The Medical College of Wisconsin operates the not-for-profit Anatomical Gift Registry to support teaching of health care professionals and biomedical research. To honor the memory of those who selflessly give their bodies to further this mission, an annual Memorial Service is held in the Spring. It is important to set aside time and come together to celebrate those who were our teachers, and pay respect to the dead. These gifts are vitally important to the training of medical students, and each donor has a remarkable impact on healthcare delivery in the United States. Each of our over 200 students spends countless hours learning human anatomy from these silent, yet brilliant teachers.
These gifts are to future patients, as MCW students graduate and scatter to all parts of the country to begin their residencies. These new, young doctors carry with them the lessons our body donors have imparted: empathy, altruism, respect, and the knowledge to help their patients, relieve pain and comfort those during their final phases of life.
On Saturday, April 27, 2013, the Medical College of Wisconsin held a Memorial Service that was attended by over 250 community members, and the ceremony allowed families to grieve the death of their loved ones. It allowed the medical students, faculty and staff to show their deep appreciation for these precious gifts. The day was filled with music, poetry, words of remembrance and prayer. Family members were greeted by scores of medical students, and they had the opportunity to talk to the students after the ceremony. It is hard to express how impactful the gift of body really is, but families can be assured these gifts have profound meaning and are treated with the utmost respect during their final acts of service.
Dr. Todd Hoagland
Professor and Director, Anatomical Gift Registry