[Skip to Content]

Upstate's Anatomical Gift Program to hold memorial service April 13

Upstate Medical University will hold a memorial service April 13 honoring nearly 200 individuals who have donated their bodies during the past year for medical study.

Upstate’s Anatomical Gift Program is organized largely by students—medicine, physical therapy and physician assistant—to acknowledge and thank families for the important role their loved ones have played in education.

The service this year will take place at 1 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel on the Syracuse University campus. The service is organized and planned largely by students who offer performances of music, poetry, all aimed at reflecting the respect they have for donors and their families. In addition to students, speakers affiliated with Upstate include President Mantosh Dewan, MD; Norton College of Medicine Dean Lawrence Chin, MD; Rev. Theresa Howington, D Min; and Dana Mihaila, MD, PhD.

Mihaila, MD, PhD, director of the Anatomical Gift Program, said that by their donations these individuals have made the study of anatomy possible for students and health professionals.

“The men and women we honor, along with their families, have contributed greatly to the education of our future health care professionals,” Mihaila said. “This service provides our students with the opportunity to say thank you and to pay tribute to those who are assisting them in their medical education.”

Students moved by service and donations

Medical student Colleen Magowan is among the student hosts for the service, along with Stefanie Resnick, Lillian Zheng and Christopher Bushnell. “Our ‘first patients’ are those who could not be saved, but the knowledge they provide will help save countless others,” she said. “That generosity and selflessness deserves to be recognized. This service is a meaningful way to pay our respects to the donors and their families.”

Resnick, a student in Doctor of Physical Therapy program echoed the sentiments. “To me, the service is an opportunity to acknowledge and thank the individuals who gave us the invaluable opportunity to learn and provide for our future patients,” she said.

Bushnell, a first-year medical student, said the service is all about respect. For me, the memorial service is an extension of the respect that us learners have for anatomical donors,” he said.  “Their gift is truly invaluable, and it is a privilege to learn from them. I feel that this year's memorial service will be a joyous time to greet the family and friends of our educators and show our appreciation for them.”

Zheng, speaking on behalf of her Physician Assistant class, said “The anatomical gift ceremony allows us to show our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the families and friends of those who furthered our knowledge,”

This years’ service will be livestreamed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKFuSFDKeys

To learn more about Upstate’s Anatomical Gift Program visit https://www.upstate.edu/cdb/donor/or call 315-464-4348. The website includes the Anatomical Gift Pledge Form as well as frequently asked questions.

Caption: Students Jian Li and Olivia Laniak perform at the Anatomical Gift Memorial Service in 2023.