A significant part of Northeast College of Health Sciences chiropractic students’ experience  is learning anatomy through donations of human bodies made to the College’s Anatomical Gift Program. Donors who have given their body for students’ scientific study through human cadaveric dissection were honored during the College’s 2022 Anatomy Center Memorial Ceremony on Oct. 6, in the campus’s Delavan Theater.

Student speaking at the Anatomy Center Memorial Ceremony

Family and friends of the 23 donors were invited to Seneca Falls to celebrate the lives and commitment of their loved ones, who provided this selfless gift to advance science and healthcare. The service included blessings by Interfaith Chaplain Dr. Allison Stokes, military honors performed by the local Waterloo VFW and a faculty keynote address from Dr. Robyn Wakefield-Murphy, who thanked donor families for their patience in respecting their loved ones wishes upon death.

Students also reflected on learning from donors and expressed their gratitude to their families. “I’m here today to express my utmost gratitude,” said a fourth-trimester chiropractic student who completed a year in the Anatomy Lab. “As a tribute to their lives, I want to assure
you that I walked into the lab every day with a sense of responsibility for upholding their wish of contributing to our education.” 

“It should inspire us with confidence that in what we can accomplish as healthcare providers because our donors have made this significant commitment to enhance our journey of learning,” said College President Dr. Michael Mestan. “Their gifts should be held sacred by all of us.”

The Importance of Human Cadaveric Dissection

Less than one percent of the world’s population has the unique opportunity to learn human anatomy from a donor, said Dr. Michael Zumpano, director of the Anatomy Center and Anatomical Gift Program. “I have had the honor to learn the intricacies of the human body from individuals who have donated themselves . Even today, I learn something new from our donors every day.”

The Anatomical Gift Program is a whole-body donation program in which individuals can donate their body directly to Northeast College for education and research. For Northeast students, working with donors is their first patient experience, Zumpano said.

The time-honored tradition of educating via human cadaveric dissection is considered by many healthcare experts to be the gold standard for learning human anatomy. It is made possible through the Northeast College Anatomical Gift Program, which supports whole-body donation for education and research. These donations allow chiropractic students to gain the deepest possible hands-on understanding of the complex anatomy on which they will ultimately practice.

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