June 14, 2024

M.D. Class of 2027 honors first patients at annual Body Bequest Memorial Program

Class of 2027 students shared their gratitude for their "first patients" at the memorial program last month.

(Photo gallery available at https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjBt1zA)

Wayne State University School of Medicine students and faculty joined families of those who donated their bodies for medical education in tribute and gratitude at this year’s Body Bequest Memorial Program, held May 31 at Oakland Hills Memorial Gardens in Novi, Mich. 

The memorial recognized 227 people who completed their role in the education of thousands of students and doctors, including as a “first patient” for WSU medical students as part of the Medical Gross Anatomy course, which offers a full cadaver dissection experience to first-year medical students.

Dean Wael Sakr, M.D., addresses those in attendance.

“Your loved ones have aided in shaping the physicians, physician’s assistants, physical and occupational therapists, nurses, biomedical engineers, funeral director, pathology assistants, and countless other allied health professionals that these students are to become,” said Body Bequest Program Manager Barbara Rosso-Norgan said. “Your loved ones have taught thousands of students and residents, and they will never be forgotten.”

School of Medicine Dean Wael Sakr, M.D.; Vice Dean for Medical Education Richard Baker, M.D.; and Professor of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences Paul Walker, Ph.D., who directs the Medical Gross Anatomy course, also spoke at the event.

The body bequest program at Wayne State is utilized to teach other allied health care students and residents as well, both at WSU and other universities and health care systems.

Medical students Vipul Taxak, seated, and Yeonju Kim, performed at the ceremony.

WSU is one of only a few medical schools that continue to use cadavers in teaching. Wayne State physicians-in-training and graduates count the experience, and the learning communities they share their gross anatomy experience with, as one of the most important experiences in medical school.

Students were greatly involved in the day’s events. Second-year students Yeonju Kim and Vipul Taxak performed violin and guitar to start and end the service.

Speakers included second-year medical students Dominic Sacca, Izabel Thomas, Alex Thompson and Julia Tenbusch, who shared their thoughts on their first patient and how the experience has shaped their medical education journey.

As part of the ceremony, medical students also took turns reading the names of the deceased.

For more information on the Body Bequest Program, visit the School of Medicine’s Body Bequest website or contact Rosso-Norgan at brosso@med.wayne.edu

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