First-Year Students, Anatomy Faculty Honor Body Donors

At the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM), medical students meet their first patient during their first year of school. The introduction occurs during the anatomy course, held at the Treasure Valley Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory. Working with their first patient — a donor human body — provides student physicians with an in-depth understanding of human anatomy.

ICOM’s Anatomy Faculty, including (L-R): Brad Chadwell, PhD; Jennifer Hotzman, PhD; Stephanie Child, PhD; Ellis Locke, PhD; and Blaine Maley, PhD.

“Our donors represent our students’ first patient and that experience our students will carry with them throughout the rest of their medical education and beyond,” said Dr. Stephanie Child, Associate Professor of Anatomy at ICOM.

On Friday, May 17, ICOM’s first-year medical students, alongside anatomy faculty, paid tribute to the men and women who donated their bodies to science with a donor appreciation ceremony — the first of its kind at the College.

Students wrote personal notes of gratitude on paper, which were then folded into lotus flowers, symbolizing rebirth. The lotus flowers represent each of the donors over the past six years of medical education at ICOM — totaling 168.

“…Our bodies are not just what remain when we die, they are what enable us to live. They bridge the space between the living and the dead — a space that we as doctors will know intimately,” said Student Doctor Sarah Bowden, a first-year student at ICOM, sharing her reflection during the donor recognition ceremony. “Knowing this, the gift of a human body becomes all the more valuable. Our respect for those who gave something so valuable to educate people they will never meet, becomes all the greater. The duty as a doctor to protect and heal the body becomes all the more important.”

Students, faculty and staff gathered around the infinity fountain in the courtyard, placing the lotus flowers into the water, and stood together in silence for a moment of reflection.

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