Reflections on life, death and the gift of learning
Medical students flex artistic muscles during anatomy instruction
trokes of watercolor paint swirl on the page to create a new world. Words strung together reveal deep thoughts and pose poignant questions. These are the works of UF medical students who, as they anticipate the experience of human dissection, are asked to express their thoughts about the individuals who donate their bodies for medical instruction. As Kyle E. Rarey, PhD, instructs, each medical student spends their first day of class reflecting on the lives that were lived before the donors passed away. When the students encounter the cadavers in the gross anatomy lab, an appreciation for those lives — for the events, the decisions, the pain and pleasures — is now top of mind, lending a sense of warmth and gratitude to the experience.
Haley Oberhofer, a member of the class of 2021, visualized dissecting a human body as entering “a new world” full of adventure and understanding. Emily Pregmon of the class of 2021 highlighted different organs to ask critical questions about the life that was experienced before the donor passed away. Victoria Dukharan of the class of 2022 composed a poem about the impact a donor’s life makes, an impact that lingers long after they take their final breath.
The students’ art and poetry are displayed at the annual cadaver ceremony that marks the end of their anatomy instruction.