Human Gift Registry service honors 56 donors

Some of the most valuable donations that can be made to WVSOM have nothing to do with money. At the May 10 Human Gift Registry memorial service, the WVSOM community paid its respects to 56 people who bestowed their final gift to the school during the past year, donating their bodies so students could use them to learn about anatomy, disease progression and other subjects that are essential to the practice of medicine.

During a ceremony punctuated by musical performances from WVSOM students, registry director Karen Wines, M.S., spoke to donors’ families about the profound significance the gifts have on medical education at WVSOM.

“Our students’ journeys are long. Their development as confident physicians and growth as compassionate doctors begins with your loved one’s gift,” Wines said. “We’re taught in osteopathic medicine to care for the mind, the body and the spirit of the patients. With this gift, we are able to strive for greater understanding of the human body.”

Taps was played to commemorate members of the U.S. military, and Clifford Stone, pastor of Ronceverte Christian Church, offered words of appreciation for those who donated their bodies. Wearing the white coats that symbolize their commitment to the osteopathic medical profession, first-year students observed a moment of silence to honor the donors.

Four students from the Class of 2022 shared stories describing what the donations have meant to them. Aubrey Cook said she couldn’t imagine what her medical training would be like without the benefit of Human Gift Registry donors.

“The program gave me my first true look at what it means to care for those around me,” Cook told attendees. “Your loved one taught me lessons that no textbook could ever teach. These are the lessons that will transcend our educational journey and carry over into our professional careers. For that, I’m forever grateful.”

James White III said during his first year of school he found himself thinking of the selflessness of those who make the noble gesture of donating their body to WVSOM.

“One of the aspects of medical school I was anticipating most was anatomy,” White said. “However, when the day came for our first lab, I was unprepared for the emotion I would feel. It provided me an entirely new meaning for the sanctity of life. We all recognize the privilege of this opportunity, and we’re deeply indebted.”

Date Added: 
Monday, June 3, 2019