Sue Stearns Ph.D.

Sue Stearns, PhD"We believe the experiences that the students get in the lab are an essential component of medical education. Students interact with one another, learn how to be team players and start to communicate in the 'language of medicine.' They see the pathology in their cadavers and begin to understand the anatomical manifestations of diseases and disease processes.  For many students, this is the first time that they are confronted with death and, perhaps, the contemplation of their own mortality. In other words, this is a course that goes beyond the didactic material – it is about the profession of medicine and being touched by the lives of patients who the students never knew, yet have interacted with in a very personal, intimate way. 

"The students realize that we make every effort to relate the subject matter of our course to clinical cases, and this immediately captures their interest.  They are excited that they are able to make some diagnoses simply by knowing the relevant anatomy.  We also use radiographs in our presentations, and reference multiple on-line resources that include many type of imaging modalities.  These are not only excellent examples of the clinical relevance of anatomy but the three-dimensional construct provides the students with a useful way to visualize normal as well as abnormal structures."

Sue Stearns in anatomy lab

Sue Stearns, PhD, is an associate professor of cell and developmental biology, and one of four faculty members who teach Gross Anatomy to first-year medical students at SUNY Upstate. Students routinely cite this course as a favorite.

Read more about Stearns' take on our Anatomy course's popularity.