(COLLEGE STATION) – Every year, a new class of medical students starts their studies at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and every year they begin their training the same way  in the gross anatomy lab. To honor the people who have donated their bodies to science, first-year students are hosting the annual Cadaver Memorial Service on Tuesday, November 8 at 3 p.m. in the lobby of the Joe H. Reynolds Medical Building on the West Campus of Texas A&M University. The annual event is organized by first-year students upon their completion of the gross anatomy block.
“We feel honored that these people would give their bodies to the college so we could learn,” president of the Class of 2009 Jessica Patterson said. “When working in the lab, you can’t help but think about the person’s life, their family and what made them decide to donate their bodies. It is a big commitment and is such an important tool in our education process, so we want to honor them.”
Students spend the first three months of medical school in the gross anatomy lab, learning about the structure of the human body in a highly hands-on environment. They work in teams of four students and rotate after each of their four major tests, so teams have the opportunity to spend time with and learn from different cadavers. The gross anatomy course heavily relies on laboratory dissection, which is the most effective method to obtain a three-dimensional understanding of the human body.

“When someone donates their body to science, I believe it is truly the best way to save a lot of lives,” Patterson says. “So many people learn from the cadaver, and those people go to become doctors and have the potential to do great things.”
Patterson is helping coordinate this year’s event, and will offer remarks on behalf of the class. Dr. Wayne Sampson, professor and Gross Anatomy Course Coordinator, will also speak, followed by a candle lighting ceremony.

— Marketing & Communications