Dental Students, Professor Take Selfie with Severed Heads at Yale

A scene outside the Sterling Hall of Medicine near Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. Officials say that Yale-New Haven Hospital is waiting for test results on a patient who recently traveled to Liberia and was admitted Wednesday night with a fever. They confirmed that the patient was …
Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Dental school students and a professor of orthodontics are in hot water after officials discovered that the group took a selfie with two severed human heads.

A person who asked to remain anonymous for fear of potential career consequences spotted the photo in a private group chat and leaked the photo to the Associated Press (AP).

The anonymous person told the AP that the selfie taker would not give the outlet permission to publish over fears of being expelled.

The photo depicts Dr. Flavio Uribe, an assistant professor of orthodontics at UConn Health and a visiting professor at Yale School of Medicine, and several graduate dental students wearing surgical masks and looking at the camera while other students worked in the background.

The picture was taken in June at Yale School of Medicine’s 2017 DePuy Synthes Future Leaders Workshop — a seminar focused on teaching future dentists how to treat “dental-related facial deformities.”

Uribe told the AP that he was teaching the group to install screws in the cadaver heads.

“Somebody unfortunately took a photo,” Uribe said. “It was so quick. I wasn’t sure of the surroundings or scenery at that point.”

Officials at Yale School of Medicine and UConn Health say they have taken appropriate steps to ensure a similar incident does not occur in the future.

“UConn Health was made aware of the matter at the time it happened and took appropriate internal steps,” UConn Health chief communications officer Christopher Hyers said in a statement, adding that the organization would not “comment on personnel matters” regarding Uribe.

“The photograph taken at a symposium at Yale was disturbing and an inexcusable deviation from anything Yale would expect to occur,” Yale spokesman Thomas Conroy said in a statement Monday. “Yale is developing a centralized coordinating function to ensure adequate oversight is provided for use of anatomical parts in any training conducted at the school.

“The faculty member who was involved in the training at which the photograph was taken has been informed of Yale’s expectations in this regard,” he added.

The Yale spokesperson added that there are signs posted near the medical school laboratories explicitly stating that photographs are not allowed inside the facilities.

It is not clear how the university obtained the cadavers or whether the students or the professor suffered any consequences.


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