MD Education

Structure

So much more than just an anatomy lab…

Structure is an integrated component of the MD curriculum at the Zucker School of Medicine. The Structure Lab brings together all the disciplines of the structural sciences under one roof. Students learn normal gross anatomy, histology, and embryology alongside pathology, medical imaging, ultrasound, and physical diagnosis. Our lab combines the best of traditional hands-on methods with the latest in digital imaging and emerging medical technology.


During each Structure session, students rotate in small groups through a series of stations designed to challenge them to apply their understanding of biomedical science to clinical problems. Using Socratic questioning, faculty facilitators help students establish connections between normal and pathologic structure and function. Resources in our lab include our anatomical donors, prosections and gross pathology specimens, along with models, task trainers, digital images, and 3D virtual anatomy programs. 

Beyond dissection…

We begin preparing students from day one to function in clinical settings. Working with donors from our Anatomical Gift Program, our students generate clinical inferences from direct observations. Anatomical differences, frequently striking, foreshadow the diversity to be expected in future patients. Students explore clinical cases through several focused dissections, each culminating in a presentation to peers and faculty. The unique story of the body donor further unfolds as students select tissues for sampling and microscopic evaluation with our pathology staff, generating donor-specific pathology reports. Students practice bedside and surgical procedures using standard procedure kits, authentic surgical instruments, laparoscopy, endoscopy, and hone their newly developed suturing skills. An annual, student-led memorial service provides closure and expressions of gratitude for our body donors and their families.

A professional continuum…

Our core faculty includes scientists and physicians with expertise covering all areas of human Structure. In addition, Northwell Health hospital-based faculty participate in lab sessions, allowing students to learn from practicing physicians at the top of their fields. As students enter their third-year rotations they come back to the lab for special sessions that highlight the structures and procedures most pertinent to each core clerkship. In their final year, students may elect to take a four-week Structure elective, which provides a venue for advanced learning, near-peer teaching, or research. A fourth-year certificate program allows students to graduate with distinction in ultrasound proficiency. Structure touches all four years of the medical school curriculum.

So much more than just an anatomy lab, Structure is one of many venues at the Zucker School of Medicine that fosters the development of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of professional commitment and conduct that characterizes our students’ quest for excellence as future physicians.

Active Learning in Structure Lab