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Medical Students Get Hands on Experience with Donated Bodies

By Daniel Cherry | Published 27 Apr 2011 04:18pm | comments

People who donate their bodies to science are helping future doctors by giving hands on experience. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how someone's final gift can provide an education that could save others.

Improving Mississippi's declining health may be a battle health care providers will be fighting for years to come. At the University of Mississippi Medical Center students are receiving a first class education by studying the complex anatomy of real human bodies. It's an experience first year medical student, Adam Parker, calls essential.

"How many people actually get to operate on a body or to actually see a muscle or touch a nerve or follow a blood vessel in the human body. Some things you can be told about, you can see it, you can even learn it out of a book, but until you actually do it and put your hands on it you're not going to have a full grasp of the concept."

This year 179 Mississippians donated their bodies after death. Dr. Allan Sinning, Director of the Body Donation program at UMC, says anatomy is one of the most important courses in the education of physicians, dentists, and other health professionals. He says he hopes the high standard of training will encourage future doctors to remain in Mississippi where they are especially needed in rural areas.

"People don't get the primary care that they need to help head off big issues that we're all going to deal with down the road."

In recent years UMC has used its anatomy program as a foundation for disciplines from psychology to surgery. But first year medical student Jonathan Strong isn't convinced its enough to keep well trained doctors in Mississippi.

"It's not fun to think about, but this is one of the poorest states. I know there are moves now to increase money for positions and work on residency hours but as of right now other states are able to compensate you more for that."

While many are eager to go to Mississippi schools to take advantage of the advanced research, Strong says the lure of more money and healthier populations are pulling doctors out of state. Daniel Cherry...MPB News.

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