This site has been visited %COUNTER_PLUGIN% times since July 10, 2007

Welcome Message from the Directors of The Structural Basis of Medical Practice

Welcome Message

July 23, 2008

Dear Entering Class of 2012:

Congratulations on being accepted to medical school. We are delighted that you have chosen Penn State University College of Medicine to begin your professional career. We know you are excited to start classes, and we want to provide an overview in order to facilitate a smooth transition into your first days of classes.

Your first block of coursework involves the Structural Basis of Medical Practice (SBMP). This block lasts 11 weeks and includes Gross Anatomy, Embryology, Radiology, and Clinical Correlate, as well as an optional Surgical Correlate. The block of coursework is extraordinarily intensive and demanding, and it will be a challenge.

A full dissection of a cadaver will be performed by all students. On the evening of Sunday, August 10, 2008 you will have the opportunity to attend a class entitled "Meet Your Cadaver" that is conducted by the 2nd year medical students. This is extremely helpful for orientation, and you can initiate discussions with these students as to their strategies for learning anatomy. Not to mention that you will meet your laboratory partners. The College of Medicine will provided "scrubs" for the dissection, and the logistics for obtaining these scrubs will be presented at the August 10th session.

Earlier on Sunday, August 10, there will be a used book sale that you might want to attend. Senior students will be selling their books, and this is a chance to pick up some learning materials at a bargain price. The textbook for gross anatomy is the 39th edition of Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice by Susan Standring (keep in mind, this is not the Gray's Anatomy for Students by Drake). The dissector is Grant's Dissector (14th edition) by Tank. For embryology we are using Langman's Medical Embryology (10th Edition) by Sadler. All books will be available at our bookstore (including some used copies), and you are welcome to secure these from other sources (e.g., Amazon). There also are a number of anatomical atlases that are recommended but, again, you would be wise to wait until your arrival at medical school. Used atlases and textbooks can be purchased at the book sale, and you will get a free copy of Netter's Atlas from the American Medical Student Association and a medical dictionary from the American Medical Association when you join these organizations. Please note that we are using new editions of Grant’s Dissector and Langman’s Medical Embryology so used copies will not be available. We will provide dissecting instruments and bones/skeletons.

The course consists of daily lectures and laboratories, and you will be assigned along with 3-4 other students to a dissecting table. Because of the class size, you will be divided into 2 groups that will be assigned a laboratory either in the morning or afternoon. Everyone will attend the lecture at 1 p.m. each day. For every lecture we will provide a handout of the material (extra copies will be placed in the library and you can download these from our website). In lecture we are highly interactive, and utilize drawings of the anatomical information. You will need color pens/pencils on Monday, August 11 (you can get these in advance or when you arrive).

Although we focus on dissection as the major learning tool, we have a very helpful website that provides a continuous faculty-student and student-student interaction. You also will find previous examinations (extending back over 25 years) - some of which have answers, review questions, announcements, and a discussion board. The web site is:

The first day of class (August 11, 2008), we have an orientation lecture at 9 a.m., short laboratories in the morning and afternoon, and a full lecture at 1 p.m.

If you get a chance there are some worthwhile National Public Radio programs and a book you might wish to investigate. On the web, go to NPR ( and search gross anatomy. Look at programs on: July 9, 2003, Sept. 17, 2004, Nov. 1, 2004, Dec. 22, 2004, Feb. 10, 2005, Feb. 17, 2005, June 29, 2005 (2 programs on that date), and Nov. 15, 2005. A book of interest: First Cut: A Season in the Human Anatomy Lab by Albert Howard Carter.

We trust this will information will give you some insight into your first experience in medical school. We are excited to see you.


Dr. Ian S. Zagon Distinguished University Professor Director, Program on Education in Human Structure Co-Director of the Structural Basis of Medical Practice

Dr. Donald R. Mackay Wiliiam P. Graham III Professor and Chief of Plastic Surgery and Pediatrics Co-Director of the Structural Basis of Medical Practice





key Access Control:
Topic revision: r1 - 12 Aug 2008, UnknownUser
This site is powered by FoswikiCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding Structural Basis of Medical Practice? Send feedback