New Master of Science in Human Anatomy Aims to Address Shortage

Albany Medical College will offer a Master of Science in Human Anatomy (MSHA) beginning in August 2023, aimed to address a nationwide shortage of anatomical science educators.

The MSHA is a two-year standalone program designed to provide graduate level training and teaching experience in the anatomical sciences.

Gross anatomy, the oldest scientific discipline of medicine, is the process through which medical students spend countless hours studying every system of the human body through human dissection. Although is a fundamental element of medical education, there is a nationwide shortage of human anatomists.

According to Michael Smith, PhD, professor and director of the Anatomy and Anatomical Gift Programs, the main purpose of this program is to train students to be high quality educators in the anatomical sciences.

“While there will be a strong focus on human cadaver dissection instruction and techniques, our students also will be trained in histology, embryology, neuroanatomy, and topics in research, and they’ll have opportunities to perform teaching apprenticeships, making them much more marketable,” said Dr. Smith.

Dr. Smith, who has led Albany Medical College’s Anatomy Program since 2015, says it has always been his goal to grow the program to become a true academic division in medical education.

“Our Anatomy Program is one of the best in the state in terms of our volume, and through the way we treat and respect our donors,” said Smith. Each year, the program holds a graveside memorial service at which medical students pay respect to their “first patients”—with family members in attendance.

“We have the ability to expand our offerings to train well-prepared, anatomical science educators.”

To be considered for admission, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and must have successfully completed one year of either general biology, general chemistry, or physics.