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Applications now being accepted for the 2012 International Human Cadaver Prosection Program at IU School of Medicine - Northwest

Volunteers will assist in preparing gross-anatomy donors as part of unique medical education program; deadline to apply is March 30


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Erika Rose
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IHCPP 2012 Application Materials

The International Human Cadaver Prosection Program (IHCPP) at the Indiana University School of Medicine – Northwest (IUSM-NW) is now accepting applications for its 2012 session. This hands-on medical education program, the only one of its kind in the country, allows students and working professionals, including non-healthcare professionals, the opportunity to learn anatomy and radiology by working in the medical school’s gross anatomy laboratory.

To download application materials, visit the Web at

The volunteers will work alongside medical students and faculty, practicing physicians and other professionals to ready the body donors for the fall 2012 gross anatomy classes. The physical process of prosection includes the removal of donors’ skin and body fat to expose organs, muscles and other anatomical structures.

This year’s program is scheduled for July 31 to August 2, 2012, in the Dunes Medical/Professional Building on the campus of Indiana University Northwest. Volunteers who are accepted into the IHCPP program will be asked to attend three preparatory classes in June, including an anatomy-research and hands-on clinical session. (Alternate arrangements will be made for out-of-town volunteers.) In July, volunteers will also have the opportunity to assist with the radiography of the medical donors.

The July 31 program will include a hands-on suturing workshop conducted by representatives of Methodist Hospitals, in which participants will learn about the different types of wound closure and will identify several types and sizes of suturing material.

Representatives of Rocco Prosthetics & Orthotic Center will present a workshop allowing participants to evaluate amputee patients. Attendees will learn about total knee arthroplasty from representatives of Zimmer, Inc. (Zimmer Orthopedics), who will conduct a surgical, orthopedic workshop.

Volunteers will also have the opportunity in July to assist and observe as this year’s body donors undergo x-rays, ultrasounds, high-resolution CT scans, and MRIs, with the cooperation and assistance of Methodist Hospitals Imaging Services at the hospital’s Merrillville campus. Undergraduate students from the radiological sciences program at IU Northwest will also participate in this effort. Use of these imaging techniques provides detailed images of the body donors that prosectors and medical students are able to use as aids for learning and dissection.

Applicants for the IHCPP need not be medical professional or pre-medical students to participate. Prior participants have included students from a variety of fields, including pre-med, pre-vet, nursing, radiological technology, and mortuary-science students, and undergraduate and graduate students from other disciplines, as well as teachers, attorneys, lab technicians, veterinarians, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs), just to name a few.

In recent years, IUSM-NW has hosted volunteers from across the United States and overseas. The number of applicants continues to grow each year.

Application materials must be received no later than March 30, 2012, to be considered for this year’s IHCPP program. Participants will be selected in early April.

The program, now in its 13th year, is led and coordinated by Ernest Talarico, Ph.D., assistant director of medical education and course director for human gross anatomy and embryology at IUSM-NW. Talarico’s innovative approach to gross anatomy education is focused on emphasizing the dignity and humanity of the body donors who become his student doctors’ first patients.

As part of “Talarico Protocol for Human Gross Anatomy” (TPHGA), medical students are given the opportunity to correspond with, and sometimes even meet the families of the donors they work with during their first-year anatomy class. It’s an experience, Talarico said, that can have a fundamental impact on their future interactions with patients.

Participants who complete the program receive a certificate of completion and certification for work with biohazards and blood-borne pathogens.

This year’s sponsors include: IU School of Medicine – Northwest (Gary, Ind.); Methodist Hospitals (Merrillville, Ind.); and Rocco Prosthetics & Orthotic Center (Cincinnati, Ohio).

For more information about the International Human Cadaver Prosection Program, contact Talarico at (219) 981-4356.