Body Donors at IU School of Medicine – Northwest Used to Teach Medical Imaging

By: Indiana University Northwest Last Updated: July 7, 2010

Students and cadaver program volunteers to take x-rays, ultrasounds of donors at IU Northwest; Methodist Hospitals to provide MRI, CT imaging iunlogo

A full-scale medical imaging effort involving human anatomical donors will take place on Friday, July 16 and Saturday, July 17 in preparation for the upcoming 2010 International Human Cadaver Prosection Program (IHCPP). This three-day, hands-on anatomy workshop in August allows non-physician and non-medical student volunteers to become active participants in a medical lab by preparing the body donors for the Fall 2010 gross anatomy class.

Day one of medical imaging (July 16), involving select Indiana University Northwest and IUSM-NW faculty, students and IHCPP prosection volunteers, will include full-body x-rays and ultrasounds of six body donors at a radiological lab located in the IU Northwest College of Health and Human Services (CHHS). On Saturday (July 17), the donors will be transported to Methodist Hospitals’ Merrillville campus. Students and prosectors will gain hands-on experience while working with the hospital’s technologists during high-resolution CT and MRI imaging of donors.

Just as the medical field continually evolves, so does the IHCPP. Now in its 11th year, this year’s program will include fetal imaging, providing prosectors, radiology students and medical students the opportunity to detect medical conditions like anencephaly and spina bifida.

We are grateful for the continued partnership between Methodist Hospitals and the IU School of Medicine – Northwest,” said IHCPP program director Ernest Talarico, Jr., Ph.D., who is the assistant director of medical education and course director of human gross anatomy and embryology at IUSM-NW. “Cadaver program volunteers, and radiographer and medical students, will be provided with a rare opportunity to obtain extremely accurate images of the body donors, aiding in further medical research.”

The benefit of this medical-imaging exercise, which takes place prior to prosection, is threefold. First, the x-rays and other images will inform prosectors about any implants or irregularities within the donors that might be problematic to the dissection process or that might be useful as teaching points. Second, the radiology students and medical students will gain valuable experience in taking film and interpreting the images. Finally, students from different medical disciplines will learn how to work together and respect each other’s roles in the healthcare process.

The imaging of the donors, utilizing Magnetic Resonance (MR) and Computed Tomography (CT), allows for the students to experience firsthand the techniques used to gather valuable information about diseases and the human anatomy,” said Luis O. Marquez, who is the director of Imaging Services at Methodist Hospitals. “This is our second year partnering with IUSM-NW and we are very proud to continue to provide Imaging technologies for this excellent teaching opportunity.”

Medical imaging an essential element of program

MRI and CT images of donors have proved to be an essential element to the IHCPP, Talarico said.

Last year’s imaging yielded a wealth of information about each donor by showing prosectors and gross anatomy students the location of tumors, orthopedic implants and other important structures within the donors’ anatomy,” he explained. “As a result, five independent and ongoing cadaver-based medical research studies are in process at IUSM-NW.”

The prosection participants, consisting both of students and professionals, represent diverse disciplines within the medical field, with backgrounds ranging from nursing to ophthalmology to biomedical engineering and physical therapy.

All prosection program volunteers will gain by working closely with individuals from a mix of healthcare and medical backgrounds,” Talarico said. “This wide access to various medical fields truly represents one of the core themes of the prosection program: teamwork and collaboration. This model facilitates learning by informing volunteers of what their key counterparts do and their important roles in patient care.”

IU Northwest Clinical Associate Professor of Radiography Robin Jones understands the direct and positive impact medical collaboration can have on patient care.

Students in IU Northwest’s radiologic science program gain real-world, hands-on experience working with other healthcare professionals – many of which they will work alongside after graduating,” said Jones, who is also the clinical coordinator of radiography at IU Northwest.

And beyond that, the experience the students achieve by working with human cadavers is invaluable. Cadaver imaging is much more accurate than using a phantom (an artificial organ encased in hard plastic).”

While only select cadaver prosection volunteers will be involved in the medical imaging, all participants will attend the IHCPP taking place Tuesday, Aug. 3, thru Thursday, Aug. 5 at the IUSM-NW.

July 16 medical imaging participants include:

IHCPP prosectors:

  • Andrea Albajar Bobes, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid 3rd-year medical student, of Madrid, Spain
  • Lucas T. Buchler, IUSM-NW 2nd-year medical student, of Dyer, Ind.
  • Jeremiah J. Cox, IU Northwest senior pre-med student, of Portage, Ind.
  • Jacqueline D. Dandridge, IU Bloomington freshman student, of Gary, Ind.
  • Eric DeGraff, IU Northwest sophomore nursing student, of South Holland, Ill.
  • Loyola Garcia-Atance Garcia, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid 3rd-year medical student, of Madrid, Spain
  • Chelsea M. Gustafson, Purdue University West Lafayette junior pharmacy student, of Valparaiso, Ind.
  • Stephen M. Koveck, IU Northwest sophomore chemistry student, of Valparaiso, Ind.
  • Jennifer L. Lockhart, RTCT, St. Anthony Medical Center/IU Northwest; CT Tech/Adjnt Inst., of Crown Point, Ind.
  • Dalibor Plecas, IU Northwest junior chemistry/pre-med student, of Highland, Ind.
  • Diego Ramos Rubio, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid 3rd-year medical student, of Madrid, Spain
  • Yaneve Shemesh, Nova Southeastern University senior biology/pre-med student, of Surfside, Fla.
  • Alberto Gonzalez Velado, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid 3rd-year medical student, of Vigo, Spain
  • Peter A. Zack, EMTP, PROMPT Ambulance Service; IUN senior biology/pre-med student, of Hammond, Ind.

IU Northwest student radiographers:

  • Robyn Alonzo
  • Caity Boicken
  • Meagan Glassley
  • Melinda Ramirez
  • Lynn Ann Russo
  • Hayley Trznadel
  • Maribel Vargas

IU Northwest student ultrasonographers:

  • Tiana Georgiefski
  • Erica Harbin
  • Erika Lopez
  • Katy Potts

July 17 medical imaging participants include:

IHCPP prosectors:

  • All IHCPP prosectors from July 16
  • Miracle C. Anokwute, IU Northwest sophomore biology student, of Merrillville, Ind.
  • Zachary M. Messina, IU Northwest sophomore biology student, of Portage, Ind.
  • Danielle M. Richardson, Rensselear Polytechnic Institute senior biomedical engineering student, of Portage, Ind.
  • Asad J. Torabi, IU Northwest senior pre-med student, of Valparaiso, Ind.
  • Angela L. Washington, EMTP, PROMPT Ambulance Service, of Gary, Ind.

IU Northwest student radiographers:

  • Brittin Bailey
  • Malisa Davis
  • Monica Deven
  • Marina Konjevic
  • Lynn Ann Russo

In addition to Methodist Hospitals, IUSM-NW is grateful to the sponsors and supporters of the 2010 IHCPP, including Rocco Prosthetics & Orthotic Center, of Cincinnati, and ZIMMER Orthopedics, Zimmer, Inc., of Warsaw, Ind.

For more information on the IHCPP, visit the Web at