Multidisciplinary Services Home

Anatomical Gift Program

(301) 295-3301

Weekdays 7:30a.m. to 4:00p.m.
Emergencies or Imminent Donation: 301-295-3333 24hrs/day Anatomical Teaching Laboratory:
(301) 295-3334

Contact Information

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
4301 Jones Bridge Road
Bethesda, Maryland 20814
Room G074
Phone: (301) 295-3301
FAX (301) 295-9194


USU Courtyard

What is an MDL?

An MDL provides common facilities and personnel to centrally support all student teaching (in contrast to the more traditional departmentally based laboratory). MDL facilities are designed with maximum flexibility to ensure that most student laboratory teaching can be supported regardless of the discipline.

Some advantages of a Multidisciplinary approach include: Faculty members are relieved of much of the Logistical and Administrative responsibilities associated with laboratory teaching, allowing them to pursue academic, research and clinical goals. Utilization of the same facilities and support staff allow University resources to be more effectively and efficiently used. Finally, using centrally based labs allows research labs to be used solely for that purpose.

In short, the basic advantages are economy of space, efficient use of manpower, and cost effectiveness all of which are obtained without sacrificing instructional effectiveness.

The Multidiscipline (MDL) concept of centralized Instructional Support began in the fifties as a means of increasing the cost effectiveness of teaching support. There are currently over 30 professional schools throughout the world which utilize this concept. The MDL at USU is modeled after those at the University of Southern California. The decision to pursue the MDL approach arose from the University's mission of training a unique cadre of military physicians who would practice medicine under a wide variety of conditions - including military field exercises. This requires a great deal of "hands on" training which laboratory teaching can best provide.

MDL Services

The MDL staff is primarily responsible for the coordination and support of student teaching. This support is provided to faculty and students through five distinct support areas which include:

    - Full Logistical and Technical support of student teaching.
    - Full Instructional support of the Anatomical Sciences.
    - Centralized scheduling of classrooms and conference rooms.
    - AV Technical support of classroom teaching and conferences.
    - Temporary loan of audiovisual equipment.
    - Issue of instructional materials to students
    - Computer-based grading of exams and statistical test analysis.
    - Support of computerized testing development and implementation.

Additional Information may be obtained from the MDL Office (Room A2030).

Anatomical Teaching Laboratories

What are the Anatomical Teaching Laboratories?

The Anatomical Teaching Laboratories (ATL), traditionally called Gross Anatomy Lab, provides laboratory teaching support of the anatomical sciences. The ATL is a branch of the Multidiscipline Laboratories under the direct supervision of the Anatomical Curator who is responsible to the Director, Multidiscipline Laboratories.

What support services are provided?

The ATL provides cadavers/anatomical materials for dissection, osteological study sets, instruments, instructional aids (anatomical models, charts, embedded cross-sections), audiovisual materials (videotapes and slides), and protective clothing for all anatomical related laboratory teaching. The ATL also provides support for anatomical-related research protocols. A wide range of courses and conferences are held in the ATL to take advantage of the unique setting for utilization of cadaveric material and lecture setting instruction. In addition, the ATL is responsible for overseeing the USUHS Anatomical Gift Program (whole body donations).

How do I obtain these services?

All support requests should be submitted in memorandum form to the Assistant Director for Anatomical Services. There will be additional information required and protocol approval necessary before an event will be scheduled or tissue made available. Please allow sufficient lead time to coordinate your support requirements.

Who is supported?

Medical student teaching is the primary support area (especially the Gross Anatomy, Neuroanatomy and Pathology courses). Third and fourth year clerkships (Anatomy, Surgery and Radiology) and graduate student (teaching/research) opportunities are routinely supported throughout the year. The ATL provides support for Graduate and Continuing Medical Education in such specialties as anesthesiology, dermatology, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, and various surgical disciplines (e.g., orthopedics and plastic surgery). The ATL also supports the Army and Navy Dental schools as well as various military allied health programs.

What facilities are available ?

The teaching laboratories (Room G039) are located on the ground floor of "A" building. Six bays which can accommodate 32 students each are available (8 tables per bay). There are also autopsy and preparation rooms available for teaching in small groups or preparing dissections for instruction. The ATL support areas are designed to accommodate special surgical procedures and anatomic research protocols.

When is the ATL open?

During the Gross Anatomy Course the teaching labs and the anatomical resources labs are open to the students 24 hours a day with the exception of one hour for cleaning in the morning. At all other times access is controlled by the Anatomical Curator.

Student Support

What items are issued to students?

The following items are provided to students on either a temporary loan or permanent issue basis: Bone boxes, Lab jackets, Lockers, Microscopes, Physician's Medical Instrument, Slide sets, and Textbooks. When accepting or returning a loan item, please retain the issue receipt in the unlikely event a record-keeping error is made.

