At the end of each school year, the first year medical students host a memorial service for family members of anatomical donors. This is a chance for the relatives to have closure for the loss of their loved ones, and provides families with the opportunity to meet the medical students, faculty and staff.
Some students speak about their experience working with the donated bodies. They talk about their deep appreciation for what some students describe as ‘the ultimate gift’ and refer to their anatomical donors as their ‘greatest teacher’. The memorial service gives students the opportunity to thank the families of their anatomical donors while at the same time learning more their life and who they were. One student expressed his gratitude for the chance to meet the family of the 93-year-old woman who became his first patient. "The main point I wanted to convey to her family was that her body was treated with dignity," he said. "Her family was able to say goodbye to the person they lost but also see the everlasting legacy of their mother live on through us as doctors."
The memorial service is intended to instill in students an appreciation of the humanity of their anatomical donors and gives them an opportunity to offer thanks.