May 4, 2006
Contact: Jerry Carey
Phone: (856) 566-6171
Medical Students Honor Their "Silent Teachers"
STRATFORD—Gross Anatomy class is the rite of passage when beginning medical students meet the patient who will begin to teach them the intricacies and wonders of the human body.
Today first-year students at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine will hold a cadaver memorial service on the courtyard of the school's Academic Center to bid a solemn and grateful farewell to the "silent teachers" of human anatomy. With song, poetry and speech, the students will publicly express their gratitude to those individuals who donated their bodies to help educate the next generation of physicians.
"During the Gross Anatomy course, students come to realize the intentions of the people who bequeathed their bodies to them," said Dr. Rocco Carsia, associate professor of Cell Biology and the Gross Anatomy course instructor. "They form a special relationship. It's as if each donor is telling his or her students, ‘I did this so you could learn from me. Learn secrets about me that even I did not know.’"
"We truly value the gift these donors have given us," said Phil Messer, who along with fellow student Mary Adotey, organized the event. "As students, we try to honor their gift by doing the best dissection possible and by learning the most we can. The memorial service is just a final way to express our thanks and our respect."
About 75 students and faculty are expected to attend the cadaver memorial service. Before the service, the first-year students will hold a brief private ceremony at the end of their final laboratory session.
Cadaver memorial services also take place at the University's New Jersey Medical School in December and at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in March.
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.