Each year, first-year medical students are introduced to the study of anatomy and use the experience as the foundation for other basic and clinical sciences.
The Mary L. Schunder Award recognizes the importance of anatomy to medical education and honors a student from each class who excels in anatomy and cell biology, said Robert Wordinger, PhD, chair of cell biology and genetics. The awards were presented Sept. 22 as current first-year medical students in the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine were introduced to the anatomy module. Jared Heimbigner, class of 2004; Krystal Castle, class of 2005 and Michelle Shiller, class of 2006, received the award for their work while they were first-year students.
“These three students each did outstanding work while they studied in the anatomy lab,” Dr. Wordinger said. Ronald Blanck, DO, president, said, “Anatomy is part of the foundation to medical education, especially in osteopathic medicine with its musculoskeletal emphasis. These students set the standard for its study.”
The honorees were presented with a certificate and a textbook, “Principles of Surgery.” Their names will be displayed permanently on a plaque in the gross anatomy lab.
“Gross anatomy has been an important rite of passage for all student physicians and other health providers for the past 200 to 300 years,” said Marc Hahn, DO, TCOM dean. “Recognizing the importance of structure to function is critical before one can truly understand other basic and clinical sciences.”
Mary Schunder, PhD, was an original member of the TCOM faculty, joining the institution in 1970. She served as the founding chair of the Department of Anatomy. She also served as the associate dean for student affairs in the late 1980s. She received the institution’s Founders’ Medal in 1995.
Dr. Schunder started the tradition of honoring students for their anatomy work by establishing the Leonardo DaVinci Award. The award was renamed in her honor in 1997, when she retired from the institution.
“During her 27 years with the medical school, her name became inseparable from the gross anatomy lab, where she taught more than 2,300 medical students,” Dr. Wordinger said. “Her dedication lives on with this award and the lab itself.”
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