NEWS | September 28, 2005

Memorial service to honor donors of bodies to medicine


A memorial service to recognize the individuals who have donated their bodies to support medical research and education at the UC Davis School of Medicine will be held on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 4 p.m. at the UC Davis Cancer Center Auditorium, 4501 X St., Sacramento.

Every year, the UC Davis Donated Body Program, in conjunction with UC Davis medical students, conducts a memorial service to honor those who have donated their bodies to advance medical education and scientific research. The ceremony provides second-year students with an opportunity to pay respects to the bodies from which they learned, and prepares first-year students for the lessons they are about to learn. Family members of those who have donated their bodies have been invited to the service, which is free and open to the public.

The service will include a secular vigil and dedication ceremony, speakers from the medical school, and informal opportunities for family members of donors to visit with medical students. Representatives of the Donated Body Program also will describe plans to develop a memorial site at the School of Medicine’s new facility, now under construction, at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

Medical students work with human cadavers in the first quarter of their first-year training at the School of Medicine in the gross anatomy course. Over several weeks, students dissect the human cadavers from the chest through the abdomen, pelvis, head and neck to the limbs to attain valuable experience and information about body structures that they cannot get by looking at a textbook or computerized graphics.

Cadavers also are used in research laboratories to better understand disease and by emergency medicine and other specialty physicians and residents, who practice new surgical techniques. Many regional colleges and universities also rely on the UC Davis  program to fill the needs of their curricula.

The Donated Body Program at the UC Davis School of Medicine receives donations from the Northern California community. Established in 1968, the program has received more than 2,400 donations to date and has 4,500 living individuals registered as donors. A memorial site honoring donors, dedicated in 2000, includes a bench, plaque and trees. It is intended to provide family and friends of those who donated their bodies to medicine a place to visit to remember their loved ones.

For more information about the Donated Body Program, contact the program office at (530) 752-1938 or, or visit the Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy’s Web site