On Friday, March 9th, the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) will unveil a first-of-its-kind memorial honoring anatomical donors who gave through the college’s Willed Body Program. These donors are considered the medical students’ first patients, and each year, the students show their gratitude by holding a special ceremony to honor these individuals. Through a generous grant from the Wiregrass Foundation and matching funds from Southeast Alabama Medical Center (SAMC), ACOM constructed a freestanding, granite memorial with a garden on the college campus. The annual First Patient Memorial Service will be held in conjunction with the formal memorial dedication.
The First Patient Memorial is a unique structure that provides a place for students and family members of the donor to visit and reflect as they remember their loved one. The memorial features granite plaques engraved with donor names for those who did not choose to remain anonymous. This First Patient Memorial Service honors those individuals whose selfless generosity enriched the medical education of future physicians at ACOM. The wealth of knowledge gained through their priceless gift of body donation extends beyond the classroom. These donations served as the medical students’ first patients during their gross anatomy course and for the students, the memory of their first patients will guide them as they care for countless patients yet to come.
This memorial dedication is a special opportunity to learn more about the importance of anatomical donation to medical education and research. The Memorial Service gives students the chance to reflect on their experiences in anatomy and express their gratitude for the individuals who donated their bodies for medical education.
The dedication and ceremony will take place adjacent to the physical memorial on the campus.