U Medical School to Honor Body Donors, Families at Memorial Service

U Medical School to Honor Body Donors, Families at Memorial Service

May 24, 2005 6:00 PM

A memorial service to honor the 120 people who gave their bodies to science and education at the University of Utah School of Medicine last year will be held Friday, May 27 at 11 a.m. Donor family members, medical school faculty, students, and the public are expected to attend.

More people donated their body to the U program this year than ever before, according to Kerry Peterson, Body Donor Program director.

"It's important that these caring people and their families are recognized and honored for their significant contribution to science and medicine."

Although vital to the education of future medical professionals, the bodies have had an expanding role in improving medical care in recent years, Peterson said. Medical researchers use cadavers to develop technologies and techniques for surgery and implants and to teach new procedures to other practicing physicians.

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 program will include remarks of appreciation from David J. Bjorkman, M.D., MSPH, dean of the U medical school; musical presentations; and congregational sharing.

The volunteer body donor program was formalized in the early 1940s, when the medical school became a four-year, degree-granting school. After the bodies are studied or used in research they are cremated. The cremains then are given to the family, or buried in the Salt Lake City cemetery.

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