University’s new cadaveric centre key to producing exceptional future medics

An artist impression of new cadaveric centre at the University of Sunderland.


THE University of Sunderland (UoS) is set to build a multi-million-pound facility to help train the medical professionals of tomorrow.

Planning permission has been granted to create a cadaveric centre at UoS’s city campus.

The centre be key to the newly-established School of Medicine, providing vital training for other students within the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing.

The facility will also benefit many of the region’s current surgeons and surgical trainees with its vital facilities.

The latest development comes after the University opened its first School of Medicine in September 2018.

Debs Patten, Professor of Anatomy at the University, said: “We deliver anatomy teaching to a range of healthcare education programmes across the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing using a blended approach of virtual dissection, digital and clinical imaging, portable ultrasound and living anatomy, as well as using anatomical models.

“These learning resources are greatly appreciated by our students and staff but, undoubtedly, the inclusion of cadaveric anatomy will be of huge benefit to our institution and, indeed, the region.

Debs Patten, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Sunderland.
Photo: David Wood


“Anatomy is widely appreciated as being one of the most significant elements of medical education.

“Digital resources are highly effective educational tools, but cannot reproduce the variability and complexity of the human body and for this reason, medical students and their educators consider cadaveric anatomy to be the gold standard for anatomy education.

“Most UK medical students will study cadaveric anatomy – in fact only a handful of UK medical schools do not offer cadaveric anatomy – but cadaveric provision for allied healthcare students is often limited. Our facility will offer cadaveric provision for our medical students and our allied healthcare students.”

The facility will permit learners to improve their depth perception, spatial orientation and visualization of body structures below the skin.

Prof Patten added: “A hands-on experience uniquely provides authentic tactile information on tissue texture which, when coupled with 3D visualization of anatomic structures, offers learners highly memorable learning experiences.

“In addition, cadaveric anatomy is often students’ first encounter with death, and it provides educators with a unique opportunity to teach students about death and to respect their patient at all times, in life and in death.”

As well as UoS’s medical students, the centre will also be used by those on other programmes including paramedicinephysiotherapynursing and others.

Prof Patten said: “Moreover, the opportunity to provide a cadaveric facility and resources will be of great benefit to our surgeons and surgical trainees across the region, as we will be able to host cadaveric continued professional development (CPD) courses.

“Provision of CPD for surgeons will enhance our reputation and have positive impact within the region, providing training and research opportunities for our surgical colleagues.”

Andrew Bumfrey, associate director of Space Architect, who designed the new centre, said: “It has been fantastic to closely collaborate with the School of Medicine to create this unique brief, generate a bespoke design response and achieve full planning approval.

“The project provides a great future for the teaching of anatomy and further enhances the School’s facilities. The new building will support a range of dedicated, state-of-the-art learning environments for staff and students, influencing the education of future generations of doctors, nurses and other key healthcare workers.”

Work on the centre is expected to begin in around six weeks.

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