When do issue events occur?

Issue dates and times are coordinated with class officers at times which are compatible with student schedules. While the MDL staff makes a concerted effort to issue the majority of instructional aids at the beginning of each academic year, additional issue events occur throughout the year. As each new instructional period begins, you should expect an issue of lab manuals, slide sets, etc.

What if I cannot attend a scheduled issue event?

Students having legitimate reasons for missing a scheduled issue event may coordinate, in advance, an alternate time with the MDL Office. Students who miss an issue event without prior coordination will be refereed to the Commandant's Office.

What if I lose a issue item?

The School of Medicine will not replace lost or stolen items. Issue of the following year's textbooks is contingent upon the return of previously loaned items. If you lose a loan item, you are responsible for payment or replacement as determined by the Director, MDL.

Are lockers available for student use?

Two lockers are provided to first and second year medical students. A locker is also provided to graduate students during their first two years at the school. Students must provide locks for their lockers. Students will be notified as to when they must vacate their lockers each year.

Are lab jackets available for student use?

Each MSI medical student is issued two lab jackets for use during their four years at USUHS. Measurements for these jackets are taken during Orientation Week and the jackets are subsequently ordered. Following issue, maintenance of and replacements for lab jackets become the responsibility of the student.

Classroom Support

What classroom support services are provided?

The MDL supports all classroom teaching by providing AV equipment, conference planning, audiovisual equipment training and audiovisual technical support. Centralized room scheduling for classrooms, laboratories, conference rooms and the Auditorium is coordinated via the MDL Office (Room A-2030). The MDL does not provide furniture or telephone answering services.

How do I reserve a room for an on-going meeting or course?

Room requests for year-long reservations are solicited annually in May and must be submitted to the MDL Office beginning June 1st. The MDL books the Room Request s in the order that they are received keeping in mind the academic schedule of the multiple schools of the university. Specific instructions for submitting this type of reservation are distributed to all USUHS activities via memo. Since space is heavily booked during the academic year, it is recommended that room requests be submitted punctually.

How do I reserve room for a one-time meeting?

Complete and submit a "Request for Use of USUHS Facilities" form which is available in the MDL Office. These requests are processed twice daily at 1000 and 1400 hours. Confirmations may be picked up shortly after these times or can be returned via campus mail or fax. Confirmations or availability of rooms can not be given over the phones or by email. You may download a copy of the form from the link on the website, but the submitted copy must have a valid signature.

How far in advance may I reserve a room?

Due to space constraints to meet student teaching needs, rooms are reserved for USUHS functions from August to August each year. The Auditorium may be scheduled for USUHS-sponsored regional or national meetings one year in advance. Events requiring further advance booking must be submitted to the President's office for approval.

What audiovisual equipment is standard in all room?

A video projector, computer setup, VCR/TV monitor, 35mm slide projector, overhead projector, projection screen, chalk, eraser, pointer and blackboard are available in every room. The larger classrooms also have sound systems, microphones, CD playback, audiotape playback/record, DVD playback, and Elmo projection devices. Please request all AV requirements on your room request form.

What support is provided to student teaching lectures?

MDL audiovisual support personnel conduct a daily inspection of all USUHS classrooms and conference rooms at 0630 hours. MDL staff are also "on call" during duty hours to respond quickly to AV technical problems. Phones are available in all rooms for this purpose.

What if I just want to borrow a piece of AV equipment?

Audiovisual equipment is available for loan on a limited amount of AV equipment. We ask that requestors give us at least 24 hours notice prior to needing the equipment since there may not be any available.

What if I?m uncertain how to operate a piece of AV equipment?

The Classroom Support staff will be happy to assist you by providing you a quick training session. We also encourage an annual departmental faculty briefing of the student lecture rooms as a refresher course. Please notify the MDL Office if you would like this service. Please remember it is the responsibility of the user to become competent in the use of USUHS audiovisual equipment.

Additional information may be obtained from Instruction #5041.


What basic support services are provided?

The MDL supports student teaching laboratory exercises by providing the following: pre-laboratory coordination of logistical support, procurement of all requested materials, complete staging and destaging of equipment and supplies, technical assistance during lab exercise, and documentation/cost analysis following the lab. Each laboratory also has a computer at each station. This provides the faculty and students the opportunity to utilize this resource in there educational experience. The computers are setup with presentation software, server access, and internet access. It is our goal to have the students and faculty enter a lab exercise to learn and teach respectively with minimal technical difficulties.

What facilities are available for laboratory teaching?

