By Wendy Sarubbi | February 18, 2013 10:28 am

Seventeen weeks of anatomy and pathology analysis culminated for first-year medical students on February 11 as they presented their Autopsy Reports for their first patients, people who willed their bodies to science.

Sixteen teams of students presented their findings to a judging panel of faculty members and a renowned local expert, Dr. Jan Garavaglia, chief medical examiner for Orange and Osceola counties, and star of Discovery Health’s “Dr. G: Medical Examiner.”

“Typical medical schools are not going to have you talk about pathophysiology and why the patient died,” she said.  “This is really a novel way to introduce the students to critical thinking and putting the pieces of the puzzle together.”

Winning groups pose with ‘Dr. G.’

The UCF medical students diagnosed illnesses including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, lung cancer and Cushing’s disease. They arrived at their conclusions based on visual evidence, biopsies and other tissue samples examined under a microscope. After each presentation, the judges revealed the patient’s official cause of death and voted on the best presentations.

At the end of the day, two teams were selected as winners. The first was Group 7, whose members were: Adam Almaguer, Deeva Berera, Davd Cantu, David Griffin, Kirstin LaBell and Jennifer Loftus . The other winning team was Group 5: Christal Crooks, Lauren Furman, Errol Inci, Shannon Moore, Jeffrey Peacock, Matthew Schwenke and Pouya Shoolizadeh.

Each winning team member will take home a cash prize, thanks to a generous donation to the College of Medicine. While there could only be two winning teams, anatomy professor Dr. Andrew Payer applauded all the hard work, analysis and spirit of inquiry that went into the reports.  “Our goal is to make sure students aren’t just learning for the sake of learning,” he said. “Because they are going to be physicians, we want them to apply this information to the patients they’ll be working with in the future.”

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