NEWS | September 18, 2020

Service of gratitude to stream on Facebook live Saturday (video)

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The annual Service of Gratitude – a solemn ceremony that honors individuals who have donated their bodies to the UC Davis School of Medicine – will be held Saturday online.

The ceremony will be broadcast on Facebook live at 10 a.m.

UC Davis has received more than 3,000 body donations since 1968 and the Service of Gratitude ceremony is an opportunity for students to thank the families for their loved ones who made such a meaningful contribution to medical education.

Body donation involves unique sacrifices for medical education. The family of a donor can’t have a traditional funeral, and they won’t receive cremated remains.  .

For this reason,the ceremony is in many ways a memorial service – with elements including a slideshow of the donors – and the added twist of having students thank the families through poems, music and other forms of appreciation.  

“The students get a chance to see the families of our donors and recognize the impact that the decision to donate had on these families and for their education,” said Aron Davis, director of the school’s body donation program.

The bodies, which are used in anatomy lab, are essentially a medical student’s first patient.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and physical-distancing protocols, the students will be speaking into cameras at UC Davis Health and the families will be in their homes watching online, through either Zoom or Facebook.

The ceremony is organized by second-year medical students.