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[January 25, 2012]                                                  

Local Brooklyn High School Students Get First-Hand Lesson in Anatomy:
SUNY Downstate Holds First Annual Anatomy Education Day


Forty students from five Brooklyn high schools learned about gross anatomy at SUNY Downstate Medical Center on Anatomy Education Day, Monday, January 23, a statewide event launched by SUNY Downstate. Nine other medical schools offered similar instruction for local students across New York State, under the auspices of the American Association of Anatomists and with the support of the Associated Medical Schools of New York.

Anatomy Education Day is the brainchild of Samuel Márquez, PhD, who organized the event and invited the other schools to participate. He hopes that it will be adopted by medical schools across the country and become an annual event, akin to Earth Day.

“We want to give young people a hands-on and up-close experience in anatomy that will motivate them to think about pursuing a career in medicine or the allied health sciences,” explains Dr. Márquez, who is director of anatomy in the College of Health Related Professions, as well as co-discipline director of anatomy in the College of Medicine.

The students who attended the event at Downstate are enrolled in the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP), an after-school enrichment program, and the Gateway Institute for Pre-College Education, a program to help prepare under-represented minority high school students for careers in medicine. Both programs are sponsored by the College of Medicine’s Office of Minority Affairs. Thanks to the instruction they had already received through these programs, they were well prepared to understand and enjoy the presentations on human anatomy offered by faculty and medical students.

During the one-hour event, held in the new, state-of-the-art Anatomy Lab, students were welcomed by Clinton Brown, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Brooklyn Center for Health Disparities. He recalled how, when he was student at nearby Wingate High School, he became interested in a career in medicine by observing the doctors and medical students at Downstate. He encouraged the young people before him to do likewise.

At five different stations within the Anatomy Lab, the students were shown actual human organs and learned about the functioning of the heart, brain, and lungs. They were also shown the skeletal system of humans and apes and informed how anatomy is used to tell us about our human origins. On their return to their schools, they will make a presentation to fellow students and share what they have learned.    


SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.

SUNY Downstate ranks ninth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools.  More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.