Tell the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Chattanooga: Stop Using Animals for Medical Student Surgery Skills Training

The Physicians Committee
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Tell the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Chattanooga: Stop Using Animals for Medical Student Surgery Skills Training

university-of-tennessee

At the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) Chattanooga, medical students are taught basic surgery skills using live animals. This training involves practicing suturing and knot-tying skills, making incisions into the pig’s abdomen to insert endoscopes (long tubes with lighted cameras), and inserting surgical instruments to practice procedures. At the end of each session, the animals are killed. Please join the Physicians Committee and more than 360 Tennessee physicians in asking UTHSC-Chattanooga to make the switch to simulation.

Of the 197 accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada, only one other school uses live animals to train students in surgery techniques. The remaining 99 percent of programs use nonanimal methods, including human-based medical simulation and partial task trainers.

These methods allow each student to repeat procedures, hone skills, and learn at his or her own pace, without harming animals. In fact, the other campuses of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center use nonanimal methods to teach the exact same procedures. The Chattanooga campus has a state-of-the-art clinical skills and simulation center that could immediately replace the use of animals for teaching students basic surgery skills.

Despite the availability of validated human-based nonanimal methods, UTHSC-Chattanooga chooses to continue the cruel practice of using live animals to train students. Please take action and tell the University of Tennessee dean of medicine David C. Seaberg, M.D., C.P.E, F.A.C.E.P., that Chattanooga deserves better.

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