Most labs exercises are conducted in the MDL labs located on the second floor of "A" building or the Anatomical Teaching Lab (see above). Fourteen labs which can accommodate 24 students each are available in the second floor suite.

When are the MDL Labs open?

The labs are open 24 hours a day to facilitate after-hours student use.


How do I obtain these services?

New/additional lab requirements for on-going labs should be requested no less than four (4) months prior to the lab exercise to ensure adequate procurement time. These requirements may be submitted on an Instructional Support Request Form which are available from the MDL Office. Working from these requirements, the MDL staff will follow an established lab coordination process to fully support the lab exercise to its successful completion.

How can a new lab exercise be introduced?

Faculty members are encouraged to expand laboratory teaching. New protocols should be submitted to the MDL Director to insure that there is time and space in the labs to conduct the exercise. These protocols should include a detailed description of the lab exercise, a listing of required supplies and equipment and the estimated cost of the lab. The faculty members need to insure the lab exercise receives academic approval then funding will sought for the exercise and when obtained, the lab exercise can be implemented. Faculty members are strongly encouraged to begin the approval process a year prior to the implementation date.


What support is provided to students during lab exercises?

MDL staff is present during major lab exercises to provide technical and logistical support. If your equipment is not functioning properly, it will be replaced or corrective action will be taken to assure a successful laboratory experience. Do not hesitate to ask for assistance.

May photographs be taken during lab exercises?

Taking photographs is not permitted during laboratory exercises which involve the utilization of animals, or in the Anatomical Teaching Labs (ATL).

Who is responsible for lab maintenance?

When each laboratory exercise is completed, the students are required to conduct a clean-up of their laboratory station. All equipment will be cleaned and trash disposed of properly. Specific responsibilities are outlined in lab instructions provided to you during each lab exercise.

May I bring food and drinks into the labs?

For obvious health and safety reasons, no eating, drinking, or smoking (or application of cosmetics) is permitted in the labs at any time.

Additional information may be obtained from Instruction #3205.


Examinations are designed and administered at the departmental level. The MDL provides the University a computer-based grading service. Like the Medical College Aptitude Test (MCAT) and National Board Examinations (NBME), the MDL utilizes an Optical Mark Reader (OMR), to scan the answer sheets, linked to an IBM PC-AT microcomputer to analyze the results. The MDL also has the capability to conduct computerized testing utilizing in-house computers and a testing program called Test Pilot.

What are the system?s capabilities?

This grading system is capable of grading multiple choice tests with one correct answer per question. In addition, an answer key edit function is available if (after reviewing the test results) the answer to a question must be changed to allow more than on correct answer.

Test analysis capabilities include the following:

  • A complete item analysis of each test question.
  • Descriptive statistical analysis of overall class performance.
  • Listing of student scores and related descriptive statistics sorted alphabetically (for faculty use) and by confidential student ID number (for public posting).
  • A student response listing showing the student?s incorrect response and the correct answer.
  • The system is also capable of grading and providing statistics for subtests within the overall test.

The test analysis capabilities can also be applied to the test results file from the computerized testing program.

Faculty Information

How do I obtain these services?

We recommend a short briefing for new users which will allow the opportunity to describe the system capabilities. Those faculty members who have used the system before should simply turn in the exam for grading to the MDL office with a completed Exam Submission Form, the student answer sheets and exam pencils.

What are my responsibilities as a faculty member administering an exam?

The faculty member is responsible for picking up blank answer sheets and pencils from the MDL office and returning them at the time the test is turned in for grading. You must provide a completed answer key and MDL Exam Submission Form which will provide us with key information needed to grade the exam. There is also an instruction sheet distributed with tests that more fully explains faculty testing responsibilities. For the computerized testing, the faculty member is responsible for developing the exam and working with appropriate personnel in BID (Biomedical Informatics Department) to insure the exam is prepared properly.

Does the MDL support National Board Examinations?

USUHS is an official test center for the National Board Examinations. The MDL supervises the purchase and scheduling of the Step I and Step II (CS and CK) Certifying Exams to the MS-II and MS-IV classes respectively. Subject exams in both the Basic and Clinical Sciences may also be coordinated through this office. Please see the MDL Coordinator for additional information or refer to USUHS Instruction # 6301.

Student Information

What are my responsibilities as a student taking an examination?

To complete the answer sheet as instructed. The response bubbles must be completely darkened using a number two pencil. Any test incorrectly completed (e.g., stray marks, incomplete erasures, use of a non-number two pencil, etc.) may result in lower grade.

When do I receive my test scores?

The MDL staff grades all examinations within 48 hours and returns them to the academic department for their review. It is the prerogative of that department when they will post the scores. The MDL cannot release grades to students.