Early internationalization of students in a German medical school in the former German Democratic Republic

Ann Anat. 2019 Sep;225:42-47. doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2019.03.004. Epub 2019 Mar 28.


The growing influence and importance of internationalization in higher education, especially in medical education, inspired anatomists at Columbia University New York, USA and at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, to start a novel international preclinical collaboration project. As part of the anatomy dissection course a group of volunteer medical students from Halle dissected selected areas of the human body with the help of an English, illustrated, iPad-run dissection script (American Dissector). Meanwhile the rest of the students worked with a traditional German text-based dissector. Additionally, participating German students were matched with US students, with whom they connected via video-conferencing and discussed subjects like differences between their health care systems, structure and content of the anatomy course and the differences in their medical education systems. Questionnaires were sent for feedback and checklists confirmed dissection findings. Results indicated that the American Dissector was successfully shared internationally. The majority (62%) found it easier to find structures using the American Dissector compared to the standard dissector and also 62% needed the atlas two times less when using the American Dissector. Furthermore, students enjoyed their interaction with their international peers and the vast majority (77%) wished there were more interactions like this in the medical curriculum. This publication describes an approach to embed internationalization in the preclinical medical curriculum based in the gross anatomy course in a German Medical school, located in East Germany. Considering its history as a former German Democratic Republic faculty this is a meaningful step towardglobalization of medical education in this part of Germany.

Keywords: Dissection script; Gross anatomy; Internationalization; Peer-group; Students.

MeSH terms

  • Anatomy / education*
  • Checklist
  • Computers
  • Computers, Handheld
  • Dissection / education
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Germany, East
  • Humans
  • Internationality*
  • Intersectoral Collaboration
  • Language
  • Male
  • Manuals as Topic
  • New York City
  • Pilot Projects
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Students, Medical / classification*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Videoconferencing
  • Young Adult