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Human Anatomy Dissection Experience: 7-Day CPD Program

anatomy of a body


The Human Anatomy Dissection Experience: 7-Day CPD Program strives to offer practitioners within the medical community and  Complementary and Alternative Medicine professions the opportunity to revisit the essential science of human anatomy as it applies to their chosen field when it is most important to them: once they are working in the clinic.

This continuing professional development program recognizes the importance of the fasciae in the practice of medicine and CAM, as well as the difference between a textbook and clinical knowledge of anatomy.  Students are guided through their dissections starting with an intact cadaver so that they may appreciate the anatomy in all its facets from topography to osteology, including the fasciae.

Join us in 2023!

Our next program will run August 12 - 18, 2023, in Kingston, ON Canada.

 Hear about the program from instructor, Dr. Craig Harness

70 Hours

This in-person, intensive course offers 70, hands-on lab hours

World class laboratory

World class anatomy laboratory with full downdraft ventilation systems

Experienced Faculty

Instruction from an anatomist who is also a practicing clinician

This was by far one of the greatest educational experiences of my life.  I plan on attending every year it's offered and will encourage people whom I know would benefit from this course to also make an effort to attend.  I want to thank Craig for making this possible in the highest quality environment with the phenomenal instruction that he achieved and to thank Shiraz for taking the time to provide us with his knowledge and expertise.  I can't say enough to communicate how thrilled I am to be a part of this...

Program Details

The Human Anatomy Dissection Experience strives to create a lasting educational experience by supplying an immersive interactive environment ensuring it is emergent enough never to be experienced in the same way twice.

Starting at the Spring 2014 edition of the program, the use of soft embalmed cadavers was introduced. This method of specimen preservation ensures the textures and colours of the specimen are maintained as well as joint range of motion. Most importantly it allows for a much better appreciation of the fascial planes as they are dissected.

The Human Anatomy Dissection Experience is an open curriculum-based dissection course. Dissection curricula are created by each group and practitioners are urged to take an active role in the dissection planning. With appropriate planning and approval each team has the potential to create a dissection of their choosing with full support of the faculty during development. A pictorial synopsis of the Experience is created incorporating all of the specimens, with a digital copy being given to each participant.   

A maximum of 20 students are permitted in the Summer 2023 edition of the program. Groups of 5 students will dissect a fully intact soft embalmed human cadaver. With faculty approval, interested practitioners forming a group of 5 may enter the experience as a team. 


Successful students will be able to compare and contrast traditional methods of human anatomy education with a complexity-based method. By the conclusion of the program successful students will be able to:

  1. Relate embryologic and physiologic principles to the study of gross human anatomy as they relate to their clinical practice
  2. Engage in collaborative and inter-professional dialogue to communicate various approaches to integrating the study of anatomy into their clinical practice
  3. Design and create clinical case-studies incorporating a complexity-based approach to human anatomy, Supplemented by a dissection(s) related to those case-studies
  4. Integrate anatomical knowledge into management and clinical application of an injury
  5. Identify relationships between structures, as well as structures and function
  6. Assess the anatomical underpinnings of MSK, clinical testing with extensions to body-wide anatomy
  7. Identify key anatomical structures to discuss functional implications for a variety of clinical practices

The doors of The New Medical Building opened in September 2011 after much anticipation.  Since then it has been operating as one of the premier places in Canada to learn the medical sciences.  Participants of the program take full advantage of the William James Henderson Anatomy Learning Centre with all its facets.

This facility houses a full spectrum of both wet and dry anatomical material, plastinated specimens, models, and state of the art audio / visual equipment.  The main dissection lab is fully integrated with downdraft ventilation for the comfort of the dissectors.  There is even some natural sunlight that enters via a connection to the main foyer of the building!

The anatomy museum contains hundreds of encased wet anatomical specimens spanning the entire body and is considered to be the best in Canada.  The versatility of this new space comes with the ability to organize and reorganize it with ease so that the entire spectrum of learning materials can be used in combination, simultaneously.

Participants are urged to bring a combination or keyed lock to take advantage of the storage facilities provided.  Please note that no outside material is permitted in either the main dissection laboratory or anatomy museum.


2023 Course Fees:

$5000 CAD per learner

Returning learners receive $500 off. If you previously attended, please contact Dr. Craig Harness at for your discount code.


Payment options:

Full payment by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) is required at the time of registration.

Alternatively, you may pay a $500 CAD non-refundable deposit (Visa or Mastercard) to secure your spot and pay the balance owing ($5000 CAD) up to one month before the program.

If you wish to pay for multiple learners by cheque, please contact Chris at for information.

Returning learner discounts will be applied to full payment or balance owing payments only. 


Cancellation Fees:

All deposits are non-refundable. If you pay in full and cancel your registration before July 28, 2023, a cancellation fee of $150.00 will be retained. All registrations are non-refundable after July 28, 2023.


