Russell T. Woodburne, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.

Honored Member Award 1987

The name of Russell T. Woodburne became synonymous with the concept of a regional gross anatomy textbook that was readable, that is to say, not encyclopedic in nature.  Russell received his B.A. (1932), M.A. (1933), and Ph.D. in Anatomy (1935), all from the University of Michigan.

Russell devoted his entire career to teaching, research and service in the Medical School at the University of Michigan.  He was a gifted and enthusiastic teacher who introduced thousands of medical students to human anatomy during his long and productive career.  Russell joined the Medical School’s anatomy faculty as an Instructor in 1936, and was promoted to Assistant Professor (1936), Associate Professor (1939), and Professor (1947).  He served as the Chair of the Department of Anatomy from 1958-1973.  He retired, and was named Professor emeritus in 1975.

Russell was known internationally as the author of one of the first regional anatomy textbooks, which represented a new approach to learning anatomy.  “Essentials of Human Anatomy” influenced several generations of medical students, having appeared in nine editions, some of the latter co-authored with William E. Burkel.  He made many original contributions to the field of anatomy, fundamental anatomical descriptions, and their clinical application of areas of anatomy that had previously been poorly described.

Woodburne was active in the American Association of Anatomy, serving on its Executive Committee (1955-1959), its Secretary-Treasurer (1964-72), and its President (1974-1975).  He was active in many other professional organizations:  the American Association of Clinical Anatomists, the American Academy of Neurology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the U of M Research Club, the Frederick A. Coller Surgical Society (Honorary Member), the Galens Medical Society, and the Washtenaw County Medical Society.  His interest in anatomical terminology led to his services on the International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee (1960-1990).  Woodburne was a consultant and visiting professor in anatomy in several universities, the National institutes of Health, and the U.S. Army.  In recognition of a lifetime of dedication to  clinical anatomy and its application to medicine, the AACA made Russell T. Woodburne its Honored Member for 1987.