School of Medicine to Honor Body Donors, Families at Memorial Service

School of Medicine to Honor Body Donors, Families at Memorial Service

May 25, 2004 6:00 PM

A memorial service to honor the 98 people who gave their bodies to science and education at the University of Utah School of Medicine last year will be held Friday, May 28 at 11 a.m. The grave where their cremains will be interred is located in the northwest corner of the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Donor family members, medical school faculty, students, and the public are invited to attend.

Last year's donors came from residents throughout Utah and nearly all the western U.S., according to Kerry Peterson, director of the U's body donor program.

"This grave site is the final resting place of more than 2,100 body donors, to whom we are very grateful," he said. "It is important that these caring people and their families are recognized and honored for their significant contribution to science and medicine."

Peterson expects the majority of family members in attendance will be those whose loved ones donated their bodies within the past year, but it's common for families of earlier donors to return for the annual service.

The service will include remarks of appreciation from David J. Bjorkman, M.D., MSPH, interim dean of the medical school, musical presentations from U medical students, words from community religious leaders, and congregational sharing.

The volunteer body donor program was formalized in the 1940s, when the medical school became a four-year, degree-granting school. The bodies are studied in basic anatomy classes and used in research and then cremated. The cremains are given to the family, or buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery grave.

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