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From The CriticsReviewer: Jason M. Organ, PhD (Saint Louis University School of Medicine)
Description: This is a collection of anatomical plates specifically constructed to complement modern medical curricula. In many of those programs, the emphasis has shifted from complete anatomical understanding to clinically relevant anatomy, due to a significant reduction in course hours.
Purpose: The purpose of this new edition is to further refine the body of anatomical knowledge necessary in today's medical curricula with reduced time for anatomy teaching and learning. Specifically, the authors' goal is to emphasize those parts of the body and structures that are fundamental to the clinical education of health-related professional students. By including both systemic coverage of the body and regional approaches, the authors reach both undergraduate medical students and allied health students. Those diverse audiences are often enrolled in anatomy courses with different approaches and perspectives on the material. In that sense, the authors clearly meet their objectives.
Audience: Without a doubt, the authors are expert anatomists and teachers, with a wealth of anatomy teaching experience between them. Therefore, it is not surprising that the authors have a good sense of their target audience: medical students and allied health students. Because this book is explicit about its intended audience, especially given the specific treatments of regional and systemic anatomy, the authors do a marvelous job of reaching their targeted audience.
Features: This anatomy atlas covers each significant region of the human body in detail appropriate for reduced-hours medical curricula, as is the case in many major medical schools. In addition to the regional treatment of the human body, a standard for most anatomical atlases, the authors also present a systemic treatment of the body, carefully woven into the regional anatomy approach. In effect, the authors are able to target two different audiences with their unique style and approach. In addition, the detailed regional illustrations with only the most clinically relevant structures labeled are juxtaposed with cadaveric dissection photos. The authors stress the significance of including cadaver photos, explaining that many students prefer to use illustrations that resemble their own dissections, but usually only as a refresher before exams. Thus, by including traditional illustrations and photographs, the authors have eliminated the need to purchase more than one anatomy atlas for studying.
Assessment: This is an impressive student atlas, designed to appeal to modern medical and allied health professional students. However, the recently published Lippincott Williams and Wilkins Atlas of Anatomy by Tank and Gest (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008), will provide stiff competition. One advantage the LWW Atlas has is the use of an illustration ghosting technique that allows three-dimensional structures to be visualized even when they are behind other structures. Yet, given the use of cadaveric photos in the A.D.A.M. Student Atlas, I would call the competition between these two unique atlases a wash.