Thank you for considering donation to the Humanity Gift Registry of Pennsylvania.
Please see the following frequently asked questions for details about Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine Human Anatomy program:
The Humanity Gifts Registry (HGR) is a nonprofit agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania concerned primarily with the receipt and distribution of bodies donated to all medical and dental schools in the state for teaching purposes. The Registry, formerly called the Anatomical Board, has been in existence since 1883.
Yes. The need for whole body donations is great and will be further increased by the demand for more doctors, dentists, nurses and other health care practitioners.
For more information, please read “Body Donation and its Relevance in Anatomy Learning – A Review” (PDF) by Rajkumari Ajita.
In Pennsylvania all donations must be made to the Humanity Gift Registry of Pennsylvania. We cannot accept donations directly to PCOM.
If you wish to have your body benefit the human anatomy program at PCOM you must make your request with the Humanity Gift Registry. When completing the donor registration form please write in: “I would like to designate Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine for this donation.”
Part of working with HGR ensures that a donor’s identity remains anonymous. Donors’ identities remain strictly confidential.
At PCOM, we have a number of programs that will benefit from your donation. Programs that will benefit include, but are not limited to:
Along with different academic programs, there are also many academic related clubs on campus who wish to further their education such as Surgery Club, Neurosurgery Club, Emergency Medicine Club, etc. We also host many outreach workshops which benefit surrounding high school and college students wishing to pursue a career in medicine.
HGR pays $100 toward the cost of transporting a body from the place of death, by a licensed funeral director, to a medical teaching institution. If transportation costs exceed $100, those costs are fall on to the responsibility of the next of kin or the estate.
Costs associated with embalming and cremation are covered by PCOM.
In most cases, cremation will occur within one year following anatomical study. However, sometimes anatomical study will extend beyond a year. In that case, it could take up to two years from the time of donation until cremation.
Upon completion of studies, remains will be transported to Ivy Hill Cemetery where they will be cremated and the ashes interred in an established cemetery in Philadelphia. If a family wishes to have ashes returned for a private burial, special arrangements must be made through the Humanity Gifts Registry.
HGR will be notified by PCOM once ashes are available to be returned to families. The Registry will then notify the next of kin in writing. There are two ways PCOM can return remains:
When ashes are returned, they will arrive in a plastic rectangular urn. You will also receive two internment certificates, which will be given to a burial site if you choose this route. If you would like further information on what to expect, contact Sara Cooney at 215-871-6447.
Consider reading "What to Expect When You Receive Cremation Ashes" by Jerri Haaven who gives an in depth look on what to expect in these circumstances.
At the beginning and end of each human anatomy course, faculty and students hold a moment of silence in order to remember and thank each individual who generously donated their body.
There is also a Celebration of Remembrance Ceremony, held once per year by the Humanity Gift Registry. Family members and friends are invited to this ceremony to remember and celebrate the life of their loved ones. Students who benefited from these donations will also attend and participate in the ceremony.