Can cadaver racial disparity affect medical education?




Chen, George S.
Xiong, Yi
Nguyen, Bao X.
Fraser, Patrick R.
Reeves, Rustin E.
Chen, Shande
Rosales, Armando A.


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Purpose (a): The study of anatomy is a cornerstone of clinical knowledge. Human pathology is known to have different presentation across different races. In this study, we decided to elucidate the racial disparities of willed-body donors (WBDs) at UNTHSC. Methods (b): Demographic data was collected from 222 WBDs from the UNTHSC Department of Anatomy. Information such as age, race, sex, residence zip code, birthplace, education level, marital status, place of death, cause of death, military statues, and occupation were all examined. All data were compiled and analyzed using SAS 9.3 and Microsoft Excel. Results (c): Our analysis of the WBDs (n=222) demonstrated racial proportions as 96.43%, 2.23%, 1.34%, and 0.00% for Caucasian, African-American, Latino, and all other races respectively. Conclusions (d): Our findings suggest that many racial groups are essentially excluded from anatomical studies at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. We also believe that the level of education obtained may influence the decision for body donation, as our donors have higher average education levels compared to the average US population. The results of this study have important implications for medical education at a time when more minorities, as well as people with low socioeconomic status, are gaining access to our healthcare system.