2009 Volume 58 Issue 4 Pages 210-215
Reform of preclinical medical education in Japan requires changes in the curriculum to make it more clinically focused and interactive. At present, course content in Anatomy is usually designed and taught with little or no clinical direction and involves a heavy emphasis on by-rote learning to memorize often minor facts that have little importance in clinical medicine. As a result, the content is boring, it is learned solely for the purpose of passing exams and it is promptly forgotten, with little sense of its need in clinical practice. Successful reform of the curriculum in Anatomy requires two critical changes. The first is that content must be made interesting to students by emphasizing its clinical importance, through a close collaboration between preclinical and clinical departments, Thus, the Surgical Faculty must be incorporated in the organization and teaching of the Anatomy curriculum. Core content can thereby be pared down to only what is considered essential to provide a foundation for the later clinical years, and the clinical importance of that content will, in turn, be self-evident to students. The second change that must be implemented is to make the learning process more appealing to the students. This can be facilitated by the use of any of several commercial IT programs that make learning in Anatomy both dynamic and engaging. These dual strategies will considerably enhance the learning of one of the most basic subjects in the medical school and ensure that the review and retention of the material are enhanced.