Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Ceremony of Thanks: UCLA's Donated Body Program

Friday the 17th of May was a day to remember --
Flowers and their messages two days later

Marjorie Henshaw had her freshman year at UCLA and as a dancing California Coed was featured on the cover of Life Magazine in December 1939.  It was fitting then that she went to UCLA for science with UCLAs Donated Body Program (  Each year the first year medical school students of the David Geffen School of Medicine create an event to honor and thank the families and friends of donors.  It was an amazing event.

The 165 students of the first year who all take the anatomy class were in attendance.  They all write notes on a special card with their thoughts on it.  Each as tied with a bow to a stem of a mum and handed to the attendants.  The program was poignant with formal presentations by the Vice Chancellor and the Director of Anatomy as well as student compositions and reflections interspersed with musical selections demonstrating the wide talent of the medical students.

After the ceremony there was a reception.  I had a chance to talk with several of the medical students, reflecting on their experiences and my thoughts on their chosen career. I found the students serious, humane  and curious.  They were looking into medicine form a deep sense of humanity and with a great feeing of hope. They all expressed in simple and more complex ways thier appreciation for the donation.  I was impressed. Their's is a challenging path.