Release Date: June 20, 2018
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Loved ones who have donated their bodies to medical science will be honored and remembered by their families at the University at Buffalo’s biennial Anatomical Gift Program Memorial Service at 10:30 a.m. June 21 in Skinnersville Cemetery, Frontier Road near the University at Buffalo North Campus. (See map.)
More than 500 family members are expected to attend. The service will conclude with the release of dozens of butterflies. A reception will follow.
Media are invited. Press arrangements: Ellen Goldbaum at 716-645-4605 or 716-771-9255.
UB holds the service every other year so that families can commemorate loved ones whose ashes were interred in a communal grave; other families choose to have the ashes of their loved ones returned to them or buried in a service that they arrange.
Speakers at Thursday’s ceremony include:
· Ray Dannenhoffer, PhD, associate dean in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and director of the UB Anatomical Gift Program.
· John E. Tomaszewski, PhD, professor and chair, Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, Jacobs School.
· Rabbi Sara Rich of Hillel Buffalo.
· Chris Sullivan, director of the Christian Medical and Dental Association of Western New York.
· Kelsey A. Lapiano, member of the Class of 2021 in the Jacobs School, who will discuss the importance of anatomical donations to medical students.
Monsignor J. Patrick Keleher, director of The Newman Center at UB, will offer the closing prayer.
Dannenhoffer says interest in UB’s program is steadily increasing, partly due to increased awareness and partly due to economic considerations. He noted there is no cost to families donating a loved one’s body if located within 100 miles of UB. Families or estates are charged only if the distance is more than 100 miles.
UB, which has the largest anatomical donation program in the state by far, is also one of the most flexible, says Dannenhoffer, adding that donations are accepted without restriction. He notes that interest in the program is all by word of mouth; the program doesn’t advertise.
He points out, it isn’t only medical students who benefit; UB medical residents, students in other health sciences programs and emergency responders in the community also benefit. “Members of the general public are the ultimate beneficiaries when they are cared for by the health professionals who learned from the anatomical donations,” Dannenhoffer says.
Each family that attends Thursday’s ceremony will receive a commemorative wind chime. Upon enrolling in the program, UB donors also receive a pin or magnet with the program’s motto, “Greatest Teacher,” signifying that they are helping to enhance medical education.
More information on the UB Anatomical Gift Program is here.