Identities and experiences of Anatomists

Claire F. Smith, Lydia Boyton, Cecilia Brassett, Darrell J.R. Evans, Ross Munro, Gabrielle M. Finn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Across the world anatomists are responsible for delivering anatomical education designed to help prepare students in becoming safe and competent medical and allied healthcare practitioners. Despite the critical role that anatomists play in the early stages of student learning, little is known about the identity of anatomists, and how their journeys and experiences have shaped the ways they perceive and embody their role. The aim of this study was to provide anatomists with a reference to take comfort in the shared experiences of other anatomists, to provide individuals and managers with real-life situations that anatomists may come across in their career, and to generate a sense of belonging within the anatomy community. Through a survey data collected from 161 anatomists, it includes demographic characteristics, access to training and support provision, and availability of network and career opportunities. In addition, information was collected that focussed on aspects of wellbeing and lived personal experience in the workplace. The results of this study provide significant evidence for the need to develop a more inclusive, diverse, and supportive environment for anatomists in both the work place as well as within professional societies and at conferences. Self-identifying female anatomists experience more discrimination overall (p=<0.01), with specific elements such as barriers to career progression (p=0.004) and work-related mental health issues (p=0.02). Individuals, teams and managers have a distinct role to play in ensuring that everyone can work and thrive in a culturally safe work environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-235
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Anatomy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • Anatomists
  • Gross anatomy education
  • Medical educators
  • Professional identity


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