ISAHA is a proposed organization which will soon be launched at the forthcoming Anatomical Society of West Africa (ASWA), holding at the Department of Anatomy University of Jos, Nigeria  [Postponed till next year].

It is a society envisaged to assist in bringing back the lost glories of Human Anatomy as a definitive science of the human body and also to assist members to become proper anatomists who have all the armamentaria of their trade at their disposal. There is no science that does not have practical to show the scientific aspect of it for science is the systematic study of natural phenomena. Any subject that cannot have practical that is real is no science subject at all and that includes Human Anatomy. Part of the problems of human anatomy in the last few decades include inability to obtain cadavers, loss of valuable and highly skilled experts in the field as in the past and the lack of models, museums and other things relevant to the study of human anatomy. About 30-50 years ago a well seasoned Professor of Anatomy would boast of haven dissected over 500 cadavers. Today anatomists do not dissect anymore haven abandoned that job to professional prosectors who may not even be anatomists and even professional artists to label prosected material. It was cadaveric dissections at grave side by barber surgeons in the 16th century that started the revolution of modern human medicine and that tradition of science from inspiration of anatomy must not be allowed to die. Cadaveric dissections have been lost in many curricula of Medicine in many Western Universities and today we see some Professors of Anatomy who have never dissected cadaver before but are a wizards of molecular biology. While the pioneering work of Henry Gray and the subsequent editions of the famous Gray's Anatomy have gone on very well and better than most other disciplines in Medicine, the actual postgraduate studies of Human anatomy have been hampered by the lack of cadavers and now more desperately, the lack of anatomists. Many academic journals in Anatomy have been converted to Journals of Molecular Biology rather than Human Anatomy and career advancement in anatomy have been stunted in most cases.  But of course molecular biology is a bona fide part of modern anatomy but it can never be labeled as the only part.

What is Anatomy? Who is the anatomist? are presently questions that do not have answers as anatomists grappled with their raison d'etre. Some recommendations  to some of the problems raised above would be as follows and such will be discussed on the inauguration day and decisions taken as the way to move this very important organization forward

1. The organization will be called International Society for the Advancement of Human Anatomy (ISAHA) open to all and sundry all  over the world, unless of course the inauguration body feels otherwise.

2. A working definition of the anatomist would be any one who is (or has) engaged in cadaveric dissection. It will of course also include a University degree holder in anatomy or a teacher of human anatomy in any higher institution anywhere in the world. This then means that medical doctors who have dissected cadavers before their graduation are automatically members of the ISAHA, if they so wish.

3. The organization will be mainly internet based with registered members receiving Newsletters and updates regularly by emails.

4. The organization will link registered members so that individuals can obtain facilities from members anywhere in the world -for example members who wish to participate in cadaver dissections can be linked to departments where they can obtain such or those who wish to work in certain laboratories in research that is bona fide Human Anatomy can be linked to such etc.

5. The organization will promote the use of cadavers for instructions in anatomy anywhere in the world and will use its position to obtain cadavers for those University departments that wish to have it for the instructions of their students.

6. Although the organization's primary objective will be to promote cadaveric dissection it will also assist in the development of alternative means of instructions in anatomy such as the electronic method, museums, books etc.

7. The organization will assist departments of anatomy to obtain materials for Human Anatomy such as cadavers as mentioned above and also histology slides for bona fide human body and embryology specimen so long as it is human and legal and ethical for the particular country in question.

8. The organization will promote the need for postgraduate studies to include cadaveric dissection in addition to any other modern scientific research methods. Anyone who wishes to be a postgraduate anatomist must have dissected the human body anywhere in the world where he/she can obtain cadavers or dissection and not just use prosected parts.

9. The organization will organize from time to time awards of great honor to anatomists round the world that have contributed to the advancement of the subject in any way.

9. International Congresses will be held in various countries in tandem with Congresses of well known Organizations of anatomy such as the International Federations etc.

If you are not coming to ASWA conference in Jos and wish or register to be a member of the Society before Jos then open this link and register.

Professor Sir John Oluwole Ogunranti
Visiting Professor of Anatomy

Department of Surgery and Cancer
Human Anatomy Unit Rm 14L05 Laboratory Block
Charing Cross Campus
St Dunstan's Road
London, UK

Interim Convener 

Interim Headquarters
65 Langton Avenue, East Ham, London, UK
Thursday, 21 April 2011