first patients focusing on kyhposcoliosis and giant hiatal hernia. This critical work was the first show a measurable correlation between spinal deformity and gastric hernia.  He continues additional clinical and radiographic research on first patient Joshua Pate, examining testicular cancer.

-       Brittany Winn’s grandmother was a first patient in the program, giving Winn -- now a team leader -- a very unique perspective on our educational approach. 

-       Patricia Kelly, of Munster, and her family have been involved in the program for the last four years.  Patricia and her husband, William, were both first patients in this program. Patricia has left her final video-taped message for prosectors and student doctors that will be viewed during program, and her family will attend the memorial services in July. 

-       Ryan Brown, 18, of Hammond, would have graduated with the Class of 2016 from 21st Century High School in Gary. Brown, a double-heart transplant recipient, passed on during the final day of the Summer 2015 Prosection Program. He wanted his remains to come to this program because of its unique approach and research, so that he could help others. His mother, Tasha Jetson, is looking forward to helping Team 2016 make her son’s wishes come true, and she will also be attending this summer’s memorial service.

-       Prosectors and the participating faculty are eager to get this research off to a running start. Judith Ann Wilson, of Florence, Ky. Is the sister of Thomas Wilson, an instructor for the prosthetics and orthotic workshop. She donated her body so that she might help others who suffered, like her, from cerebral palsy. Her brother Thomas, has witnessed the “first patient” philosophy and will attend, not only to help us learn from Judith, but to join in celebrating her life. 

-       Finally, Justin Golday returns for his fourth year in the program and second year as a team leader. As a father of a daughter with special medical needs, Golday was inspired to become a medical professional in hopes of helping children with similar issues. Being involved with a program such as the IHCPP, he was able to gain much more insight into the healthcare profession, and also a better understanding of what it means to families who lose a loved one. Just prior to his second year of participation in the IHCPP, his daughter passed away due to complications arising from her medical condition. Golday said he found much solace in being able to honor our donors, and their families, by carrying out their wish to provide students with the invaluable gift of knowledge of the human body; a gift that can only be given through this one-of-a-kind program.

Unique bonds and the “first patient” philosophy

The IHCPP 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,” (Clinical Anatomy Journal) 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.      

For more information, visit the IHCPP Facebook Page at: Or, visit

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Instructional and Professional Faculty (and Prosectors):

- Anthony C. Levenda, M.D., Lake Shore Bone & Joint Institute

- Bruce J. Thoma, M.D., Lake Shore Bone & Joint Institute

- Richard Rocco, Jr., LPO, Rocco Prosthetics & Orthotic Center

- Thomas M. Wilson, Rocco Prosthetics & Orthotic Center

- Nora Mas, P.T., Lake Shore Bone & Joint Institute

- Ryan Van Puffelen, DePuy Synthes Institute

- J. B. VanMeter, Representing DePuy Synthes Joint Reconstruction

- Jose L. Mas, D.V.M., Ivy Tech Community College

- Michael McGee, M.D. Methodist Hospitals 

- Michael C. Leland, M.D., Lake Shore Bone & Joint Institute

- Kathleen Kleefisch, D.N.P., Westfield Health, and formerly Purdue University Calumet

- David Gross, D.O., Dean-Gross Eye Centers

- Sunil Dedhia, M.D., Orthopaedic Specialists of Northwest Indiana

- Lucyna Drozd-Nurek, Ph.D., IU School of Medicine-Northwest

- Daniel Grabarek, D.O., PGY2, Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine

- Jennifer L. Lockhart, Franciscan Alliance

- Jonathan A. Jones, M.D., American University of Anigua, Visiting Fellow IUSM-Northwest

- Alexander C. Vlahu, MS-2, IU School of Medicine-Northwest

- Chase A. Lowden, Sophomore, B.S., Business, IU Northwest and Gross Anatomy Laboratory Assistant - IUSM-Northwest

- Janet A. Flaharty, Faculty, Radiologic Sciences, IU Northwest

- Nancy Smith, Faculty, Radiologic Sciences, IU Northwest


 Program Sponsors:

- Richard Rocco, Jr., Owner, Rocco Prosthetics & Orthotic Center

- Gregory J. Sarkisian, Sarkisian & Sarkisian, P.C.

- Gino Joseph, MORTECH Manufacturing

- Imaging Services, Methodist Hospitals South Lake Campus

- IN Motion Orthopaedics, Inc., Representing DePuy Synthes Joint Reconstruction

- IU School of Medicine-Northwest 

- Prompt Ambulance Service



- Richard Rocco, Jr, and Thomas Wilson, Rocco Prosthetics & Orthotic Center

- Anthony C. Levenda, M.D., Lake Shore Bone & Joint Specialists

- Michael McGee, M.D., Director, Northwest Emergency Associates Physicians, Methodist Hospitals

- Methodist Hospital (NEA) ER Physicians

- David Gross, D.O., Dean-Gross Eye Centers

- Jay Platt, D.D.S., Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center

- Joseph F. Schwartz, M.D., Bone & Joint Specialists

- Donald Fesko, CEO, and Community Hospital

- Jennifer L. Lockhart, Franciscan Alliance 

- Thermo Fisher Scientific

- American Association of Anatomists

- Beatrice D. Probst, M.D., F.A.C.E.P., Professor of Emergency Medicine, Stritch School of Medicine

- Donna DeGradi, IU Northwest Bookstore

- William W. Forgey,  M.D., Family Practice

- Imaging Center, Methodist Hospital Southlake Campus

- Ethicon, Inc.

- Thach N. Nguyen, M.D. Cardiovascular Clinics

- Radiologic Sciences, IU Northwest

- John Misch, The Honey Baked Ham Company

- Schererville Florist & Gift Shop

- Crown Trophy

- Ronn Wade (Director) and Dan Hensley, University of Maryland Baltimore, Anatomical Services Division

- DePuy Synthes Institute

- Mark A. Jaffe, D.P.M., Nova Southeastern University

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