Artificial intelligence and clinical anatomical education: Promises and perils

Michelle D. Lazarus, Mandy Truong, Peter Douglas, Neil Selwyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
375 Downloads (Pure)


Anatomy educators are often at the forefront of adopting innovative and advanced technologies for teaching, such as artificial intelligence (AI). While AI offers potential new opportunities for anatomical education, hard lessons learned from the deployment of AI tools in other domains (e.g., criminal justice, healthcare, and finance) suggest that these opportunities are likely to be tempered by disadvantages for at least some learners and within certain educational contexts. From the perspectives of an anatomy educator, public health researcher, medical ethicist, and an educational technology expert, this article examines five tensions between the promises and the perils of integrating AI into anatomy education. These tensions highlight the ways in which AI is currently ill-suited for incorporating the uncertainties intrinsic to anatomy education in the areas of (1) human variations, (2) healthcare practice, (3) diversity and social justice, (4) student support, and (5) student learning. Practical recommendations for a considered approach to working alongside AI in the contemporary (and future) anatomy education learning environment are provided, including enhanced transparency about how AI is integrated, AI developer diversity, inclusion of uncertainty and anatomical variations within deployed AI, provisions made for educator awareness of AI benefits and limitations, building in curricular “AI-free” time, and engaging AI to extend human capacities. These recommendations serve as a guiding framework for how the clinical anatomy discipline, and anatomy educators, can work alongside AI, and develop a more nuanced and considered approach to the role of AI in healthcare education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-262
Number of pages14
JournalAnatomical Sciences Education
Issue number2
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Anatomical Sciences Education published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Association for Anatomy.


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