Assistant Professor David Terrill recently took his senior Cultural Safari sketchbook class to observe medical students dissect donor cadavers at Kansas City University of Medicine and BioScience (KCUMB). These donors gave their bodies to science to further our knowledge of the human anatomy and to train our future doctors. David and the seniors worked alongside the med students and anatomy fellows. They drew as they dissected the cadavers. When I asked David about it, he said "It was a humbling and fascinating experience." After their visit, David received an email from one of the anatomy fellows with a watercolor attached. He was so inspired by their visit that he went out and started drawing himself.
The professor is “live” dissecting a cadaver at the beginning of the lab in a central part of the lab. The students all have a monitor above each station where they are dissecting at the same time. They pause and watch, get the idea of what to do, and go from there.
I wanted share some of the pages from my sketchbook from our first trip to KCUMB yesterday. It was an AMAZING experience. I ended up with 14 seniors observing med students actively dissecting the donors. We had the ability to roam and draw what we liked. Even the opportunity to dissect ourselves. Lots of great conversations with the Medical Fellows and mutual love of drawing. It was a crowded environment with well over 100 med students with a 30-ish cadavers on tables. Lots of technology as well broadcasting the professor demonstrating the dissections on the head and neck.
We are going back tomorrow morning from 10-12. We will have a different experience Wednesday where we will have the dissection theatre to ourselves with a Fellow showing us anatomy and dissections in a "one on one" environment. We can dissect if we wish to.
The students held up well. Only one student had to step out on a couple of occasions. We even had one student attend that wasn't originally going to come. He was glad he did.
We were officially through at 3pm, but my ride wasn't arriving until 4:15. I was allowed to stay and draw in the next session of students coming in to dissect. One of the seniors stayed with me and we were able to get another hour of drawing in.
I am now so fascinated with the anatomy, perhaps I would have been an anatomist is another life. It’s pretty sobering and amazing at the same time.
- David Terrill, March 2018
David is currently gathering images from the students. Below are a few from the initial trip. Many thanks to the folks at the Kansas City University of Medicine and BioSciences for allowing our students to come by and draw.