Neuroanatomy teaching in Australian and New Zealand Medical Schools

Hamish Newman, Amanda Meyer, Sandra Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
88 Downloads (Pure)



Graduate doctors' knowledge of central and peripheral nervous system anatomy is below an acceptable level. New technologies have been introduced to enhance education in the context of integrated curricula and reduced anatomy teaching hours in medical schools. However, it is unknown how varied this instruction has become between universities. This mixed methods study aimed to describe neuroanatomy teaching in medicine across Australia and New Zealand.

An electronic survey was sent to Australian (n = 22) and New Zealand (n = 2) medical schools, endorsed by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Academics were asked to comment on the course, content, instruction, and assessment of neuroanatomy for the 2019 academic year.

Ninety-two percent (22/24) of medical schools responded. Neuroanatomy content and instructional methodology was highly variable between institutions. The average time dedicated to teaching neuroanatomy was 46.0 hours (±38.1) with a range of 12–160 hours. Prosections (77%) and models (77%) were used at most universities. Dissection was utilized at 13 of 22 (59%) universities. Incorporation of new technologies was highly variable, the most common being 3-dimensional software (59%) and eBook (55%). Adoption of any virtual reality technologies was low (36%). Seven universities used an established curriculum (29%), whereas most did not (61%). Academics indicated anxiety and motivation were key elements of student engagement.

Results demonstrate widespread heterogeneity in the way neuroanatomy is taught to medical students. A standardized curriculum may improve collaboration between universities and facilitate translation of future research in the area into practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e217-e224
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


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