First Anatomical Dissections for Teaching Purposes in Chile

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Juan Silva; Claudia Araya; Julio Cárdenas; Barbara Mansilla; Matías Salazar & Alexis Latin


In Chile, the first teachings of anatomy were carried out in the XVI century, to develop the knowledge of health profesionals practicing in the country. In 1704, Pope Sixtus IV allowed the practice of dissection, led by city’s mayor of the city and where doctors and surgeons were invited. Subsequently, the exclusively theoretical teaching of medicine at the Real Universi- dad de San Felipe encouraged teachers to teach anatomy in clinical and practical ways to complement the lectures. Independence of Chile, found that university careers suffer major curricular changes, although in medicine and anatomy, development was slow and tortuous. The aim of this study was to describe the practice of anatomical dissection in training doctors in Chile during the period between 1700 and 1889. A literature review was conducted in scientific articles related to the subject and books on the history of Chile and the history of Chilean medicine. This allowed us to describe the beginnings, development and characteristics of the dissection practice used in the training of physicians in the period in question. The analysis of the results allowed us to identify 5 different stages, strongly influenced by their historical context and differentiated by the approach used by the teachers of each of these stages, who defined a bibliography, an orientation and a dissection practice. In turn, the focus of each teacher was based on the academic training of each of them. This work allowed ordering and exposing valuable information for the history of medicine in Chile, as well as understanding the educational practices that were carried out in the training of these professionals who had a critical role in the process of this developing nation.

KEY WORDS: History of Chile; History

How to cite this article

SILVA, J.; ARAYA, C.; CÁRDENAS, J.; MANSILLA, B.; SALAZAR, M. & LATIN, A. First anatomical dissections for teaching purposes in Chile. Int. J. Morphol., 39(1):143-150, 2021.