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Posted on Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

U-M Medical School to host service in memory of anatomical gift donors

By Amy Biolchini

The University of Michigan Medical School will be honoring those that have donated their bodies to science in a memorial service 6 p.m. Wednesday at Rackham Auditorium in Ann Arbor.

The ceremony includes remarks by medical students for the families of those who have given anatomical gifts to medical education and research, and usually is attended by about 1,000 people, said Dean Mueller, coordinator of the Anatomical Donations Program at U-M.


University of Michigan Medical School students hand flowers to family members of anatomical gift donors during a memorial service in 2007. The school's annual memorial service is 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Courtesy of U-M

“It’s a way to say thank you to the donors and the donor’s families for what they’ve done,” Mueller said.

The Medical School receives about 300 anatomical gifts per year, and has been hosting the memorial ceremony annually in September since the first anatomical gift donations to the university were recorded in 1817 - before the formation of the medical school.

About 7,000 people have pre-registered to donate their bodies to the program, Mueller said. The next of kin also can determine if they want to donate a body to the program.

Med students wear their white lab coats during the ceremony and are able to connect with the families of the people who donated their bodies. The students also are very involved with the planning and execution of the event, Mueller said.

“There’s sadness and laughter, and a great appreciation for what goes on,” Mueller said.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

My grandmother donated her body so this has been very special to my family that they hold this event. A beautiful and creative way to remember her and her contribution to science. Thank you U of M!

Kara Gavin

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 8:10 p.m.

Thanks for featuring this topic! For anyone who might be interested in considering donation, please visit to learn more. - Kara Gavin U-M Health System Public Relations


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

That's cool


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

How about telling us how we can donate our bodies if we are interested?

Dog Guy

Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 12:32 a.m.

The Med School doesn't want yours right now. It prefers that you have died of something.

Rob Pollard

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

Wow, they've been doing this service for close to 200 years! What a thoughtful idea. Kudos to those UM employees who started this service, and to those who continue it. Most of all, thank you to the donors - medicine could not advance without you & your families.