Donald R. Cahill, Ph.D.

Honored Member Award 1999

Donald R. Cahill spent his entire professional career as an anatomist, advocating the fundamental importance of anatomy in the study of medicine, dentistry, and related biomedical fields. Don was born on September 2, 1936 in Glasgow, Montana. After receiving his B.S. degree in Zoology from Montana State University in 1960, he went on to the U. of Washington where he received his M.S. in Anatomy in 1964, and then his Ph.D. in Anatomy from Temple University in 1968. During his time at Temple University, he held the position of Instructor.

Don was an Assistant Professor of Anatomy at Northwestern University Medical and Dental Schools from 1968 to 1971, Associate Professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine from 1971 to 1980, after which time he moved to Rochester, Minnesota to be become a Consultant and Associate Professor at the Mayo Medical School. In 1981 he became Chair of Anatomy at the Mayo Medical School, and was promoted to Professor in 1983, positions held until his retirement in 1998 when he joined the Emeritus Staff at the Mayo Clinic. During his career at these institutions, he was the director of courses in Gross Anatomy and Histology for students in medicine, dentistry, dental hygiene, and pharmacy. In 2000, he served as Acting Chair and Professor of Anatomy at Dartmouth Medical School, and was Visiting Professor of Anatomy at the University of Massachusetts. At Mayo, he designed and taught career specialized courses in Gross Anatomy for medical students, and residents in general surgery, urology, ENT, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology, radiology, obstetrics and gynecology and ophthalmology. He designed and taught specialized anatomy programs for academically disadvantaged students, and for medical students from Arab countries applying for residencies in the United States.

Don’s research interests focused on tooth eruption and exfoliation, and alveolar bone metabolism. He published and lectured widely on these studies, and on descriptive anatomy, and the MRI and CT anatomy of the urinary system. He published numerous editorials and essays on anatomic and medical education, and the critical importance of body donation programs to these activities. In addition to instructional videos and software, he authored An Atlas of Human Cross-Sectional Anatomy with M.J. Orland and G.M. Miller, the 3rd Edition appearing in 1995, and edited the 4th Edition of Lachman’s Case Studies in Anatomy in 1997.

Don was a member of the American Association of Anatomists, International Association for Dental Research, American Association of Anatomy Chairmen, and the American Association of Higher Education. He was a Founding Member of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists (AACA) in 1982, and hosted AACA meetings at Mayo Clinic in 1984, 1986, and 1995. He served as Councilor 1985-1986. Secretary-Treasurer 1986-1989, Vice President 1989-1991, President-Elect 1991-1993, and President 1993-1995. In 1991, Don became the second Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Anatomy, a position he held until 2001, and during which he achieved international recognition for our Journal.