LEROY, Ill. — A group of doctors in central Illinois is opening a cadaver dissection lab for high school students to give young people a head-start on future medical careers.

The lab will be open to select students from advanced courses in subjects like anatomy and biology, The Pantagraph in Bloomington reported Thursday.

“Not every kid is cut out for this,” acknowledged Dr. Tom Pliura, head of the McLean County Medical Society, which is sponsoring the lab. But he said it is valuable experience that no one else in Illinois is offering to high school students and it will give the area a much-needed competitive edge.

The medical society has received its first cadaver, and Pliura hopes to begin after-school dissection labs on April 10 at his office in LeRoy, southeast of Bloomington.

Expected shortages of physicians make it important to inspire young students through projects like the lab, he said.

Pliura, an emergency medicine physician and lawyer, acknowledged the program could be challenging for high school students but said it’s appropriate for those with a high level of maturity and interest.

“Is it appropriate for future physicians to dissect a human body? Absolutely,” Pliura said. “I welcome the opportunity to push the limits of education. Other countries are passing us by, especially with kids interested in medicine.”

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