Register now 

Credits for Family Medicine Specialists:

This 1 credit-per-hour Group Learning program has met the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by the Queen's University Continuing Professional Development Office for up to 70 Mainpro+ certified credit. Cert Plus Session ID: 199067-001.

Credits for Royal College Specialists:

This event is an Accredited Section 1- Group Learning program as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, approved by Queen’s University. You may claim a maximum of 70 hour (credits are automatically calculated).

Hours for Health Professionals and Enthusiasts:

This is professional learning activity which provides up to 70 hours of Continuing Education.

Who can register?

Approved professions for this course are:

  • Medical doctor
  • Nurse / Nurse practitioner
  • Chiropractor
  • Physiotherapist
  • Osteopathic practitioner
  • Massage therapist
  • Athletic therapist
  • Occupational therapist

If you do not fall within one of these professions, please contact Dr. Craig Harness at for permission to register for this program. Please provide your professional details and your reason for wanting to attend this program.



What is the total length of the dissection course?

The dissection course is 70 lab hours.


Do I get a receipt that I can use for continuing education?

This program provides you proof of both payment and attendance at a 70 hour human anatomy dissection course.  Please check with your professional organization for guidance. 


Is financial aid available?

There is no direct financial aid available.


How do I implement the content into my practice?

Every student will implement the Experience into their practice differently.  Some students report an increased awareness in their palpation skills while others have reported an increased ability to think in relational anatomy i.e. what other structure could a symptom be coming from based on the anatomic relationship?

Interaction with fellow colleagues as well as with the faculty, who are also active practitioners, allows each student to implement their renewed anatomical appreciation in a unique way.


Will I get a reference manual?

Yes – a digital manual is created from the students' dissections during the dissection Experience.  Students are also granted access to the Scalable Gross Anatomy and Histology Catalogue, a Queen’s University digital reference.  Hard copy notes are supplied to all participants at the prosection Experiences.


How do I prepare for the Dissection course?

Since all the participants are practicing professionals, a certain level of background is assumed. The first part of the curriculum is topography and palpation, followed by the removal of skin and superficial fascia layers. Once the specimen has been denuded of these layers the open curriculum part of the course begins.

In terms of personal preparation the most important preparation for the program is an open mind to create a dissection process that will allow each student to appreciate various aspects of human anatomy as they apply to clinical treatment within the CAM professions.  In other words, try to think of how you can dissect the various structures you are especially interested in. The faculty are more than willing to assist you in this process.  


I have never dissected before, is that a problem?

Absolutely not. All of the skills needed to safely complete the dissection are developed during the first part of the course.  The faculty is always more than willing to assist you in completing more technically challenging dissections.


Does the lab smell?

Definitely not in the way many practitioners remember their undergraduate anatomy lab.  The main dissection lab is extraordinarily ventilated as is each dissection table.  The specimens used are soft embalmed which uses almost no formaldehyde, the chemical which produces that stereotypical “anatomy lab smell”.  


Can I choose a male or female cadaver?

There is no guarantee of the sex of the specimen.  That being said, we will do our best to accommodate your preference.


What is a soft embalmed cadaver?

Formalin fixed cadavers have been used in medical education for more than a century with the advantage of being totally fixed and extremely resistant to deterioration.  The downside is all of the connective tissues become bound down and together, the joints become almost immobile, the glandular organs become rigid, and the brain becomes equally solid.  Our soft embalming solution uses only trace amounts of formaldehyde which allows the connective tissues to remain very liquid, the joints retain their natural range of motion, and the organs and brain to remain supple.  Soft embalmed cadavers resemble fresh tissue as closely as possible while maintaining the advantages of chemically treating the body. 

Program Faculty

Dr. Craig Harness

Craig Harness

RMT, Dip. Osteopathy, PhD

Dr. Harness is a Lecturer of Anatomy at Queen’s University with an extensive background in the fields of both Anatomy and Osteopathy.  He has attained diplomas in Massage Therapy (Fleming College), Somatotherapy, Fascial Therapy, Cranial Therapy, and Osteopathy (all from Académie Sutherland d’Ostéopathie du Québec), a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Sciences (Athabasca University), a Master of Science degree in Anatomy & Cell Biology (Queen’s University) where he focused on professional anatomy education for members of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine streams, and a PhD within the Experimental Medicine field of specialization (Queen’s University), focusing on how human dissection can affect clinical efficacy of practitioners of physical manipulation.  Since 2013, Dr. Harness has gained experience teaching cadaveric and clinical anatomy at the community college, university, and graduate studies levels.  He also continues to concurrently teach various osteopathic courses at the private vocational institute level.

Dr. Sack

Jason Sack


Dermatologist, Anatomical Pathologist & Skin Oncologist
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Queen's University

The best educational course and amazing quality of instruction I have ever taken/had.  I hope to be able to take part in many more to come

Contact Us


Program inquiries
Please contact Dr. Craig Harness at

Questions related to registration
Please contact Queen's Health Sciences Continuing Professional Development at