- About RVU
- Current Students
Class of 2021
Why did you choose RVUCOM? I chose RVUCOM because of its excellent reputation of top board scores in the nation. A nice bonus for...
Assistant Dean for the Integrated Curriculum
Professor of Structural Medicine
What classes do you teach? I teach Anatomy and Neuroscience. Why did you choose to teach at RVUCOM-SU? I...
RVU’s anatomy lab is a point of great pride. At 4,500 square feet, it is spacious, bright, and welcoming. Unlike other medical schools which often house the dissection lab in the basement, RVU’s anatomy lab is located on the third floor of the campus, with one wall of windows overlooking the Rocky Mountains. There are 21 tanks for students, as well as two tanks for Fellows and two for honors track students (Rural & Wilderness and Military).
The ventilation system–designed with valuable input by Dr. Walter Buck, Chair of Gross Anatomy–is innovative and unique: it brings in outside air and either chills or heats it to maintain a consistent 63 degrees in the lab at all times, rather than recycling air throughout the building. This allows not only the lab, but the building itself, to smell fresh at all times, providing a better dissection experience for students.
At the front of the lab, printed in large letters, is the phrase: “Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae.” This translates to, “This is the place where the dead rejoice to come to the aid of the living,” a poignant philosophy that is pressed upon all students who have the privilege of working with the bodies of donors.
Located outside of the anatomy lab, there is a glass case containing bones, skulls, and other specimens–all from Dr. Buck’s private collection. The case itself was a gift from the foundation created by the parents of Brandon Trusell, a student who tragically passed away while attending RVU.
The Predoctoral Anatomy Fellowship program is designed to take the study of anatomy to the next level and to provide students with the necessary tools for teaching or applying anatomical research in their careers. The Fellows have the opportunity to dissect a second body (the first having been with a group of 8 other students during their first year), allowing them to obtain deeper knowledge of the structure and function of the human body. They also tutor other students (including fellow tutors), lecture, conduct research, and present at conferences.
The Donor Memorial Ceremony is an annual tradition, beginning in 2012. It is a time to honor those who donated their bodies for medical purposes, allowing the students to gain a better understanding of anatomy. During the ceremony, first-year students express their gratitude in a variety of ways: singing, dancing, reading their thoughts and poems, playing instruments, and more.
The anatomy lab has worked with a variety of organizations and programs: