DAYTON, Ohio-Each fall for the past 30 years, students and faculty of the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine have paused to honor the people who make medical education at the school possible: the men and women who donate their bodies to the school's Anatomical Gift Program.
Donors play an invaluable and indispensable role in medical education by allowing students to gain a detailed, firsthand understanding of human anatomy. A strong knowledge of the anatomical disciplines is the foundation of basic medical science, which makes it essential for both physician training and all forms of medical practice.
"The impact of these selfless gifts truly does abide forever," said Frank Nagy, Ph.D., director of the Anatomical Gift Program. "For three decades, generations of physicians have begun their medical education by learning from donors the vital lessons only they can teach. As these students graduate and go on to practice medicine, help patients, serve their communities, and share their knowledge with new students in turn, the legacy of a donor's gift becomes limitless."
Since 1980, the school has invited family and friends of donors to campus for an annual memorial service to honor and remember their loved ones. Following this service, an interment ceremony is held in the serene, tree-shaded Rockafield Cemetery on campus, where the ashes of many donors are laid to rest. Each year, more than 1,200 family members and friends attend the memorial and committal services, which are conducted by regional and national clergy of diverse faiths.
The 30th annual services took place on the afternoon of Sunday, September 26, and were held in honor of 470 donors who lost their lives over the past year. In its three decades, the Anatomical Gift Program has received the bodies of nearly 7,000 donors, and more than 19,000 caring people from all walks of life are currently registered as donors.