U Medical School to Honor Body Donors, Families

U Medical School to Honor Body Donors, Families

May 20, 2003 6:00 PM

The 96 people who donated their bodies to the University of Utah School of Medicine last year will be honored May 23 in a service at Salt Lake City Cemetery.

The 11 a.m. ceremony in the cemeterys northwest corner, where donor cremains are interred, will include a scripture reading, music, and refreshments. Donor family members and the public are invited to attend.

"This grave site is the resting place of nearly 2,000 body donors," said Kerry Peterson, director of the Us body donor program. "It is important that these caring people and their families be recognized and honored for their significant contribution to science and medicine."

A. Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D., U of U senior vice president for health sciences and dean of the medical school, will convey the Universitys appreciation to donor families, and Kurt Albertine, Ph.D., professor of anatomy, also will speak briefly.

The service, expected to last 45 minutes, also will include a congregational sharing for family members or others to express their thoughts.

The body donor program began in the earliest days of the medical school, with the bodies of indigents and executed prison inmates being designated for medical and educational use in the 1920s and 1930s. The volunteer program began in the 1940s when the medical school became a four-year, degree-granting program.

Bodies are used to teach anatomy to medical students, and for research, and then are cremated. The cremains go to the donor family or are interred in the city cemetery.

Even though the medical school received 96 bodies last year, more are needed, according to Peterson.

For more information about the program, contact Peterson at the medical school Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, 801-581-6728.

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