At Complete Anatomy, we want to help students to be better prepared for medical practice in the real world.
We are a global company, and Anatomy is a global topic. We want to reflect this by broadening the representation of bodies in the material that students learn from, especially those which have been historically underrepresented in Anatomy. [1, 2]
The next step on this journey is model customization, which we’re excited to release as part of Complete Anatomy 2023.
A genuine approach to diversity
As the first step in model customization, the Complete Anatomy team aimed to broaden the Anatomical variation that we could offer externally.
This began with in-depth workshops with experts in this field, Prof. Fatimah Jackson, Prof. Joseph L. Graves and Prof. Alan Goodman, to not only find a way to respectfully and sensitively enable students to see themselves reflected in the app, but also to see their future patients.
The result of this collaboration is a number of considered changes to the in-app experience, and the inclusion of a wide range of anatomical characteristics to choose from. To emphasize our common anatomy as humans over our perceived differences, learners can select a set of facial characteristics and then separately choose a skin tone to apply. This way, historical stereotypical representations are replaced with a fresh approach which promotes diversity and variation.
Other efforts to date
Full 3D female model – 2022
In 2021 we released a full 3D female model, equal in detail and accuracy to the male. Unlike many of our competitors, who simply adapt their male model to make a female offering, every structure within our female model has been meticulously modelled to showcase the female anatomy, based on over 4 years of research, including peer-reviewed texts such as journal articles, as well as anthropological data and various imaging modalities.
This model update was crucial to fostering a more inclusive future of healthcare, given the fact that female anatomy has often been inaccurately represented, resulting in incomplete understanding and poor patient outcomes. [3,4]
To learn more about the development of our female model, check out this blog post.
Accessibility – in development, ongoing (2020 – present)
As part of our wider commitment to inclusion & diversity, we are consistently working on improving the accessibility of our product to those who have a physical or sensory impairment. Technologically, the scale of this work is significant, with foundational changes required to our product architecture, and as such, the improvements are incremental. To date we have:
- Designed and implemented all new User Interface (UI) elements since 2021 to AA accessibility standards in relation to text size and contrast.
- Rolled out keyboard operability for all devices across sections of our app.
- Research into how Complete Anatomy can adapt to work with Screen Reader technology, alongside improvements to our existing UI is ongoing.
Our full accessibility statement can be found here.
At Elsevier, our commitment to diversity within our products has a direct result in improving patient care. It is therefore crucial that products such as Complete Anatomy consistently evolve and develop to bring us closer towards providing better patient care. As a product that students interact with from day one of their medical studies, we are uniquely placed to diversify the outlook of tomorrow’s healthcare professionals, and to encourage them to demand a future where all people receive an equitable standard of patient care.
- Louie, P. and Wilkes, R. (2018). Representations of race and skin tone in medical textbook imagery. Social Science & Medicine, 202, pp.38–42. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.02.023.
- Morgan, S., Plaisant, O., Lignier, B. and Moxham, B.J. (2014). Sexism and anatomy, as discerned in textbooks and as perceived by medical students at Cardiff University and University of Paris Descartes. Journal of Anatomy, [online] 224(3), pp.352–365. doi:10.1111/joa.12070.
- MBRRACE-UK (2021). Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care Maternal, Newborn and Infant Clinical Outcome Review Programme. Available here.
- Zucker, I. and Prendergast, B.J. (2020). Sex differences in pharmacokinetics predict adverse drug reactions in women. Biology of Sex Differences, [online] 11(1). doi:10.1186/s13293-020-00308-5.