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Elsevier introduces the world’s first and most expansive 3D human anatomy model featuring different skin tones and facial features to tackle racial bias in healthcare

New York | January 10, 2023

Complete Anatomy 2023 is the first teaching platform to tackle the centuries-long absence of non-white bodies in anatomy learning, increasing racial representation and diversity in health education

Elsevier, a global leader in evidence-based clinical practice content, research publishing and information analytics, today announced the newest edition of its revolutionary 3D anatomy teaching platform, Complete Anatomy 2023, which will feature the most expansive set of skin tone selections ever available in global health education. The release of Complete Anatomy 2023 delivers the next step in Elsevier’s commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in medical education and comes on the heels of the company’s release last year of the world’s most advanced 3D full female anatomy model, breaking a centuries-long pattern of male-dominated teaching models.

For hundreds of years, light-skinned bodies have dominated anatomy learning, underscoring the lack of racial representation in global teaching materials. A 2018 study in the Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development found that less than 5% of images in general medical texts included dark skin tones. The team at 3D4Medical from Elsevier, the creators of Complete Anatomy, spent years meticulously researching and consulting with anthropologists, ancestral diversity experts, professors, students and 3D artists to develop a broad spectrum of skin tones and facial features so students around the world can learn from a model that more closely represents them and the patient populations they will serve. It’s an important step in addressing unconscious bias in future clinicians.

Jan Herzhoff, President of Elsevier Health said: “As a world leader in health education, we are committed to advancing inclusion in healthcare and creating an inclusive learning experience for all students and clinicians. Complete Anatomy 2023 reflects years of work to ensure the highest standard for racial diversity in medical teaching and training materials. This is the latest milestone on Elsevier’s journey to making sure everyone feels represented in medical education resources and providing more racially equitable learning opportunities to help improve patient outcomes.”

With over 20 million downloads and over 3.4 million active users, Complete Anatomy from Elsevier is the world’s most advanced 3D anatomy platform used at more than 500 institutions and clinical organizations globally. Complete Anatomy’s mission is to help students be better prepared for medical practice in the real world from their first day of medical school while increasing inclusion, diversity, and representation in learning.  Users will now be offered a range of facial characteristics and skin tones to customize their model (male or female) for lessons. Updates and further customizations can be made at any time.

Irene Walsh, Director of Product, Content and Design at 3D4Medical from Elsevier said: “The urgent need to actively introduce broader representation into learning resources for future healthcare professionals is well-documented. As a global product, Complete Anatomy is invested in leading the way to offer diverse materials for students, educators, and clinicians to help create an inclusive approach to their learning and teaching. We want to be part of the solution and aim to deliver world-class anatomical accuracy and virtual dissection capabilities with inclusivity at the heart of everything we do.”

Caption: Complete Anatomy 2023.

The medical field grapples with bias on several fronts, including sex and race. The positioning of the light-skinned European male as the universalized default goes back to the advent of anatomy study in the western world. Centuries later, diverse skin tones and facial features are still lacking; something that can negatively impact patient care. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that racial bias amongst healthcare workers can be linked to poorer patient outcomes for people of color.One important example is in skin cancer treatment, which requires clinicians to look for melanomas on nails, hands, and feet. Melanomas can appear differently on differing skin tones. Thus, resulting in an inaccurate or delayed diagnosis if a healthcare professional is not familiar with how melanomas present on differing skin tones. The same problem can be seen when diagnosing conditions such as Lyme disease. According to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, because darker skin tones are not represented enough in medical textbooks, it is difficult for physicians to recognize dermatologic manifestations in diseases like Lyme disease. A delayed diagnosis here can ultimately lead to patients suffering from more severe neurological issues.

Dr. Fatimah Jackson, Professor of Biological Anatomy, Howard University said: “The striking absence of different skin tones and different physical traits in the medical field is something universities and health educators of all kinds are finally taking notice of. For so long, students and faculty of color have had to learn and teach in what has, in ways, been an unfamiliar setting. This is a pivotal step taken by

3D4Medical from Elsevier to address a prevalent bias in the healthcare field. It’s a move that will hopefully put us on course to creating a more representative and inclusive environment for all those that dedicate themselves to the health and service of others.”

Complete Anatomy 2023 is officially available in The App Store from Apple, Windows, and Google Play.


Notes to editors

For more information, interviews, B-roll, and a free trial or staffed demonstration of Complete Anatomy 2023 and its groundbreaking diversity features, members of the media should contact Dan DiPietro-James, Global Media Relations Director at Elsevier or Ty Guzman-Touchberry of WE Communications – contacts above.

About Complete Anatomy

Complete Anatomyopens in new tab/window from 3D4Medical by Elsevier is the world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform. The revolutionary cloud-based education platform allows users to investigate the minute detail of the human anatomy in incredible 3D. Complete Anatomy is transforming medical learning and practice across the world, leading the way in the production of ground-breaking 3D medical technology. Featuring over 3.4 million registered customers and over 20 million downloads globally, Complete Anatomy is used daily in over 500 top universities around the world as well as with global clinical organizations. Complete Anatomy’s award-winning software has been featured on stage at Apple and Microsoft events, was honoured as the Winner of the Apple Design Awards in 2016, and is the No. 1 top-selling medical category app on iPad in the U.S.

3D4Medical has been developing medical and anatomical products since 2009 and was acquired by Elsevier in 2019. 3D4Medical from Elsevier has continued to provide industry-leading innovations that have allowed new ways for students, educators and those in the medical community to learn and understand the human anatomy.

To learn more about Complete Anatomy’s female model and the experience it provides users, please visit the 3D4 websiteopens in new tab/window.

About Elsevier

As a global leader in scientific information and analytics, Elsevier helps researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society. We do this by facilitating insights and critical decision-making with innovative solutions based on trusted, evidence-based content and advanced AI-enabled digital technologies.

We have supported the work of our research and healthcare communities for more than 140 years. Our 9,500 employees around the world, including 2,500 technologists, are dedicated to supporting researchers, librarians, academic leaders, funders, governments, R&D-intensive companies, doctors, nurses, future healthcare professionals and educators in their critical work. Our 2,900 scientific journals and iconic reference books include the foremost titles in their fields, including Cell Press, The Lancet and Gray’s Anatomy.

Together with the Elsevier Foundationopens in new tab/window, we work in partnership with the communities we serve to advance inclusion and diversity in science, research and healthcare in developing countries and around the world.

Elsevier is part of RELXopens in new tab/window, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. For more information on our work, digital solutions and content, visit


Headshot of Dan DiPietro-James


Dan DiPietro-James

Global Media Relations Director


+1 773-251-8744

E-mail Dan DiPietro-James


Ashley Stanford Cone

E-mail Ashley Stanford Cone