University of Michigan Medical School students, faculty and donor families recently gathered for an annual memorial service that honors the men and women who generously donate their bodies and make it possible for future doctors and health professionals to learn the details of anatomy. As an M1, Darci Foote (in top picture, first collage) is a direct beneficiary of these donations in the anatomy lab. Here she talks about her personal experience with dissection and its impact on her med school education. 

The ceremony was a wonderful way for students to express gratitude to the families of our donors.  It was also wonderful to meet the families who mentioned that the event helped them to come to better terms with their loss. 

“It is comforting to know that the bodies we study in the anatomy lab were intentionally donated for the purposes of our education. I was actually surprised when one of the schools that I interviewed at said that dissection was not required and that prosections would be available for those who wished to opt out. 

“Now, several weeks into anatomy, I understand that no textbook can replicate the integration of nerves, blood vessels, muscle and bone found in the human body. Equally striking is the variation between bodies. During each dissection, especially the challenging ones, my lab partners and I are reminded that every body is different, just as every patient is different.

As med students, we look forward to serving within the Ann Arbor area and in our future communities by providing superb healthcare. Our magnanimous donors are giving back to the Michigan family of which they proudly were a part. We cannot thank them enough for this. Theirs is a gift to me, a student, but also to every future patient whom I will treat.”

Photographs by Leisa Thompson.


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