The American Association for Anatomy (AAA) strongly condemns the inappropriate actions of two University of Pittsburgh students towards deceased human donors. The students are alleged to have inappropriately touched and made inappropriate remarks about two donated bodies during an anatomy teaching lab and they have been charged with abuse of a corpse.
“It is extremely upsetting and gut wrenching to read this news yet it’s a strong reminder that we need to work harder to protect whole body donors,” says Dr. Joy Balta, professor at Point Loma Nazarene University and chair of the AAA Human Body Donor Committee.
AAA supports the highest ethical standards when working with donated bodies. Working with human body donors is a fundamental component of anatomy education for future medical professionals, researchers and educators. In addition to adhering to all rules and regulations regarding the storage, work and disposition of human remains, it is essential that all who interact with donated bodies act with reverence and integrity.
The donation of one’s body to medical research and education is an altruistic and generous gift and should be treated as such. Any mistreatment of these individuals should be met with the highest penalties allowed. It is imperative that all body donors be treated with the dignity and respect that they rightly deserve.
For additional guidance and resources, please contact the Human Body Donor Committee or see the AAA Body Donation Policy.
About the American Association for Anatomy
The American Association for Anatomy is an international membership organization of biomedical researchers and educators specializing in the structural foundation of health and disease. AAA connects gross anatomists, neuroscientists, developmental biologists, physical anthropologists, cell biologists, physical therapists, and others to advance the anatomical sciences through research, education, and professional development. To join, visit anatomy.org.