Body Donations Ensure Hands-on Training for Georgia's Future Healthcare ProvidersMay 3, 2023
Medical students at PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia are learning about the intricacies of the human body firsthand, through the College’s
body donation program. PCOM is one of three medical schools in the state that operates
a full-time, 24/7 program of this nature.
Those who donate their remains to science make a tremendous contribution to the knowledge
of future physicians and healthcare providers.
“There are so many things you can’t learn from a textbook. You learn how to actually
orient yourself, the true locations of important organs, and how each human being
can be uniquely different,” Elizabeth Martin (DO ’25), a second-year Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) student, shares as she reflects on the school’s body donation program.
Martin’s medical training is based on a holistic approach to medical care: treating
the entire person—mind, body, and spirit—rather than merely addressing symptoms.
This philosophy carries over into care after death and informs PCOM Georgia’s operation
of the body donor program. Families receive no-cost transportation for their family
member's remains, which are cremated at the program's expense upon completion of all
anatomical studies, research and medical training.
Students and faculty take special pride each year in recognizing the families of donors
who committed their bodies to science through a memorial service. The service takes place annually on the Saturday before Mother’s Day—and this year’s
will be held on Saturday, May 13. During this service, students share their appreciation
and families receive the remains of their relative.
“We pride ourselves on the ability to work closely with families during the donation process. That continues after training is completed with our special memorial service,” says
Jeffrey Seiple, MBA, LFD, LE, director of anatomical donor services. “This remembrance event offers the opportunity
for families to connect with our students and learn about the impact they’ve made.
It also allows us to show our utmost gratitude for their contributions.”
Body donations are critical to the training medical students receive, and ultimately
the quality of care they are able to provide. This hands-on training is important
in that it aids many students as they go on to practice medicine in various communities
"We are in a unique and special position here at PCOM Georgia as well as PCOM South
Georgia in that we have full-time licensed funeral directors on staff to assist families
throughout the entire donation process including the return of their loved one's cremains
back to their families," Seiple explains. "It is vital for us to provide our students
with resources they need to excel in the future as physicians. Our body donor program
is designed to do that and more."
Mary Warren chose to honor her husband, a Georgia Tech engineer, by donating his body to PCOM following his passing.
“This is where Ken, had he made the decision, would have wanted to be,” Mary says.
“The students have great respect, and they learn to love their person, and they want
to honor that person and show respect to the family for what they’ve done.”
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About PCOM Georgia
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM
Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service
to the wider community. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center,
an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment.
For more information, visit pcomgeorgiahealth.org.
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