Peer-Led, Postanatomy Reflection Exercise in Dissection Teams: Curriculum and Training Materials

Stephanie W. Zuo, Cody Cichowitz, Robert Shochet, Arun Venkatesan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The importance of emphasizing empathy, reflection, and professionalism during anatomy dissection has been well established. This small-group curriculum was developed to fulfill a need for structured reflection at the end of anatomy. Methods: In this 45-minute reflection session, each dissection team of first-year medical students in anatomy is led by one or two peer facilitators recruited from the second-year medical student class. The session is designed to include a time for sharing of personal reflections, a clinical observation activity about the cadaver's cause of death, and an appreciative inquiry approach to the dissection team experience. In addition to the reflection session curriculum, materials also include a 1-hour presession training module, containing a small-group facilitator skill-building and role-play and a 30-minute postsession debrief for peer facilitators. Results: We found that the majority of anatomy students felt that the end-of-course reflection was a meaningful way to conclude the course and that the session had a positive impact on their relationship with their dissection team. Fifteen peer facilitators participated in focus groups, and common themes included the value of giving back, making meaning of past experiences, countering burnout by recognizing one's own growth, and continued learning through peer teaching. Discussion: This anatomy reflection curriculum has been incorporated into our 7-week anatomy course and has been well received by both anatomy students and peer facilitators. We believe that peer-led small-group reflection sessions after intensive experiences in medical school can promote personal and professional growth among both junior and senior medical students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10565
Number of pages1
JournalMedEdPORTAL : the journal of teaching and learning resources
StatePublished - Mar 30 2017


  • Anatomy Dissection
  • Appreciative Inquiry
  • Peer-Teaching
  • Professional Growth
  • Small Group Reflection
  • Team Experiences


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