Memorial Service to honor donors and their families at USD

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota School of Health Sciences and the Sanford School of Medicine will honor 2009 donors to the Body Donor Program and their families during a memorial service on Friday, Sept. 17 at 3:30 p.m. at the atrium of the Andrew E. Lee Memorial Medical and Science Building.

Students from the Medical, Physician Assistant, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy programs along with faculty and staff from USD will honor family members recognizing the contribution of their loved ones who gave a special gift to the study of medicine. This is the sixth year of the memorial service.

“The memorial service presents an opportunity for the University community to extend our appreciation for such a precious, valuable gift,” said event coordinator Carleen McNeely. “It is important for donors’ families to know that their loved one was treated with respect and that our students are appreciative of their loved one’s donation.”

The Sanford School of Medicine and the School of Health Sciences relies on the voluntary donation of bodies for medical and other professional health programs.  The ceremony will include testimonials from students and faculty members of the human gross anatomy course at the medical school. Body donations are crucial in teaching gross anatomy as the foundation for physicians, physician assistants, nurses, dentists, dental hygienists, occupational and physical therapists, and paramedics. Donors have served as the “first patient” for thousands of USD students.

“Many family members say that they didn’t know that it meant so much,” said Jane Gavin, director of medical anatomical laboratories. “And for our students, the service offers a sense of closure. There is both an emotional and educational impact.”