Body Donations Ensure Hands-on Training for PCOM Medical Students
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Body Donations Ensure Hands-on Training for Georgia's Future Healthcare Providers

May 3, 2023

PCOM Georgia medical student hands a flower to a donor's family memberMedical 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.”

PCOM Georgia anatomy lab

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 throughout Georgia.

"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 branch campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), a private, not-for-profit, accredited institution of higher education with a storied 125-year history dedicated to the healthcare professions. Located in Suwanee (Gwinnett County), PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy and physical therapy. Graduate degrees are offered in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science and physician assistant studies. The campus joins PCOM South Georgia in Moultrie in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state. Emphasizing "a whole person" approach to care, PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the community. For more information, visit 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

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Jamesia Harrison, MS
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